Concerts

J Balvin Brings Latin Flavor To Smart Financial Centre

Latin superstar J Balvin lights up the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.
Latin superstar J Balvin lights up the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. photo by Marco Torres
J Balvin
Smart Financial Centre
October 4, 2018


Colombian musician J Balvin is considered one of the top entertainers on the planet, a new generation style of superstar who effortlessly blends rhythms, fashion, charisma, and something that he calls "Vibras". The heat emanating from the Smart Financial Centre stage last night was certainly high energy and colorful, full of lights and dancers and dinosaurs.

Yet there are many who absolutely have no idea who I'm talking about. As a recap, J Balvin is categorized primarily as a Reggaeton artist, but really is so much more. He is an icon of style, often wearing expensive designer clothing, vintage shades, and the most sought-after sneakers on the market.

His YouTube videos alone have been viewed more than two billon times. Balvin also makes tracks that fit in the Pop/Urban genre, and is a master of the Latin remix.


The roster of collaborations on his resume is extraordinary, with successful remixes with Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Major Lazer, and Pharrell Williams under his belt. And those are just the already established names. Balvin also keeps his ear to the street, often working with new artists such as Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and anyone else who will be ringing the top of the charts in the very near future.

click to enlarge The orange jumpsuit caught the attention of the crowd. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
The orange jumpsuit caught the attention of the crowd.
Photo by Marco Torres
It was a full house inside Smart Financial last night, and the crowd went wild when Balvin finally hit the stage in a orange jumpsuit. It is almost impossible to dislike this guy... He exudes cool and just seems like that one friend who is always the life of any party. Balvin doesn't jump around and go wild all across the floor, he glides from one side to the next, dropping a wide grin at each turn.

His set list is a litany of hits, songs that make you say "wow, I love this song!", drawing from almost ten years of successful tracks. He dropped "Ginza" early in the night, prompting most of the ladies to dance and sing in their seats, in the aisles, and even in the beer line inside the venue's lobby.

A solid stage production elevated the night from a simple concert to a really great "show". From the dancers to the revolving stage backdrops, the large video screens to the brilliant lights, you could definitely tell the effort and vision J Balvin placed on this tour, and the fans were treated to the best visuals and sounds in the business.


A highlight of the night was the interlude that included the boogaloo song "I Like It Like That" by Pete Rodriguez, which showcased Balvin's amazing back-up dancers. This led into the track "I Like It" that features Cardi B and Bad Bunny, who made an appearance as singing emojis on the large video board.

The night ended with an encore of "Safari" and "Mi Gente", two of J Balvin's biggest hits. The bar was set high on this night, and the future looks even brighter for Balvin and his "vibras".

click to enlarge The large projections were just part of the effort that J Balvin put into this tour. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
The large projections were just part of the effort that J Balvin put into this tour.
Photo by Marco Torres

Personal Bias: "Si necesita reggaeton, ¬°dale! Sigue bailando, mami, no pare!"

The Crowd: Puros Latinos who came out ready to party!

Overheard In The Crowd: "I'm taking my shoes off because my feet are killing me! At least my toes are cute though!"

Random Notebook Dump: Smart Financial Centre is definitely one of my favorite venues in the city. If only it wasn't so far away from Downtown!
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When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Houston Press contributor Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond.