A cheering crowd danced to the thumping music at Jeddah World Fest, that was hosted in the Red Sea city of western Saudi Arabia.
The scenes, unimaginable just two years ago, reflect how the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom is easing decades-old restrictions on entertainment.
Nicki is well-known for her provocative, profanity-laced lyrics and skin-baring music videos — pulled out of headlining of the concert in a show of solidarity for women’s and gay rights in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom.
The cancellation triggered a social media storm, with many fans in the kingdom voicing disappointment and demanding ticket refunds.
The singer insisted on Twitter that her decision was not intended to “disrespect” the Saudi government.
The announcement of her performance had prompted an online backlash from arch-conservatives as the kingdom pursues a contentious liberalisation drive.
A few Saudi media outlets including the pro-government Okaz newspaper insisted it was the kingdom that cancelled her show, as it went against local “customs and values”.