We managed to get two of the last 35 tickets for Sandance to hear The Killers play on the 11th October! This is the third year of this award-winning festival that has seen some huge names play on the beautiful Sandance beach of the Atlantis Hotel, on the Jumeira Palm, Dubai.
The event opened its doors at 2 pm, with The Wailers scheduled to play at sunset, but we didn’t make it there till after dark, as there was a last-minute change of plans: by 4 pm Joshua was still not feeling well, I didn’t want to do the drive to Dubai and back by myself, and we started searching for people to buy the tickets off us… luckily, by 4:30pm I had managed to recruit Mandy (who had been up since 4:30 am, completed a 10 km race, and just finished a long brunch) to come along with me, and Keith was happy to hitch a ride with two pretty German girls. So we were on our way, and not a minute too late. Traffic on the Palm was stop and go, but thankfully many people were using taxis and buses and there was sufficient staff around to keep things moving along. We got a parking spot close to the entrance and were ushered through security within a couple of minutes, to join the crowd of supposedly 15,000 people on Sandance beach just after sunset, in time to buy drinks before Of Monsters & Men came on.
The venue is awesome and I wish we would have gotten out there in the afternoon – the Atlantis Hotel is located at the tip of the Jumeira Palm and its Sandance beach has an awesome view over Dubai. There was a food court set up, a beach with seating areas where you could smoke sheesha, several bars, face painting, photographers, and an elevated VIP platform with seating. Early bird general admission cost 295 AED; on the door tickets cost 350 AED; VIP tickets cost 500 AED.
The beach never seemed too crowded. Even though the event was sold out and we were at the back of the crowd, we had a view of the stage and thoroughly enjoyed having our own few square meters of beach to sit and dance on. The only thing that could have been improved was the bar service – three staff members were required to take one person’s order, and they only served that one person standing right in front of them…ever seen the comedy “Come fly with me” ? Besides the bar service the event was well organized – the beach was kept tidy, with staff constantly running around picking up rubbish, and there were no queues to get into the venue, or into the air-conditioned toilets, which were constantly cleaned.
Of Monsters and Men, a 6-piece Icelandic indie rock band, were great live and played a very nice set that got everyone moving. Forty-five minutes after they finished The Killers were finally on stage – and I must say they were awesome. With Dubai being the last stop on their world tour, the band lacked nothing in energy and sound; the stage projections and laser show were stunning. They opened with Mr Brightside and the classics kept on coming for 90 minutes, reminding me of one of the best summers of my days at university. Other highlights included Somebody Told Me, a cover of Tommy James’ Are We Alone Now?, and the encore of Jenny Was A Friend of Mine and When You Were Young.
The beach party continued on into the night with various DJs giving it their best, but we eventually pulled the pin and made our way back to Abu Dhabi at about 1am… we were all still tired from Oktoberfest the night before, but the trip to Sandance was so worth it!