After multiple delays, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin finally brought their joint tour to American Airlines Center on Wednesday. As mainstream pop music grows ever more multilingual, with Latin, K-Pop and afrobeats holding spots in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10, their concert couldn’t be any more timely.
Millennials, Gen Z-ers and cuspers may think of names such as J Balvin, Bad Bunny or Becky G when they hear the term “Latin music," but older fans will not forget that Iglesias and Martin led a surge in Latin pop in the late ‘90s and early aughts. An evening surrounded by fellow Hispanic and Latinx people, many of whom knew all the words to every song, whether current and old, reminded us of the significance of that heyday.
Iglesias was the first to perform, opening with his 2014 hit, “I’m a Freak.” Most of his songs from the ‘10s were EDM-inspired, and although this concert wasn’t necessarily a rave, the various lasers shooting from the stage and colorful displays on screen brought a similar energy.
Most of Iglesias' setlist consisted of his Spanish hits, including his 2016 single “Duele el Corazón," at which point everybody in the audience got out of their seats while singing along.
A wave of nostalgia hit the air the second the sultry guitar intro began for Iglesias’ 1999 breakout hit “Bailamos.”
“Let’s throw it back, Dallas,” Iglesias shouted, as he jumped out into the audience, performing the song while allowing female audience members to touch him and record forward-facing videos, presumably for Instagram and TikTok. When the song ended, the lights went out, and Iglesias mysteriously disappeared. When the lights came back on, the singer reappeared just as mysteriously on a separate stage across from the main stage.
He then performed “Cuando Me Enamoro” before pouring shots of tequila.
The show took a horny turn when Iglesias performed "Me Pasé" from his most recent album Final, as he made out with one of his background singers. Oof.
More than 20 years after its release, “Be With You” still hits hard. The audience, of course, remembered every word of this song, as well as his other universal hits that followed, including “Escape,” and “Tonight (I’m Fucking You)," with which closed his main set. He did perform an encore, with songs like “Hero,” “Bailando” and “I Like It,” at the end of which, glow-in-the-dark balloons with an “E.I.” logo descended from the ceiling along with a shower of confetti.
Martin hit the stage next and wasted no time getting started putting on a killer show. He opened with “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” a performance complete with background dancers, elaborate choreography and stunning visual effects on the screen. This was just a precursor to an even more exciting set, before which he promised the audience “I’m going to leave my soul on this stage tonight.”
Martin lunged into his Spanish catalog with songs like “La Bomba,” “Que Rico Fuera” and “Vuelve.” During a quick costume change, a group of drummers took the stage to pound along to a remix of Martin’s 2005 single “I Don’t Care.” The drummers then began spinning rapidly as Martin returned to the stage in tight black jeans and a vest, with no shirt underneath.
As Martin performed “She Bangs,” he ran across two moving staircases while dancing — without losing a single breath. The song smoothly transitioned into “Shake Your Bon Bon,” and Martin managed to maintain his stamina before slowly winding to perform his Christina Aguilera duet “Nobody Wants to Lonely.” Xtina herself made somewhat of a surprise appearance in the form of a pre-recorded clip. He also virtually brought Maluma on stage, with a pre-recorded clip of him singing his part of their duet “Vente Pa’ Ca.” They may not have physically been present at the concert, but the fans certainly appreciated Martin's affinity for detail.
All that dancing certainly wore out older millennials among the audience, but people of all ages gathered the energy to dance to Martin's signature hit “The Cup of Life” during his encore performance.
Fans came for the nostalgia and were served two enjoyable sets, but Martin was certainly the star of the night, combining his musical aptitude with sexual energy and highlighting his showmanship with stunning visual elements. Nevertheless, the unquestionable magic of Latin music was present throughout all of the night.