Excellent La Concert Reviews!

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suzieQ
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Postby suzieQ » Sat Feb 28, 2004 1:35 pm

Way to go, Enrique! Every critic has raved about your concerts so far! Keep the awesome concerts coming!

Enrique Iglesias knows how to have fun
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source:Alameda Times Star
By Jim Harrington, CONTRIBUTOR

ENRIQUE Iglesias has the looks. He has the voice. And he has the stats, having set the record for the most No.1 singles -- 16, to be exact -- in the history of the Billboard Latin charts.


Most of all, the 28-year-old superstar has the ability to make what he does look like a whole lot of fun. That's true in his videos, which commonly feature him lip-locked with gorgeous models, and is certainly true of his concerts.


His show Tuesday night at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland was a rollicking and exuberant affair from start to finish.


He's the biggest name in Latin pop, following in the footsteps of his dad, Julio Iglesias, but that's not how he acts. He comes across as a very down-to-earth and eager-to-please guy. It's a refreshing change of pace from all the prima-donna performers out there to see the type of effort that Iglesias makes to connect with the crowd.


Following a short opening set by sensational newcomer Holly Palmer, who was reminiscent of a "Tuesday Night Music Club"-era Sheryl Crow, the headliner was greeted with a huge reaction from the near-capacity audience as he opened with "The Way You Touch Me," one of several selections from the recently released "Seven."


He exuded sex appeal as he stood on a low platform at the front of the stage, gripped the microphone with both hands and arched his pelvis toward his fanatical following. He was casually dressed, or "slumming it" as one fan said, wearing a simple black T-shirt, leather pants, the signature knit skullcap and work boots. It was sort of a dockworker look -- if dockworkers wore $3,000 pants.


Backed by a versatile nine-piece band, which included three accompanying vocalists, Iglesias mixed his 1980s arena-rock influences with his father's Latin-pop legacy to create powerful hip-shaking anthems to love.


The flamenco-tinged "Bailamos," performed in a mixture of Spanish and English, and the acoustic-guitar-propelled "The Rhythm Divine" were both huge crowd favorites.


Of course, the audience loved everything the singer delivered this night, treating him as if he were the Beatles and Elvis in one.


Iglesias definitely toyed with the crowd's collective libido. At no time did he generate more sparks than with "Could I Have This Kiss Forever." On the song, recorded as a duet with Whitney Houston, the star got down and dirty with one of his back-up singers.


Instead of taking himself too seriously, the Madrid native joked about his sex-symbol status and famed appeal to members of the opposite sex. He looked out at the mostly female audience and managed to spot a few men who appeared to have come of their own free will.


"I think it takes a very secure man to come to one of my concerts," he said.


Then the star decided to do something special for two men who hadn't been dragged to the show by their wives or girlfriends. He invited the men on stage, which had been reconfigured for the concert's most intimate interlude. Lounging on a couch and sipping drinks with Iglesias and his band members, the two men had the best seats in the house for a run through mellow versions of "Nunca Te Olvidare" and a few other Spanish-language favorites.


That is, they had the best seats until Iglesias also invited one female fan to the couch, who in turn cuddled up to the star during a touching rendition of "Experiencia Religiosa." It was certainly a religious experience for this woman, who looked like she had just won the lottery as the star crooned near her ear.


Another fan-friendly moment came with the uplifting ballad "Hero" during the generous encore. Iglesias noticed a person partaking in that 21st-century concert ritual of holding up the cell phone to share the experience with a friend at home. The singer stopped the song, asked for the phone and proceeded to serenade the caller on the other end. Talk about reaching out and touching someone.


Iglesias is one performer who knows how to have fun. More important, he knows how to include the audience in the good times.

You can write music critic Jim Harrington at jimthecritic@yahoo.com .

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Enrique doesn't have to sing to get his fans to scream
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Within the grand lobby of Oakland's Paramount Theatre, a table was piled high with the usual extortionately-priced tchotchkes sold at pop music concerts: T-shirts, posters, CDs and key chains.

