ABU DHABI // Thousands of fans last night packed into the du Arena to watch the Australian pop superstar Kylie Minogue kick off the Formula One Grand Prix after-race concerts.
Opening with the hit Wow, followed by Spinning Around, Minogue did not disappoint.
“Give it up, Abu Dhabi,” she shouted. “I know it’s hot here. It might as well get hotter here tonight.”
The crowd was filled with fans of all ages but mostly those in their twenties and thirties, who expected her to revisit her hits from the 1980s, such as I Should Be So Lucky and Locomotion.
“I’m a huge fan of Kylie,” said Victoria Aitken, a London songwriter and singer. “We’ve got the same kind of music – danceable pop – and I’ve also worked with her producer.”
Ms Aitken is particularly fond of Minogue’s old hits such as Can’t Get you Out of my Head.
“She’s amazing, talented and a very strong woman,” she said.
Natasha Faruque, 33, who works at the London School of Fashion in Dubai, said: “I’ve been to a lot of her concerts in London because they bring a lot of nostalgia.
“Her songs are upbeat and she has been constantly reinventing herself and does not pretend to be what she’s not.”
Heba Maad, 15, her sister Hadeel, 17, and their friend Laura Sorani, 16, arrived at the venue at 4pm, five hours before the concert was to start.
“She puts us in the mood to dance,” said Heba. “We like to sing, dance and take photos.”
“We don’t know any of her songs but our father got ‘2 Friends Friday’ tickets,” Hadeel said. “We didn’t want to waste it. We’ve come here to enjoy the weekend – and to dance.”
In the new ‘2 Friends Friday’ promotion, the first 15,000 local F1 ticket buyers received a pair of complimentary invitations to see Minogue.
Isaac John Dominguez, 25, a civil engineer in Abu Dhabi, was lucky enough to win a pair of Golden Circle tickets for winning a photo contest.
“I like two of her songs, Can’t Get you Out of my Head and All the Lovers,” Mr Dominguez said. “She’s very pretty and a great singer and dancer.”
Zelda van der Merwe, 37, her husband Giovanni, 36, and their children Marizel, 12, and Merwede, 13, travelled from Saudi Arabia to attend the race and concerts.
“The kids are not really interested in the races but are excited about the concerts of Kylie, Nickelback and Eminem,” said Mrs van der Merwe.
Minogue also sang Come into my World, Two Hearts, Put your Hands Up, and I Can’t Get Enough.