Seeing her onstage last night was a dream twenty years in the making. The show opened with an old song that had the arena screaming at the top of our collective lungs: Estoy Aquí. Wow, her powerful voice made our core tremble while her golden locks bounced around the stage. A promising vibe.
As Shakira performed songs like Antología, Si Te Vas, and Inevitable; hands were up in the air, eyes closed … the look of devout fandom.
The rest of the show was mediocre at best. A good show, but much of it felt overly rehearsed. The beauty of her artistry consisted in the weight of her lyrics and the sincerity of her music. Elements shamelessly absent from her performance.
Don’t get me wrong. It was a good show. Glittery clothes, fireworks, elaborate screens, electronic sounds, laser lights, the whole shebang. But we have gotten used to seeing this humble and honest Shakira shine through her social media channels and her interviews. A family woman, a star not prone to scandals, a sweetheart with a warm smile and dark shiny eyes. I could not wait to experience her gravitational force in person.
And she let me down. Even her heartfelt thank you felt rehearsed. Unnecessary lights out in between songs to make minor stage adjustments disrupted the flow of engagement; it was like hitting a reset button in between songs. I wanted to hear from Queen Shakira, not see stagehands running with flashlights to move a guitar stand from one place to another.
I saw Adele live two years ago, and no, I am not comparing them as artists. My goodness, Adele had a gift for making us all feel like she was talking to us as individuals, not a big idolatrous mass. Her stories in between songs were funny, relatable, revealing … it was an intimate encounter between a powerhouse and thousands of fans. I so wanted that from Shakira.
Her sultry eyes and soft flirtatious smile constantly met the camera with perfect timing, another nicely rehearsed touch of the show. Somehow her smile lost some charm for me. It felt like I was watching one of her videos rather than seeing my childhood idol in the flesh.
Hips Don’t Lie was so much fun! I love that song. It was that record-breaking song that put Shakira on the global stage. It was also that song that changed the essence of a rock infused pop-star, to the overly sexual performer I saw last night. Sex sells, and after all, Shakira’s job is to sell. Well done girl.
Here is the truth; her well-oiled marketing machine relies on faithful fans like me. People who become familiar with her content and make excuses for her lightweight, over commercialized music. People who jam to her first four or five albums then carefully handpick from the rest. People that will always give her clicks and show up to see her succeed. People who long for a bone in the shape of a damn good song.
People who miss the days when her music had soul.
It was a good show. Shaki can jump and shake what her mama gave her for two hours. She can entertain a huge crowd. She is awesome. Just not what I expected from the artist I have for so long admired.
PK, all the way from Miami.