Marc Anthony at Toyota Center, 9/5/2013

Marc Anthony Toyota Center September 5, 2013

Some call it re-invention. Others label it a mid-life crisis. But whatever it is that Marc Anthony is going through, he's making it look damn good! With a new platinum album and hit single to his credit, and a new girlfriend on his arm, the 44-year-old New York City salsa singer (and actor) hit the stage on Thursday night with a fiercely emotional performance in front of an almost sold-out Toyota Center crowd.

Two numbers and a punctuation point. Simple and enigmatic at the same time. That's how the name of Marc's Anthony's new album strikes me. Its called simply 3.0. The lead single is named "Vivir Mi Vida," which translates as "live my life." Judging from his energy and attitude onstage, living life for Marc Anthony is splendid.

Dressed in a black tuxedo, sans cummerbund and tie, Anthony rose from the depths of the stage and onto the elevated, backlit platform flanked by his bandmates and kicked off the nightwith his energetic pop hit "I Need To Know." Already on their feet, fans began to dance and sing with joyous celebration, a trend that would continue throughout the night.

"Y Hubo Alguien" was the first salsa track he offered, taking us back to his signature sound, one as vibrant and flashy as his native Big Apple. His determination to provide his audience with his best was evident each time he touched the mike, his facial expressions and dance moves overflowing with passion and flair.

New York magazine once called Anthony "a culture hero on the level of Jay-Z," which may explain why I like the guy so much. Both men are New Yorkers at the top of their respective worlds, adored and respected, successful and caring. Both have been in the music business creating magic for more than 20 years, "still spending money from '88," the year Anthony's first album was released. He can certainly be considered as the leading Latino male vocalist of his generation.

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"Quieren salsa?!", he asked the crowd, which replied with a positive roar. Many times, Anthony just stood there, silent, gazing over his adoring fans. The longer he stood, the longer they shouted. "Wow! You are incredible, Houston," he said. "Thank you! I'm really having a moment over here!"

He allowed the crowd to sing La India's part of the popular duet "Vivir Lo Nuestro," then transitioned into "Que Precio Tiene El Cielo." The show was mostly a salsa show, with very little in the way of his pop hits present, and that was just fine with the audience.

"It all started with this song" he told the crowd as the first notes of "Hasta Que Te Conoci" rang out. This cover of this composer/singer Juan Gabriel's song is perhaps the embodiment of Anthony's style, melding salsa, ballad, and pop into the fresh, danceable sound he's known for.

Of course, the night would not be complete without two things: a tribute to Puerto Rican salsa icon Hector LaVoe, and the chart-topping single from his new album. "Mi Gente" is an ode to the Latin American people, a petition for everyone to sing out loud. "Vivir Mi Vida" ended the night, serving both as an affirmation that Anthony has found happiness, and asking his fans to do the same.

Judging from the last night's response, Houston is already there.

Personal Bias: Having the same name (Marco Antonio) as this guy is the closest I'm ever gonna get to sleeping with Jennifer Lopez. I'll allow it. In reality, I've been a fan for a very long time, and thought he portrayal of Hector LaVoe in the 2006 film El Cantante deserved better recognition.

The Crowd: A parade of Latina Miss Universe contestants, and their well-dressed dudes.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Its like he's singing only to me! You see! He's looking right at me!" -- my baby sister, who accompanied me on this assignment

Random Notebook Dump: Thirteen years ago at the reception of my little sister's quinceañera, I played the song "You Sang To Me" by Marc Anthony on my alto sax. Good Lord, that was a long time ago! Good times, good times!



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