17 Feb 2009 - Rod in Dubai

As dictated on Feb 16th

Dubai is quite a remarkable city, as most of you probably know the intention of the sheiks is that it's to become the major tourist centre on the planet, sort of the 'Las Vegas of the desert', the income from which is to replace the lessening oil revenues as the huge supplies under the desert gradually run out. It's obviously very much in competition with Abu Dhabi, the state next door, who are now starting get more involved in promoting themselves worldwide (for example buying Manchester football club) but their oil reserves apparently have much longer to last.

The city of Dubai itself is in some ways exciting and in other ways quite drab in terms of the huge amount of building and the construction that's going on. I think in my diary last time I was here I said something like forty percent of the world's big, tall cranes are based here. But many of the completed buildings are beautifully designed. The tallest building in the world is continuing to grow and grow and grow. On the way out in the plane we flew over the city and from the air it's even more spectacular, like a huge scrawny finger pointing straight at you making the other skyscrapers all around it looking tiny.

The gig itself was in the centre, in the Media City, and surrounded by some of these not monster skyscrapers but pretty big and pretty impressive glass buildings. The depressing thing I personally find about Dubai is that you can't really walk anywhere - I love cities where you can walk like New York, London, Paris and obviously those cities that I go on about a lot like Budapest, Prague, Warsaw... ones where you can walk around. You just can't walk anywhere in Dubai, it's probably even worse than LA in terms of that, and as the city grows and more buildings get finished you get more and more traffic. The nightlife is apparently spectacular, usually when I'm in Dubai I'm working so I miss my chance, but certainly friends who've stayed longer have had a fantastic time there. It seems to be a city where you can get anything you want, anything you want at all for good or for bad.

Back to the gig. It was just the one stage -- it was an Iron Maiden show this time rather than a festival. Again there were people from all over with flags from various parts of the Middle East. The gig went very well, the band this time remembered the setlist and got everything in the right order, and for just a second gig they played really well. Prior to the show we'd managed to set up the backstage area which is all around this little lake - great fun until the mosquitos came along and visited us. A few people were along for the whole weekend, like John Jackson our agent and Andy my partner, a few friends and so on, which was a fun in between running around. The band really enjoyed the show and afterwards it was back to the hotel for a few drinks at the bar. The following day we were leaving about noon, I was pretty knackered after the Dubai show as we had a lot of things to do that day, so I crashed out pretty quickly. Up bright and early though, once again headed out for my swim in the morning and a good breakfast in the sun - nice to see some sun after all this time in the depths of the British winter (which has been pretty awful recently). Then we headed for the airport and flew off to Bangalore... which I'll talk about in my next diary.

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