Better Than: Derek Jeter’s last game in Yankee Stadium.
For now, the year of the Super Tour is coming to a close, and what better encore to collaborative superstar tours than the absolute party that is a show headlined by both Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias? Though their approach to the co-headlining was more traditional than that of this summer’s other Super Tours, with each playing one full, uninterrupted set rather than weaving together their songs and collaborations like Drake Vs. Lil Wayne or Eminem x Rihanna, or Jay and Bey, the respective time Madison Square Garden spent rapt with attention for each individual made the nearly three hour show fly by.
Reggaeton singer J Balvin opened the show with a street style that is the total antithesis of Pitbull’s Latino James Bond look and Enrique’s pure romance. Backed by his excellent trio of dancers clad in all white with matching red sneakers, Balvin was a perfect precursor to the rest of the evening, offering more than enough reasons to get up and dance before the headliners took the stage.
After a brief interlude from the pre-game DJ followed by dimmed lights, a scrolling Wikipedia entry detailing Pit’s entire life story, and some moves from his trusty team of female back-up dancers, Pitbull popped up from the center of the stage looking as debonair and mysterious as ever. “Don’t Stop the Party” was an apt way of beginning the show, making it seem as if the party had been occurring all along and that we were just joining in fashionably late. As Pitbull and his dancers gyrated across the stage, Pit’s music videos and shots of him living his flossy, glamorous life were projected on the main screen like a post-vacation slideshow. The music videos, though a bit comically strange at first, settled in as an actually genius move given the fact that so much of Pit’s career is about his collaborations with other artists. Having the facial recognition reminded us why we know all the lyrics to every song no matter how old.
While the flashes of Chris Brown (“International Love”), Shakira (“Get It Started”), and Jennifer Lopez (“Dance Again,” “On the Floor”) could have been gigantic distractions, Pitbull did everything in his power to keep our attention. He’s oddly charming and endearing to watch kind of dance but mostly giggle at ever opportunity he got. His energy was infectious, which is probably what makes his music such club standards. There was not a single opportunity to turn down for anything over the course of his set, and by the looks of Pit’s black button-down shirt that looked like it had transformed into satin about halfway through given the amount of sweat his restlessness elicited, Pit was as hyped up as his audience was.
Highlights included the Marc Anthony-featuring “Rain Over Me,” “Vem Dancar Kuduro,” a remix of “Turn Down for What,” “Hotel Room Service” and the perfect “Timber.” Nothing compared, however, to “Give Me Everything,” the song that was Pitbull’s first Number 1 hit and a song with a carpe diem message that may as well have been the theme of the night.
An intermission of sorts occurred between Pitbull and Enrique’s sets, which was a nice breather after the Pitbull dance party. Enrique’s offerings are a bit more varied than Pitbull’s, club hits interspersed with weepy ballads and pop rock jams, so the set was anyone’s call. He opened with “I’m a Freak,” the perfect post-Pitbull way of entering into his time on stage. He slowly transitioned from dance to the pop rock sect of his canon, finding himself at the more alt-rock “Finally Found You.”
Enrique’s Spanish-language singles were crowd-pleasing favorites and a focus of the middle of his set, though interrupted for his classic “Bailamos.” “No Me Diga Que No,” “El Perdedor” and the Romeo Santos duet “Loco” were beautifully delivered by the singer. The latter two came after his transition to the back of the crowd where he performed on a smaller stage with a few of his musicians. There, he pulled up a man from Brooklyn named Joey, poured a bottle of liquor down both their throats, then proceeded to sing “Stand By Me.” Interacting with the audience was a big part of Enrique’s time on stage. He jumped into the crowd at least once during nearly every song, grabbing phones to take group selfies with, hugging fans and even having conversations during musical interludes.
Upon returning to the larger stage, Enrique jumped into his biggest hits. “Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You),” the clearly raunchy club hit from a few years back was surprisingly followed up by his most famous song, the early millennium ballad “Hero.” The stage lights were cut in favor of the audience’s phones lighting up MSG instead. Only a ballad like “Hero” can withstand being sandwiched between two massive dance favorites and came followed by “Bailando,” his most recent hit.
The night ended with the pair of headliners on stage amidst a sea of confetti and gigantic balloons. The performed “I Like It” for the night cap, did some goofy dance moves and hugged it out at the end of the catwalk before racing towards the drums to sync up a final, playful jump for the last notes. “Closing Time,” the prototypical soundtrack to last calls across America, was aptly played over the mass exodus from MSG since everyone probably felt like they had just experienced their wildest club night in a while.
Critical Bias: I didn’t realize my bias was that literally every song Pitbull has released himself or appeared on brings me maximum joy.
Overheard: (During Enrique Iglesias’ “Finally Found You”) “He kind of sounds like Imagine Dragons.”
Random Notebook Dump: Given his propensity for having the band play snippets of hard rock songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” I’m convinced Pitbull is definitely a metalhead and prepping to release his rock album.
Don’t Stop the Party
Drop It to the Floor
Get It Started
Rain Over Me
Vem Dancar Kuduro
Sube Los Manos Pa Arriba
Back In Time
Turn Down for What
I Know You Want Me
On the Floor
DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love
Hotel Room Service
Feel This Moment
Give Me Everything
I’m a Freak
Finally Found You
No Me Diga Que No
Stand By Me
Be With You
Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)
I Like It
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 26, 2014