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On January 20th, UAE-based rock-pop band the Boxtones will open for Sir Elton at the Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai Outlet Mall.

Red Bull Opening Acts is a curated selection of some of the best up-and-coming talent in the region.

Those selected get to perform on the same bill as some of the popular artists who visit the UAE every year.

Elton’s appearance – part of his Wonderful Crazy Night tour – marks the start of a new partnership between Red Bull and 117Live, with the Boxtones performing as the first Red Bull Opening Act in Dubai as part of their newly formed partnership.

117Live is the events subsidiary of Al Ahli Holding Group, and is revolutionising live entertainment in the region with its own purpose-built venue – the Autism Rocks Arena – which opened in March with a Nicki Minaj concert.

Elton opens 2017 at the arena, ahead of 2017 performances from Bryan Adams, Guns N’ Roses and Justin Bieber.  

Boxtones keyboardist Will Janssen says that when he received the call from Red Bull, “my childhood dreams came true”.

Janssen has been playing Elton John songs since he started playing the piano “as a young lad”, and says all of the Boxtones are “really excited about this gig, but I think I am the most excited.”

Perhaps not as excited as his mother back in Canada, who’s been asking if Janssen will be performing a duet with the Rocket Man.

“I’ll just be happy to play on the same stage, and hopefully we’ll get to meet the man himself,” he says.