Chicago Sun-Times Review
source: Chicago Sun-Times
Iglesias shows guests a good time
February 21, 2004
BY LAURA EMERICK Staff Reporter
When Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias finally tires of the glamorous life, maybe he should consider a career in the diplomatic corps.
Thursday night at the Arie Crown Theatre, he functioned like the Colin Powell of music, requesting the crowd's input and catering to its almost every whim. When a star reaches into a cooler for a Corona to hand to a starry-eyed fan, you know he's gone above and beyond the call of duty.
At every turn, Iglesias insisted on being the ever-solicitous host. He even interrupted one song to ask someone down front, "Are the security guys being a pain in the a--?" Then later: "Did they tell you that you can't bring cameras in here? Well, that's bull----." And finally: "Am I boring you with these stories?"
For cynics, this average Enrique act might seem a bit, well, calculated. And perhaps a clever ruse to disguise the fact that Iglesias' brand of Latin pop is basically '80s hair metal reinvented for modern sensibilities.
Yeah, but as Willie Dixon once famously declared: "... the little girls understand." Besides, after a long week of tedium, whether on the job or on the home front, Enrique's act of pop calculation goes over pretty well.
His 90-minute set closely followed the format of his show last summer at the House of Blues, but this time out, Iglesias was much, much better. His arena-rock theatrics better suit a venue of the Arie Crown's size, and Thursday, Iglesias actually seemed emotionally invested in his performance (unlike his by-the-numbers turn at the House of Blues).
Surprisingly, he and his six-piece band (plus three backup singers) did not offer much from his latest disc, the English-language "Seven" (which has sold only 300,000 units, compared with the multiplatinum tallies of previous releases).
Concentrating instead on favorites such as "Bailamos," "Rhythm Divine," "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" and "Don't Turn Out the Lights," he also reprised the semi-acoustic segment of his early Spanish hits "Experiencia Religiosa," "Por Amarte" and "Nunca Te Olvidare."
But first came a "Brady Bunch" moment when Iglesias invited a kid, then her father and then their friends up on the stage to sit on a couch next to him. As he serenaded the kid, who turned out to be only 10, she looked like she would have rather been off counting Yu-Gi-Oh cards somewhere. Maybe it was because he sang the bizarre choice of "Mentiroso" ("Liar," supposedly written as a rebuke to his famous father). Or maybe it was the ratty-looking sectional that was straight out of "That '70s Show." (As Iglesias himself pointed out: "We went all over the U.S. and tried to find the ugliest couch possible. I think we found it.")
In any case, the fans loved it. It's hard to argue with such crowd-pleasing tactics. As one fan put it after the show: "He's so accessible."
Along with the accessibility, a little more spontaneity would be welcome, however. His one out-of-the-blue moment, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" ("one of my favorite songs when I was a little kid"), won't get him invited to the next Bobby D. tribute concert, but it was a start.
Then it was back to power-ballad mode for "Don't Turn Out the Lights" -- "it's time to go crazy now" -- and he made good on the promise. Jumping up onto a speaker stack, he gave the gals some up close and personal time, and then took a flying leap back onto the stage. From there, he segued right into his smash hit "Escape," with its immortal, Ted Bundyesque line, "You can run, you can hide, but you can't escape my love."
I've always wondered, is that a promise or a threat? You be the judge. But the little girls understand.
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