Iglesias & J-Lo show off distinct styles in Boston
A review of Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez at the TD Garden on July 25, 2012
When co-headliners Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez came to the TD Garden Wednesday, the two pop superstars each brought their own unique style to the stage, proving that there is no one right way to run a show.
Iglesias went first, on a stage full of lights and enormous video screens, with a full band at the ready. Starting off with one of his bigger hits as of late, he deftly switched from the clean versions “Tonight (I’m Loving You)” to the original “Tonight (I’m F***ing You)” much to the crowd’s delight. But without any dance moves, he seemed stiff and rather stationary on stage. During his rendition of “Dirty Dancer”, he even sat down on the stage with his back to the audience and watched as the screens played a video of Usher and later Lil’ Wayne performed their portions of the song.
Things began to loosen up a bit when the Spanish portion of the night began. “No Me Digas Que No” had more energy than any number before it, and the Latin guitar solo (by his Bostonian Irish touring guitarist) leading into the classic “Bailamos” garnered cheers from the crowd. Iglesias’s more intimate acoustic rendition of “Ring My Bells” kept the night heading in the right direction.
It was at this point Iglesias took his crowd interactions to a whole other level. Throughout the show he would head into the audience, even signing posters and taking photos. And while his interactions with the crowd about where they were from (in Spanish and even Portuguese) was a great moment for everyone, his love of his fans took a bit of a turn for the worse when he brought a fans on stage for an interaction that lasted far too long. What started out as a sweet moment got awkward through a series of miscommunications between the fans and Iglesias, allowing each fan to pick a song for him to sing and then passing the mics to them (one of whom simply could not get the lyrics right to the point where Iglesias pulled out a lyric sheet). This whole routine happened a second time during the encore from a smaller stage further back in the arena with a 34-year-old “crazy” woman who continuously grabbed the singer’s butt as he slow danced and serenaded her with his mega-hit “Hero”.
Here’s the thing about Iglesias: when he does these things, he genuinely means them. He loves connecting with his fans. On stage, he’ll freely bond with them, talk about his longtime girlfriend and his life. He’s the kind of guy who everyone wants to have as a friend and who wants to be everybody’s friend. So where does this fit with his new image? When he says “You know my motivation/Given my reputation” there’s a disconnect that just doesn’t make sense. Sure, the music is catchy, but it has nothing to do with who this guy is. The real question is, in today’s pop market, does that matter?
Everything Iglesias was, J-Lo was the opposite. Her show was scripted and timed every step of the way; no personalization whatsoever. Yet whereas Iglesias would watch the screen while the rappers did their part, Lopez would continue to dance and entertain the audience. And where Iglesias shined vocally, Lopez continually flopped.
But let’s face it, no one goes to a Jennifer Lopez concert just to hear the lady sing! The elaborate stage pieces, costumes, and special effects (from smoke to fireworks) were all wonderful but nothing stood a candle to the elaborate dance routines choreographed for the show. From the moment she stepped on stage and began “Get Right”, the passion, the energy, the dedication of Lopez and her supporting crew were all made evident.
The set moved quickly (unlike the first headliner’s), with Lopez becoming a boxer for her newest single “Goin Out” and then changing to good old “Jenny From the Block” for a medley of her earlier hits. “Boston’s a pretty tough town, huh?” she said during the change. “I’ve been here once or twice… I’ve been to a Red Sox game” she continued, challenging the crowd while she took them back to the Bronx and donned a Yankees cap, eliciting crowd-wide boos.
One of the more honest moments of the show was really the only unscripted one, when her troop brought out a birthday surprise (Lopez having just turned 43 the day before), causing the pop star to cry out “I’m about to kill somebody!” But then the show returned to its usual track, and all was well again. The party got going with the final song of the set “On The Floor” and the encore “Dance Again”, two of Lopez’s latest radio successes, and as the clock was about the strike midnight, the night finally came to a close.
Overall, the audience was happy and so were the performers. It was proof that there is no one right way to put on a great show – it’s all about who the artist is, what works for them, and playing to those strengths. If successful, the fans will happily follow along for the ride.