RIYADH: American singer and songwriter John Legend performed at the Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday.
The renowned artist played some of his most popular songs, including “All of Me,” which peaked on the Billboard 100 charts for three consecutive weeks, as well as “Green Light,” “Nervous” and “All Night Long.”
“John Legend has been one of my favorite artists, especially because he’s an R&B singer and this is something that I actually follow and listen to — specifically him,” Saad Mohammed, who was present at the concert, told Arab News.
“I don’t want to brag but I want to be the best you’ve ever had, Riyadh…We’re going to have some fun, I promise,” Legend said.
With stunning visuals as his backdrop, the singer encouraged the audience to dance along with him to the pop anthem “All She Wanna Do” and to join in singing the chorus to “All of Me.”
“You sound so beautiful,” Legend told the crowd.
• John Legend played alongside others including Egyptian singer Mohammed Hamaki and French Montana.
• Starting off the night’s festivities was Saudi DJ Dani Bogari.
Mohammed said he was ecstatic that he no longer had to travel abroad to experience live entertainment shows by big acts such as Legend and French Montana.
“Part of our culture is hospitality and getting to experience this with foreigners and expats makes me happy. It’s as if you’re able to cook well but can’t share this talent that you have, and now we can finally do it,” he said, referencing Saudi’s portfolio of extraordinary events and celebrations.
Another audience member, Dalal Mohammed, said: “I came for John Legend, honestly, and he sang my favorite song, ‘All of Me!’” she told Arab News excitedly, describing the performance as a “dream.”
She too expressed her joy at being able to attend concerts and other events just five minutes away from her home, instead of having to travel abroad to do so.
“I love that international singers are coming to know our culture and hospitality and to see the new Saudi,” she said.
In her second time at Formula E, Fatima Al-Attas commended the event’s choice of music and artists.
“I am a fan of John Legend, and what’s nice is that he’s a really good performer and he seemed to enjoy the show and that had an effect on us, so we had more fun,” she told Arab News.
Legend played alongside others including Egyptian singer Mohammed Hamaki and French Montana, who took to the stage to deliver a trap setlist following Legend’s show.
“This is my first time in Saudi since 2019, so let me reintroduce myself. Let’s go!” the Moroccan American singer said onstage, kicking off the setlist with “All the Way Up.”
“I came for French Montana, of course. My favorite song is ‘Unforgettable,’ and I’m excited to hear that,” Dubai-based Rana Baeshen told Arab News.
Baeshen initially came to experience the Riyadh Season and visit family, taking the opportunity to also see Montana live.
“This country is developing so rapidly. I’m happy with what I saw here tonight,” she said.
Starting off the night’s festivities was Saudi DJ Dani Bogari following racer Pascal Wehrlein’s win.
Bogari told Arab News: “I’m absolutely immersed in joy. It’s my first time playing on such a large stage, so it feels incredible.
“It feels like there are lots of opportunities for local talent, so today being part of this experience, being alongside John Legend and French Montana — I don’t think there’s anything that I can say to describe it.”
While his performance diverged from his typical Afrohouse sound, his beats complemented the headlining R&B performances, as he mixed more lyrical and dance music into his set.
“When there’s a culture of music, it really means that this country is growing in the right direction. It’s creating positive energy within the people,” Bogari said.