Her set was relatively short for a headliner, but for the nearly 70 minutes she was on stage, Jennifer Lopez and her entourage of dancers and musicians filled the Sprint Center with a blizzard of sights and sounds.
There were several wardrobe changes; there were skits; there were videos and virtual guests (Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Flo Rida); there was a light show; there was high-flying choreography; there was confetti; and, almost incidentally, there was singing. And most of the night, the crowd of 9,000-plus was standing, adding to the festive mood.
Lopez was backed by an eight-piece band that included two backup vocalists, and surrounded by her buff dance crew most of the night. She turned 43 in July, but she hung with much-younger dance partners, who included her boyfriend, Casper Smart. She isn’t the most dynamic vocalist and it seemed apparent she was getting some recorded backup throughout the night, especially during those songs in which she also danced vigorously. After one of those numbers, she was clearly out of breath as she spoke to the crowd.
Her onstage personae is appealing; she manages to come across as the girl she portrays in “Jenny From the Block,” which provided one of the bigger moments of the night. Things slowed a bit during a boxing skit that broke out in the middle of the show, set to her song “Louboutins.” That gave her time for another wardrobe change. She returned to the stage after that and launched into “Goin’ In,” then the medley that mashed up “I’m Real,” “All I Have” and “Ain’t it Funny.”
She pounded some conga drums to introduce the propulsive party anthem, “Let’s Get Loud,” then rolled into the caffeinated dance anthem “Papi.” Much of her music is heavily beat driven, primal dance music, so lyrics are typically an afterthought — mostly couplets such as “Put your hands up in the air, dance for your man, if you care.” She ended with another of those high-octane disco bombs, “Dance Again,” a single off her just-released “Dance Again … The Hits” album, which set off the confetti cannons, further whipping up the celebratory mood.
Lopez is touring with Enrique Iglesias, who opened the show with a one-hour-plus set that was as dynamic as hers, even more so at times. He turned 36 in May, but Iglesias acts like a guy in his mid-20s who likes to have a good time, all the time. He brought two guys on stage for a chat that went on too long, plied them with a lot of his own brand of rum, then talked one in to helping him with his cover of “Stand By Me.” And despite the presence of children as young as 5 or so, he dropped more than a few F-bombs.”
For his signature anthem “Hero,” he encouraged people in the lower section to bust through security and fill the floor around the secondary stage at the back of the arena, which they did. Then he brought on stage a woman who said she was 21and then lasciviously serenaded her.
But he also ignited the place with jackhammer dance tunes such as “I Like How It Feels,” “Dirty Dancer” and “I Like It.” His set, too, was filled with lots of visual stimuli (lasers, a disco ball, virtual appearances by Usher and Lil Wayne). It all served the point of the entire evening, which was about escape and reaping the fleeting but visceral rewards of sheer entertainment.
| Timothy Finn, The Star