▶ US singer’s show cel­e­brates start of one-year count­down to world fair


Pop star Mariah Carey kicked off the 365-day count­down to Expo 2020 Dubai yes­ter­day as she called on thou­sands of scream­ing fans to “be there” for the open­ing next year.

Seven events to mark one year un­til the Expo were held across the Emi­rates in an ef­fort to get the whole coun­try ex­cited for the world fair.

At the spe­cial free con­cert at Burj Park in Dubai, Carey took to the stage in a gold fit­ted gown, belt­ing out clas­sic songs to a cheer­ing crowd.

“I’m so ex­cited to be here at an event be­ing cel­e­brated across the coun­try. It’s so fes­tive here in Dubai,” the Amer­i­can singer-song­writer said. Carey opened her set with A

No No, a hit sin­gle from her most re­cent al­bum Cau­tion.

She fol­lowed it up with all-time favourite clas­sic, Dream Lover, re­leased in 1993, as the au­di­ence sang along.

“Make sure to be there [at the Expo 2020] next year,” she told the au­di­ence.

The singer stuck to fan favourites, singing songs from the 1990s and early 2000s in­clud­ing Let it hap­pen and I’ll be there be­fore turn­ing the per­for­mance into a fam­ily af­fair and bring­ing her two chil­dren on stage.

Wav­ing to fans, many of whom danced while cradling young chil­dren, Carey kept the 7,500-strong crowd en­gaged by chat­ting about her song­writ­ing and asked if they knew remix ver­sions.

While singing Al­ways be my baby she was joined on stage by her eight-year-old twins, Moroc­can and Monroe, who sang a few lines from the cho­rus.

Moroc­can then broke into a few dance moves and told the diva: “You will al­ways be my mummy.”

Carey came to the stage shortly af­ter a fire­works dis­play and laser light show em­anated from Burj Khal­ifa, at ex­actly 8.20pm – or 20:20.

En­thu­si­as­tic fans gath­ered an hour be­fore the event, ea­gerly an­tic­i­pat­ing the star-stud­ded per­for­mances that in­cluded a set by Emi­rati crooner Hus­sain Al Jassmi.

“I’m such a huge Mariah fan and sing her songs to my chil­dren so they know her too,” said Jessy Lu­cas, from Bri­tain, who brought three chil­dren to the Burj cel­e­bra­tions.

“With Mariah here in the UAE one year be­fore, it will be amaz­ing to know who will be the main acts dur­ing the Expo.”

Emi­rati Su­laiman Al Marri said his fam­ily were torn be­tween head­ing to Aj­man to hear soul singer Chakram or stay­ing in Dubai to watch Al Jassmi per­form.

“This is re­ally ex­cit­ing because we feel that Expo is re­ally al­most here,” the hu­man re­sources man­ager said.

At 7.30pm, Al Jassmi brought the crowd to their feet with a med­ley of Ara­bic fu­sion and na­tional songs.

Across the coun­try there were si­mul­ta­ne­ous per­for­mances by po­ets, oud play­ers, Ara­bic fu­sion bands, and Egyp­tian, Syr­ian, Pak­istani and In­dian singers, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Live shows were held at the Lou­vre Abu Dhabi, Shar­jah’s Al Ma­jaz Water­front, Aj­man Mu­seum, Fu­jairah Fort, Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Qawasim Cor­niche and the Umm Al Quwain Cor­niche to build ex­cite­ment and in­crease in­volve­ment from cit­i­zens and res­i­dents ahead of the Expo.

The en­ter­tain­ment was a pre­lude to more than 60 live shows that will be held daily when the trade fair opens on Oc­to­ber 20. The fair will run for six months, end­ing on April 10, 2021.

Reem Al Hashimy, Min­is­ter of State for In­ter­na­tional Co-op­er­a­tion and the Expo’s di­rec­tor gen­eral said the spec­tac­u­lar na­tion­wide cel­e­bra­tions ush­ered in “the fi­nal leg of a his­toric jour­ney”.

“Dur­ing the next 12 months we will put the fin­ish­ing touches to en­sure an ex­cep­tional world Expo.”

Chris Whi­teoak / The Na­tional

Mariah Carey at the One Year To Go un­til Expo 2020 show in Dubai yes­ter­day

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