Dubai is going recent-retro for the rest of 2023…

Let us take you back to a simpler time, an era when the term ‘going viral’ was usually reserved for what happened to your parents’ computer after a Limewire spree, a time of pedal-pusher pants, clear cola, running emo poetry scripts on your MySpace wall, and running out of credit on a Motorola Razr. Sorry mum. Yes, those halcyon days of the nineties and noughties are the latest decades to go under the cultural retro-revival lens and Dubai really is ‘Gettin Jiggy’ with the trend. Which is why we’re firing up the iPod shuffle to bring you our playlist of the good, the Britney and the Uggs-ly of throwback thirsting in the city throughout the rest of 2023.

Metallica Tribute Show With Orchestra


Heavy metal heavyweights Metallica have been thrashing out arena tours since the early 80s, but their immovable rock chart presence became an unstoppable force in the 90s. And although this Dubai gig at The Agenda is not the real McGovney (it’s a tribute act called Garage Dayz), it does feature the symphonic backing of a Palladium Orchestra. Exit light, enter night, take our hand they’re off to never winter land.

The Agenda, Media City, Fri Nov 10, 7.15pm, tickets from Dhs295.



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Allegedly, one of the star acts of this 00s revival gig has been to the year 3000. Their debrief of the temporal tourism reveals that not much has changed, except for the fact we live underwater, and that one of your great great great granddaughters is relatively attractive. Yes, it’s pop-punk outfit Busted, back with the original line-up and hitting the stage at Bla Bla in November with the (also original line-up) Sugababes, Vengaboys and Snap! Radio DJ Chris Moyles, as host, pushes the button on a Royal Rumble of bubblegum nostalgia.

Bla Bla, The Beach, JBR, Nov 18, from Dhs449, Tel: (0)4 584 4111,

Cele Retro Fest


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Co-headliners of this throwback-apalooza, Haddaway released his seminal hit ‘What is Love?’ in 1993. Making it *checks maths* thirty years old, and enough to elicit a “baby don’t hurt me” from anyone who can remember the original release. He’ll be joined by fellow 90s Eurodance scene pioneers Dr “It’s My Life” Alban, Ice MC, and Turbo B from Snap (Rhythm is a Dancer).  It’s all going down at Emirates Golf Club at the end of November, meaning they really are bringing ‘back nine-tees’.

Emirates Golf Club, Sat Nov 25, tickets from Dhs200.

The Magic Of Michael Jackson starring Ben Bowman

There are few characters that had the impact on the 1990s that Michael Jackson did – the troubled, controversial, but unquestionably gifted King of Pop, was never far from the top of the charts or newspaper headlines. Though his heyday was arguably in the 80s, his 90s catalogue included Black or White, Dangerous, Heal the World, Earth Song, They Don’t Care About Us, and You Are Not Alone. And though the real Micky J is no longer with us, the magic of his music and dance performance will be given life on the Coca-Cola Arena stage by ace impersonator, Ben Bowman.

Coca-Cola Arena, Sun Dec 17, from 8pm, tickets from Dha140.

Time capsule in the capital

Pairing sporting events with live music concerts seems to be Abu Dhabi’s jam. And this year, they really seem to be playing right into our reto-themed hands, with the two brightest examples celebrating the sounds of yesteryears.

Yasalam After Race Concerts


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As always, following the day’s on-track theatrics at the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, there will be a big ol’sonic shindig exclusively available to race day ticket holders. Held this year between November 23 and November 26, at the iconic course-adjacent open-air venue, Etihad Park – your line-up includes Tiësto (Thu), Shania Twain (Sat), and Foo Fighters (Sun). Three very different artists but all, big in the 90s. If you haven’t got your tickets already, you’ll need to book a hospitality package starting at Dhs2,150.

World Tennis League

What better way to wind down after a day’s top tier tennis action, than with a volley of live musical performances? That’s the plan for the World Tennis League, which stacks some of the tennis tour’s most famous aces in teams and lets them battle it out over a four day December 21 to December 24 tournament. Already booked in for apres-smash revelry are rap legend 50 Cent (Dec 21), a dream doubles pairing of R&B royalty – Akon and Neyo (Dec 22), and UK reggae veterans UB40 (Dec 23). The concerts are priced from Dhs199.

Back to 90s prices

Sure 90s music is great, but you know what else tickled our Furbie? The prices. So we’re turning the clock back on compound inflation, saying ‘smell you later’ to shrinkflation and serving up big, TGI Friday portions, of 90s-friendly deals. Could we be any more thrifty?

Boogie Drunch


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So this is a bit of a twofer – oldskool 80s and 90s bangers and an insanely strong deal on drunch. Lo+Cale’s Friday night brunch nets you nostalgic vibes, tasty nibbles and free-flow house drinks for just Dhs249.

Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina, Fridays, 8pm to 11pm, Dhs149 soft, Dhs249 house, Dhs349 premium. Tel: (0)54 997 8599. @localedxb

The Coterie Social & Kitchen

Waszzup (remember that ad)? This sports bar and lounge combo might be famous for serving you the roast that does the absolute most in Dubai, but the cool crowd know it’s got strong happy hour game too. Find wine and beer from Dhs25 Mon to Thu (3pm to 8pm).

IBN Battuta Mall. (0)4 570 8072,

Salmon Guru

This bang-on-trend Madrid import has taken Dubai’s cocktail bar scene by storm. Which makes it all the more surprising that on Fridays, you can bag bottomless sips and edamame nibbles between 4pm and 7pm from just Dhs195.

The Opus by Ominyat, Business Bay, Fridays from 4pm to 7pm, Dhs195 for house spirits, Dhs255 for unlimited cocktails. @salmongurudubai

Eve Penthouse & Lounge

Eve penthouse

This incredibly attractive rooftop lounge in the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights offers unrivalled views of the city plus live entertainment, cocktails and bites. Their Monday to Thursday (5pm to 8pm), happy hour entitles you to buy one get one free offers on selected drinks. That’s basically 50 per cent off. Which, we believe, if you check the dictionary definition – qualifies as bodacious, or at the very least, radical.

34th Floor, Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights, Dubai Healthcare City, Oud Metha Road, Bur Dubai, Mon to Thurs 5pm to 8pm, Tel (04) 553 1214.

The Hideout Dubai

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The Dubai Marina hub of wild nights and equally wild pricing structures, The Hideout Monday to Wednesday midweek offer really does take us back to the concrete streets, and real live of the 90s. Gents can get three hours of unlimited drinks for Dhs99 (7pm to 10pm, or the two hours between 10pm and midnight), ladies can pick up the same deal for just Dhs69.

Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina, Mon to Wed 7pm to 10pm or 10pm to midnight, Dhs69 for ladies, Dhs99 for gents. Tel: (0)58 156 4123, @thehideoutdubai

Mr Miyagi’s

Another dose of nifty, thrifty, midweeky, tongue-in-cheeky, mayhem is available at Mr Miyagi’s. On Wednesdays there’s a retroactive deal that includes a three-course meal, house bevvies and live entertainment for just Dhs149.

Media One, Media City, Wed from 6pm, Dhs149. Tel: (0)4 420 7489, @mrmiyagisdxb

Images: Supplied