The Black Eyed Peas girl gave Dubai an hour of spirited funky fun, reports Sneha May Francis
It felt like a high school reunion party. What with happy 16-year-olds crowding the arena for the much-awaited Fergie concert, I wondered if there was actually an age limit for the concert. Fortunately there was none and we walked in only to be reminded again that we’ve grown way past our high school days and should have come only if we were in our teens or had teens of our own. The Dubai Media City arena was bustling with teenagers, giggling and gossiping, making us feel like intruders at their school party!
We arrived way ahead of time, so we could catch up with a handful of our peers in a caged corner for the over 21s. Though the grounds were embarrassingly empty, they slowly started filling up with more teenagers. And the waiting crowd was entertained by RadioOne RJs, who reminded us time and again that the ‘Dutchess’ was just a few minutes away from ‘setting the stage on fire’. So we heeded their words and waited patiently. They made the wait a tad easier by playing an interview with the singer, giving us a little insight into her. I doubt the idea went well with the teenage crowd, who were more interested in partying with their school buddies.
The wait was bearable only because of the pleasant weather, sufficient space on the greens to spread ourselves and ample time to chat with old friends.
So at 9.10pm (we clocked ourselves, a cool hour late from what the tickets announced), we were witness to the vivacious curly blonde in a hippy orangy dress, taking us through her journey from Black Eyed Peas to her Dutchess. All over, kids, teenagers, their mums and dads, and a few oldies started matching their steps with her charismatic voice. Fergie kept it going with her eclectic mix of songs.
Her hour-long concert saw three costume changes during which her troupe kept us entertained with their fascinating dance routines and music.
She opened her show with London Bridge, and though a tad nervous in the beginning she warmed up to the crowd in no time and set the pace with Clumsy. Her soulful rendition of Motown gave us a taste of her powerful voice. Fergie’s Voodoo Dolls essayed the rough patches in her life. She hit the rock chord, dressed in leather pants and a blue top, and belted covers of Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up.
Fergie paid tribute to her famous association with the Black Eyed Peas with an interesting medley that included Where is the Love and Shut up, which had the crowd singing along, proving just how far she had to go to achieve the status of her ‘godfathers’. There are bound to be comparisons and it’s unfair to expect Fergie to set the same pulse as her band but she doesn’t fall too short, her funky voice was enough to entice the crowd. Also, the fan base is widely different – Fergie’s more a teenage rage than the Black Eyed Peas, which strikes a chord with young and old alike. Let’s face it, Fergie is not Madonna, her stage did not feature lavish sets or thousands
of spectacular dancers, but her powerful voice was enough to capture the crowd.
Fergie’s most famous No 1 single, Big Girls Don’t Cry, from the Dutchess, was a rage with the crowd. And to imagine she wasn’t even planning on including it in her album. For the uninitiated, Fergie’s solo career kicked off in 2005 with the ‘Dutchess’, a misspelt version of the Duchess of York, stressing her close link with a woman whom she shares a popular nickname and last name.
Fergie put on her glittery girlie dress for her hit song Glamorous. From rock to reggae to R&B, she proved her versatility with amazing ease.
Fergie understands that she has a long way to go in terms of a solo career and is smart enough to hold on to the Black Eyed Peas. And keeping this association alive, she rendered her famous Don’t Phunk With My Heart and Lady Lump. She ended her hour-long journey with the most apt – Fergalicious.
On the whole, the concert was nothing spectacular but just a reminder that here’s an artiste who has come a long way and is determined to make it on her own. Kudos to that!
Published in E+ issue November 20-26, 2008