But because Tuesday's headliner was Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias, there were some additional items from which to choose: red thongs imprinted with the singer's handsome visage on the crotch ($15); black booty shorts emblazoned with his name ($20); and a small white Teddy Bear tricked out in a tiny T-shirt featuring the cover of Iglesias' latest album, "Seven''($25).

This cuddly/sexy combinationis perfect shorthand for the appeal of Iglesias, who managed to jump ahead of his father, crooner Julio Iglesias, in the line for best-selling Latin recording artist in the world.

Enrique's famous mole may have disappeared and, according to recent press reports, his relationship with tennis vixen Anna Kournikova may be rocky, but the mojo remains.

In concert, Iglesias elicits the frenzied screams of Frank Sinatra's bobbysoxers. He channels the braggadocio of Bono, the bravado of Bryan Adams, the sexiness of Tom Jones, the sensitivity of Bobby Sherman, the Tiger Beat cuteness of Tony DiFranco. He's crossed the pop cultural bridge from tabloid factoid to red-blooded American pop star hottie. And though the video screen above the stage zoomed in frequently for close-ups up of some subtle -- yet obviously calculated -- crotch fondling, Iglesias still seems like the kind of guy you could bring home to meet mom and dad.

The sold-out Paramount crowd was largely Latino. And female. It appeared that the majority of men in attendance had either been told they were going - - or hoped to score points by buying their sweetie a ticket. But it was the women -- many of an age group able to pull off a look of skin-tight jeans, pointy boots and major hair -- whose passion drove the night's buzz.

Iglesias didn't disappoint. Kicking off with "Touch Me,'' he sampled a mix of ballads ("Could I Have This Kiss Forever''), Spanish-language songs ("Por Amarte'') and power pop ("Bailamos'' and "Not in Love'').

But it was the mere sight of Iglesias strutting onstage in chocolate brown leather pants, a grungy T-shirt, hiking boots and a black skull cap that brought the crowd to its feet for the remainder of his 90-minute set.

Cognizant of his original Latino fan base, Iglesias made a point to occasionally chat with the audience in his native language. The evening's emotional set piece was the power ballad "Hero'' from the 2001 "Escape'' album. Released shortly before Sept. 11, 2001, the love song somehow became an anthemic touchstone after the terrorist attacks. During the song, in a twist on the traditional Bic-flicking salute, many in the audience held their cell phones high, reaching out and touching someone across the ether. Iglesias called for a phone to be thrown to him from the audience, and kneeling at the edge of the stage, halted the band, said hello to whoever it was, and crooned the second verse right into the ear of one listener.

It's this sort of gesture that inspired loyal fans Laura Zaragoza, her little sister Maria and their pal Maria Muro to craft a homemade sign reading, "Enrique -- Estamos Adictas Ati! Besos Amor (We Are Addicted to You. Kisses. Love). The other side, sporting a taped-on bag of Doritos, asked "Got Doritos, Enrique?,' referring to the salsa-flavored snacks he hawks.

In the lobby, Lorena Garcia and friends discussed Iglesias' finer points. When asked who's the biggest fan, they all laughed and pointed to Garcia, who was attending her first Iglesias concert.

But, first, concerned about the conflicting reports on the current relationship status of Iglesias and his tennis star girlfriend, this seems like the right group to ask.

"I was just telling them,'' says Garcia, laughing and pointing to her friends. "I saw recent photos of them sitting on a bench. He was grabbing her butt. So I guess I have no chance! He's so beautiful.''

But regardless of Iglesias availability, for Garcia, it's always about the music. And she's not sorry that he's now embraced by the American pop mainstream. "I'm impressed!" she says. "I was afraid he wouldn't do as well as he has.'' Her friend Lina Perez cuts to the chase: "He's hot.''

Anna Rios, Monica Zazueta and Isabelle Montes drove up from Southern California for the show. And they were driving back the next day for Iglesias' two shows there. Then, they would follow him to Las Vegas. "His music,'' said Rios dreamily, "just draws you to him.''

E-mail Catherine Bigelow at cbigelow@sfchronicle.com.

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