Last Night: Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias at Toyota Center
photos by Marco Torres
Check out more pics of Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias in our slideshow.
Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias Toyota Center Houston August 26th, 2012
"I'm just a simple girl from The Bronx, don't let the sparkly pants fool you"
Jennifer Lopez has played many roles. She has been a Fly Girl, Selena, Karen Sisco, a wedding planner, a maid, a television producer and a host. She has her own clothing and perfume line. She's been married and divorced thrice -- her D-I-V-O-R-C-E to Marc Anthony is pending -- and is the mother of twins. Her smile, laugh, beauty and booty are recognized worldwide. Not bad for Jenny From The Block.
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The 43-year-old Nuyorican displayed her most famous talents (the vocal, dancing, and posterior variety) last night at Toyota Center, co-headlining the show with Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias. JLo ascended on a platform at center stage dressed in a bedazzled, nude-colored bodysuit, tone and fit, dancing hard from the first note.
The best moments of the night involved a nervous but excitable 21-year-old gentleman named Robin, whom Enrique plucked from the front row, and a very pregnant woman that he serenaded on the B-Stage at the back of the house. I would venture to say that most of the crowd came to see him perform, and stayed for JLo.
She greeted the crowd with "Hello, Lovers!" inciting a roar from the crowd. Her energy was brilliant as she shuffled across the stage with elegance and determination, exuding a natural confidence and charisma that we have come to expect from her, but that is often missing in the modern day musical landscape.
She started with the funky "Get Right", dancing with a cane, her backup dancers trying their best to keep up. She followed with "Love Don't Cost A Thing", a theme she would hit upon several times throughout the night. The overall mood was very glam and very diva, but not snobbish. The rapport she establishes with her audience is a very caring and approachable one, never forced or scripted.
Her opening set closed with "Waiting For Tonight", one of her early hits from her debut album On The 6, whose name pays homage to the train she would take from The Bronx to Manhattan for dance and acting auditions.
"Y'all get ready to have a good time here in Texas" she commands, not asks.
A boxing ring was then erected near the center of the floor, pitting a fighter named "Lopez" against another heavyweight. The fighter gets beat up pretty bad, but doesn't give up and eventually wins out. The video screen shows JLo falling onstage at the American Music Awards, establishing the set as a metaphor of her resilience. The track "Goin In" featuring the rapper Flo Rida, followed the boxing match, with Jennifer dancing around in a gold hoodie, MC Hammer pants and Yankees ball cap.
She took it back old school with "I'm Real", "Ain't It Funny", and "All I Have", songs that she collaborated with rappers Ja Rule and LL Cool J. Her vocals seemed a bit low at this point, but this was probably due to her being out of breath from dancing rather than technical difficulties.
And then, Casper Smart appeared, both on screen and in person, sitting at a table in the soundboard area. The dancer is JLo's current love interest, a very young, very muscular boy toy that seems to have won Lopez's heart. She dedicated the song "Baby I Love U" to him, dancing with him in the video. Fans called for his attention, and he waved back and smiled.
"Enough of that lovey-dovey stuff!" she shouted. After banging on a single conga, the Latin dance portion of the night began, with "Let's Get Loud" serving as the anthem. She wore a fire red dress, dancing to salsa and merengue beats in a very Vegas/Cabaret/Moulin Rouge style. It was a spectacle of energetic jumping and ass-shaking glory. "I know we're having a good time, I don't even have to ask anymore!" she snapped.
She did eventually settled down to catch her breath. She told the crowd that being in Texas brought back many great memories, special memories because of one person: Selena Quintanilla.
Lopez continued with praise for Selena, saying: "Texas is very special to me because it was very special for her. She taught me so much about how to handle the spotlight with grace and love. She taught me that a smile says so much more than a thousand words".
Lopez paid tribute by singing the mariachi song "No Me Queda Mas", a heartfelt tear-jerker that Selena famously made into a classic. As a longtime Selena fan, and especially after interviewing Chris Perez earlier this year, I found this portion of the show especially moving and emotional.
I scanned the crowd, and saw people singing along, shivering from goose bumps, and even crying. A stage manager told me that this tribute was only happening here in Houston, so count yourself very lucky if you were there.
Never mind a Selena hologram, I'll settle for a JLo-gram.
Personal Bias: I've been a fan of JLo & her booty since her In Living Color days.
The Crowd: About an 80/20 female to male ratio. Packed house, almost sold out. There were still tickets available at showtime.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Every diva needs a hair fan".
Random Notebook Dump:Houstonians get extremely creative with their fan signs. Oh, and security guards must HATE Enrique Iglesias and his shenanigans.
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