Shakira is no stranger to the UAE, having performed here on at least two previous occasions, but it was her first time to the Yas Arena. She may measure less than 1.50m in height, but the Colombian diva is big on star appeal and ensured a sell out audience of 17,500 on 29 April.
Her management was leaving nothing to chance and contracted the dream team services of Abu Dhabi based promoter Flash Entertainment and the production stalwarts, Gearhouse Staging Connections.
“We have worked together on numerous occasions in the past and know what it takes to put on a show,” commented Gearhouse production manager Phil Smith. “We rarely have to meet before hand despite being an hours’ drive apart as we sort out the logistics and set up over the phone and via e-mail. It’s a great relationship.”
Flash specialise in music, sports and film and concern themselves with every aspect of the live event from concept planning and design to marketing, sponsorship, artist liaison and operations. Their global network of contacts has helped them draft in some of the best international artistes to the UAE capital in recent years.
The Shakira set up utilised many rider friendly brands for which an L-Acoustics V-DOSC line array was the preferred sound system on the night. On the eve of the show, the songstress demanded a whole day rehearsal for the band and dancers in order to perfect choreographic moves in time to the music.
“She is quite demanding but knows exactly what she wants,” continued Mr Smith. “As an artist she’s great as she is really passionate about all aspects of the production and gets involved as much as possible. She loves the V-DOSC system and was complimentary about the set-up here in Abu Dhabi.’’
Two L-R hangs on either side of the stage consisting of fifteen V-DOSC cabinets per side was complemented by a further thirty DV-DOSC speakers for down fills, centre fills and side fills. The lower frequencies were supplemented by some twenty four ground stacked SB218 dual 18-inch subwoofers and four DV-subs. A total of 62 LA48A amplifiers supplied the power to the entire rig and XTA DP226 and DP448 processors enabled speaker management via Audiocore.
The ninety minute set began with the singer walking out in the pits adorned in a red cloak. This resembled a funeral procession, but when she ripped the gown off, she revealed a rather curvaceous and toned Latin American artist whilst belting out “Whenever, Wherever” as the opening number.
Over the set, she changed costumes and performed the role of the gentle princess, the rock star, the gypsy, the she wolf and diva before closing the set. Thanks to the huge LED screens, everyone in the venue had pristine images of her – the hips didn’t lie.
The combined skills of Flash, Gearhouse and the Shakira crew behind the scenes ensured that the sell out crowd departed Yas Arena with happy memories long after the 90 minutes was up.