Air shows and parades as Saudis make an early start to National Day celebrations

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Three international shows are being staged in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. (Shutterstock)
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Air show in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Clowns entertain families at a Jeddah park. (SPA)
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Celebratory mood fills the air in Jeddah. (SPA)
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A diver shows the portraits of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Send in the clowns: Entertainers in stilts in Saudi costumes. (SPA)
Updated 24 September 2019

Air shows and parades as Saudis make an early start to National Day celebrations

  • Public will be treated to festivals, concerts and firework displays

RIYADH: There’s still a day to go, but the celebrations are already in full swing.

Formations from the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Saudi Hawks aerobatics team took to the skies above Jeddah on Saturday in preparation for National Day on Monday.

Fighter jets bearing the Saudi flag flew in formation past an audience at the North Corniche of the Jeddah waterfront, with their F15s, F15C, Tornado, Typhoon and MRTT refueling aircraft.

Monday’s celebrations will feature more than 40 entertainment, cultural and sporting events and activities across the country, including festivals, concerts and firework displays. 

Major entertainment shows are being staged in Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, including a special creation from the famous Balich Worldwide Shows. “Tariq Al-Himma” takes the audience on a journey through Saudi Arabia’s past, present and future.

The hour-long performance at the Green Halls in Riyadh will be from September 21 to 23, starting at 9:30 p.m. each night. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Al-Hamra Corniche in Jeddah is the location for “Star Island” on Sept. 23. Fireworks will fill the sky with a dazzling display accompanied by lighting and laser beams.

Riyadh has been covered in green for National Day celebrations. Major streets are hosting festivities including children’s workshops, restaurants and food stalls. The entrance to the event has been designed to resemble the Masmak Palace gate.

The world’s most popular circus show, Cirque du Soleil, presents a specially created hour-long show for Saudi National Day at the Dhahran Expo in Dammam. Featuring 40 artists performing a variety of acrobatic routines, the show begins at 9 p.m. each night until September 23.

In Arar and Najran, there are folk bands and musical theater performances, as well as handicrafts and products made by Saudi families. Saudi female artists exhibited their paintings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in West Arar.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”