Photo: Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez Take Over Chicago's United Center
On Friday, August 3, two music superstars, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez put on very different but equally as impressive shows at Chicago’s United Center.
Mexican-born singer Frankie J, a member of the Kumbia Kings before going solo in 2003, did a fantastic job of getting the crowd excited. Dressed in a dapper gray suit, the 36-year-old singer showed off the soulful voice I swooned over in high school. He ended his set with 2005’s Billboard Hot 100 hit “Obsession (No Es Amor)”.
As the stage crew reset the stage, those empty seats began to fill steadily and a large screen on stage displayed a simple “ei” which alone sent the decibel level up to near deafening levels for a few seconds.
After a few more minutes, the screen that had been at center stage began to rise and the crowd went what can only be described as “completely nuts” as Enrique appeared from behind it. As it rose above the stage, Enrique grabbed onto the bottom of the sign and lifted off the ground.
Just as he drops down the energetic music begins and the blissful abuse of my eardrums begins, as the fans will not be anything close to silent for his entire set. He is clearly a performer and honestly gave nothing short of an amazing show.
The large screens at the back of the stage blinked the words “ARE YOU READY?” over and over again and the crowd grew louder and louder in anticipation.
Opening his set with “Tonight I’m F*cking You” and shooting smoke straight up into the air, the energy is almost overwhelming. As the cameras pan around to the audience, it’s clear this is not just a crowd of women and the men are going crazy, jumping around and singing along.
Now, let me be real for a second here. Impartiality thrown out the window, I had no idea I was going to be excited the moment he took the stage, but that unexpected excitement could have sent me flying around the United Center for the next hour.
The Spanish singer’s 10+ song set was not just an accompaniment to a huge production, though the tower of screens behind the band, used for both he and JLo, were displaying nifty graphics throughout. His performance was all about singing to his fans and making new ones like yours truly. He often climbed off the stage, to not only take photos with fans with their own phones and cameras, but even pulling out his own to capture the moments as well.
Probably the most touching moment throughout his time on stage was when he and his band pulled up stools and he pulled two fans onto stage from the crowd to sit next to him. The fans, Alex and David, were understandably nervous, but what happened next was both touching and hilarious. After doing shots with Enrique, the guys were asked if they sang. Alex then began singing “Stand By Me” alongside Enrique before being given the microphone to sing alone. At first he sang in his seat, but Alex quickly took off down the runway section of the stage, Enrique holding up a phone, capturing the performance as if he was the fan, with a big smile on his face.
Enrique’s only wardrobe change was simply changing from a black t-shirt to a white one, his signature jeans, hat and boots remaining the same.
When he takes on Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” canons shoot massive amounts of confetti over the crowd.
He ends his set with two things, a female scream-inducing performance of “Hero”, during which he brought a female fan on stage to slow dance (and grab some Enrique read-end as he kissed her numerous times), and another version of “Tonight I’m F*cking You”.
Next up was Jennifer Lopez and you could tell right away that she was going to have a much more theatrical set, if judging by the number of crew members on the set. Steps three levels high were being built in the center of the stage. A large decorated curtain drops down and covers most of the stage, the letters JLO displayed on the top.
In front of the curtain comes male dancers dressed in grey tuxedos, top hats, and canes. The curtain then goes up and a video of Lopez as an old Broadway star in a back stage area plays with her singing “Never Gonna Give Up” Then, wearing a white feather-adorned skirt over a sparkling body suit, Lopez appears from the floor of the top of the massive staircase. Lights fill the stage and Lopez takes off the skirt to reveal a skin-colored, body-hugging sparkling body suit. The diva and her 8 hunky male and 2 female dancers get down to “I’m Gonna Be Alright”.
Every few songs brings a wardrobe and/or set change. Each song that was originally a duet is pulled off with the other singer or rapper appearing on the large screen at the backstage. With this she is able to sing with Pitbull, Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, and LL Cool J.
The sets on stage range from a moving bed with what appear to be stripper poles for “Waiting for Tonight” to a gritty chain-link fence with crime scene tape a hubcap hanging off of it.
Arguably the most elaborate was the boxing ring that was set up at the end of the runway extension of the stage. While Lopez was going through a wardrobe change, two dancers appearing as fighters enter the ring and box in slow motion, with a strobe light adding to the effect. On the screen, faux newspapers flash across the screen with photos of Lopez as an undefeated boxer.
Often times throughout her show, Lopez laughed her signature laugh, thanked everyone for coming to the show, and expressed that she is still the same girl she was years ago. Ahead of “I’m Real”, she told the crowd, “I’m just a simple girl from the Bronx.” As she sang, the screen showed images of the Bronx, but also mixed in with those clips were diamonds showering down.
Her next song is actually a video for “Baby I Love You”. Her and beau Casper Smart are sitting next to each other in matching black shirts doing a sort of interpretive dance to the song.
Breaking up the love fest however, Lopez comes back on stage in a black, high-waisted suit. She stands at the top of the stairs with a conga drum painted like a Puerto Rican flag. She comes running down the stairs singing “Let’s Get Loud.” Bringing her Latin flavor out, Lopez shows off her moves and her famous assets as the suit comes off to reveal another bodysuit, this one adorned with black tassels. She’ll have one more wardrobe change before the end of the night.
Two songs later, Lopez runs off stage for a quick change and returns in a body suit much like the one she started in, except this has a lot more tassels. As her final number, Lopez has Smart come out for a one-on-one dance to “Dance Again” before he does some acrobatic dancing back down to the main stage.
With a joyful crowd on their feet, Lopez leaves the stage, she and Enrique having given the crowd nearly everything it could have asked for.
See this concert. I went to this being sort of a fan of each of the performers, but I honestly left a big fan of one and with more respect for all. I don’t see how anyone who enjoys Latin-infused pop music can fail to have a good time at this show.
Enrique and JLo will next head to San Jose, California for an August 8 show at the HP Pavilion.