Only in Dubai will a VIP queue be longer and more disorganised than the standard
entry. And while the people in the standard entry were let in and enjoyed the
early acts at Monday night’s Atelier New Year’s Eve concert at Meydan, the VIP
queue continued to snake upon itself as seemingly nobody was permitted entry.
The longer people waited, the more tempers grew. After two hours the queue had
descended into a Lord of the Flies-esque scenario before people surged forward
and the gatekeepers finally relented and let people in.
Inside, chaos continued at the refreshments area, while Gorillaz Sound System
brought their fictional world to life with upbeat hip-hop, R&B and electronica
including the Run the World (Girls) master track and a The Streets-type garage
and dub vibe.
Random fights ensued in the highly-charged atmosphere as the crowd got swaying,
loosening their hips and trying to mellow down to the Snoop vibe.
After midnight and the Burj Khalifa fireworks (rather low-key this year), the
man most came to see took over the stage. Snoop Dogg looked dapper and very
Middle Eastern in a black tuxedo-style thobe, provided to him by Saudi designer
Hatem Al Akeel of the Toby label. With an over-sized ring covering his fist, he
easily outblinged all wannabes in the reportedly more than 15,000-strong
audience -- who might not have been eating but certainly were drinking and being
He got the pimp music he asked for in P.I.M.P., and segued into Beautiful
after asking for “something for the ladies”. One of his dancers, meanwhile, gave
a master class in booty popping.
Ever authentic, Snoop didn’t mind his language as he went through Next Episode
(Hold Up), Gin and Juice and the not-family-friendly version of Akon’s I Wanna
Love You, and the crowd didn’t need a second invitation to join him on the
chord, but a call for “West Coast gangster sh*t” went a bit over the crowd’s
Snoop got a woman out of the audience for Sexual Seduction then went
old-school with Upside Ya Head, Wet, Jump Around, Drop it Like it’s Hot, What’s
My Name and the massive Wiz Khalifa hit Young, Wild & Free.
Faithless’ Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss were up next, but most were leaving to
try and beat the rush for taxis. Alas, we couldn’t get no sleep, because there
How Snoop got his look
When we spoke to Saudi designer Hatem Al Akeel on New Year’s Eve, he was rushing
to a second fitting with US rapper Snoop Dogg, ahead of his performance at the
Atelier party at Meydan. “This guy really knows his style,” Al Akeel said over
the phone, having already presented the rapper with four pieces from his
collection of modernised thobes, traditional menswear from the Gulf. Snoop fans
will remember the rapper wore a khandoura at his concert in Abu Dhabi in 2010.
“They contacted me,” for that concert, said Al Akeel, “but we didn’t make it on
time. I made sure we were ready this time.”
Snoop chose a tuxedo style thobe from the collection, which he wore
throughout his performance, making his Dubai debut. “It was really refreshing to
see what he thinks about [thobes],” said the designer. “I was completely floored
to have Snoop Dogg wear my tuxedo thobe on stage,” said Al Akeel by email on
New Year’s Day. “He even sported my peace bracelet and had all the dancers
and entire team wear them. I was completely blown away and honoured. He could
not have represented my brand Toby Peace and Toby by Hatem Alakeel any
Omg Snoop is just so fucking awesome and brings joy wherever he goes. He's
like the male Beyonce. I want his life. May he bless your New Year with his
vapors as he did mine.