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Rolling Stones rock Abu Dhabi in first Middle East show

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs during a concert in Abu Dhabi February 21, 2014. REUTERS/ Stringer
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs during a concert in Abu Dhabi February 21, 2014. REUTERS/ Stringer

By Regan Doherty

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Vintage hell-raisers, the Rolling Stones played their first ever concert in the Middle east on Friday - a gig to 30,000, mostly Western fans in culturally conservative Abu Dhabi.

A swaggering Mick Jagger, dressed in black sequins and red satin - later donning a red feather boa - strutted across the stage, showing little sign of his advancing years as he sang hits including "It's Only Rock 'n Roll", "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar" and "Sympathy for the Devil".

But unlike an appearance by Madonna in the Gulf Arab state in 2012 - which featured erotic dancing, provocative outfits and bare-chested monks - the concert passed off without controversy.

The band - all in their late 60s and early 70s - delighted fans who had traveled from around the United Arab Emirates for the only Middle East show at the start of a tour that moves on to Japan, Macau, Australia and New Zealand.

"For their first gig in the Middle East, it was magic. It's history," said British expat Lisa Ball-Lechgar after the two-hour concert during which Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts performed 19 songs.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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