Mohammed Abdo peforms in Jeddah, January 30, 2017.
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Concerts have long been an underground affair in Saudi Arabia, where official adherence to the severe Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam puts music in murky legal territory. For six hours Monday night, stretching into the wee hours of Tuesday morning, some 8,000 men sang along to epic love songs in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah as the kingdom held its first big concert in nearly seven years.Backed by a 60-man Egyptian orchestra, Abdo appeared with two other popular singers – Rabeh Sager, a Saudi, and Majid al-Muhandis, an Iraqi with Saudi citizenship.The concert came only two days after a jazz performance sold out the 3,300-seat King Fahd Cultural Center in the more puritanical capital Riyadh, which has not held public concerts in some 25 years.Abdo was slated to perform in Riyadh in September, but the concert was abruptly cancelled without explanation.Summer festivals in Jeddah and other Saudi cities used to feature concerts.The CPVPV's religious police chased after young men for playing music in their cars too loudly.
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