In what one Saudi musical lover called a “paradigm shift” in the country, legendary Arab singer Rashed Al Majed returned to the stage for three encores after his first concert in Riyadh.
On March 9, the musical phenomenon performed the opening act for Mohammed Abdu, who hadn’t performed in the Saudi capital since 1988. Both singers have Saudi roots and are popular throughout the Arab world. About 2,000 people packed the King Fahad Cultural Center Hall for the show, which sold out in just 30 minutes.
“I have feelings of happiness and joy and pleasure,” Abdu told reporters before taking the stage that Thursday night.
Abdu rose to fame before Abdul Aziz Al Shudayyid, a 21-year-old student in attendance was born, but nonetheless said that the artist “sings for my generation,” adding that he knows all his songs by heart.
The U.S.-based Monster Jam truck competition is scheduled for this week in Riyadh.
A Paradigm Shift in Cultural, Entertainment Persists
One of the most visible aspects of the rollout of the Vision 2030 plan has been this paradigm shift in entertainment, as the government seeks to get Saudis spending at home rather than in other Gulf countries. In October, hundreds of men and women attended a performance by the New York theatrical group iLuminate.
Saudi Arabia considers culture and entertainment indispensable to its quality of life. As outlined in Vision 2030, the government is well aware that the cultural and entertainment opportunities currently available do not reflect the rising aspirations of Saudi citizens and residents, nor are they in harmony with the Kingdom’s prosperous economy. As such, the government will support the efforts of regions, governorates, non-profit and private sectors to organize cultural events. Saudi Arabia intends to enhance the role of government funds, while also attracting local and international investors, creating partnerships with international entertainment corporations.
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