Enrique Iglesias likes being a star, but not a singer. At least, that’s how he behaved at Tuesday night’s Patriot Center show.
Iglesias had dropped out of a Britney Spears tour earlier this year that would have had him playing before crowds that would be much larger, but not his own. And having his own audience in front of him is key to an Iglesias show. On this night, the multi-cultural performer’s dealings with the fans provided far more interesting moments than the music, which other than his two renderings of the fabulously processed pop smashes “Tonight” and “I Like It” was non-descript in both English and Spanish.
The crowd interactions, however, were downright stunning. Iglesias’ brought a guy onstage who identified himself as Louis, a student at Broad Run High School, and the two sat on stage and Iglesias began doing some shots of liquor and telling too many life stories to keep the audience’s interest. (Iglesias, for example, confessed to having been an “[expletive] student” who grew up to be an “[expletive] singer.”) But then the kid tried talking Iglesias into letting him pour himself a glass of the star’s booze, saying he wasn’t driving and his parents were nowhere near the building, and, to the astonishment of any mothers or fathers or law enforcement personnel in the building, the pitch succeeded. Post-shot, Louis took the microphone from Iglesias and sang the ballad “Lloro Por Ti,” while walking down a huge catwalk and slapping hands with fans. Iglesias took in the bizarre scene while remaining seated and shaking his head, and appeared content letting somebody else do the crooning. The crowd went crazy.
Iglesias then told the security guards to go home and let all the fans rush the arena floor and clogged all the aisles. Before warbling the mushy love song “Hero,” Iglesias worked his way atop a platform at the back of the hall and pulled a fan named Yasmin Solar out of a pack crushing up toward him. Solar, visibly quaking at her good fortune, wasn’t going to let her time with the second-generation international heartthrob pass passively. She grabbed his sweaty rear end and dug her fingernails into his back and jumped up and wrapped her legs around his midsection and generally just mauled him as if there weren’t 10,000 other folks in the room. Loud as it was, you could hear jaws drop as Iglesias let her maul away with an awed smile. His demeanor somehow turned the chaos into a scene of amazing sweetness, and the night’s clear highlight. Concerts ain’t just about the songs, after all.
Earlier, Pitbull delivered a much more manic, energetic and brief set. The building shook for nearly all of the 35 minutes the 30-year-old Miami-based budding dance music and media mogul — he’s styling himself as a Cuban-American Puff Daddy — was onstage. Pitbull, born Armando Christian Pérez, carried himself like a superstar throughout; “My family’s from Cuba, but I’m an American Idol!” he boasted.
Amid a storm of big beats, he name-dropped both Jennifer Lopez, whose “Hit the Floor” he produced, and ex-hubby Marc Anthony, who appeared on a video screen to duet with ‘Bull on “Rain Over Me,” and looked to be having as much fun as the fans who were making the place shake.
The bedlam only flagged when Pitbull took breaks to push his other business interests. He, for example forced one of his protégé’s on the crowd (Nayer, flaunting a Kim Kardashian look and similar level of modesty), and shilled for various products -- Kodak and Pioneer Electronics got shout-outs. He ended his show by walking off the stage while pointing at the video screens around the arena, which were showing a Bud Light commercial starring, of course, Pitbull. The crowd roared as if it wasn’t being solicited.