Last Night: Maluma At Smart Financial Centre

Maluma Photo by Marco Torres
Smart Financial Centre
October 17, 2021

About halfway through his performance at Smart Financial Centre on Sunday night, Maluma posed a question to his fans: "¿Quién manda en casa?" ("Who's in charge at home?")

First, the men in attendance were asked to answer, but their response was halfhearted at best. That could have been because the crowd skewed female, but it also could have been a general sense of self-preservation.

Because when it was the ladies' turn to respond, they didn't hold back. Deafening screams filled the venue as the Colombian singer-songwriter allowed a sly grin, feigning disbelief and disappointment in his fellow males before returning to the music.

Throughout the evening, the Latin heartthrob playfully provoked fans, but the show — which was equal parts music and dance — wasn't lacking in genuine emotion either.

In support of his fifth studio album, which was released last August, Maluma finally visited Houston Sugar Land last night after his live act was sidelined for the better part of two years.
click to enlarge Papi Juancho - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Papi Juancho
Photo by Marco Torres
Last year's Papi Juancho has already been certified quadruple platinum in the US, but it's hard to make a living in the music business without touring. And the Colombian singer admitted as much to the near sold-out crowd, graciously thanking them for their continued support through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flanked by a live band, eight dancers and a couple of backup singers, Maluma rewarded fans' devotion with about 90 minutes of reggaeton, urban pop and salsa, including his latest hits — "Sobrio," "11 PM" and "Parce," to name a few — and a handful of remixes and reinterpretations for good measure.

With the global smash hit "Hawái" serving as both the opener and closer (for anyone who may have arrived late or was stuck in line buying drinks at the beginning of the show), the Medellin-born artist tore through plenty of fan-favorites from his last few records.

He even slowed things down for a heartfelt performance of "ADMV" before reaching into the depths of his catalog for a few older anthems, including the Ricky Martin collaboration "Vente Pa'Ca" and "Borro Cassette" from his breakthrough Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy.

From beginning to end, Maluma's concert on Sunday night was a celebration. A celebration of music, culture, style and perhaps most importantly the return of live music. For each of us, that celebration felt a little bit different, but regardless of who's in charge it sure felt good to be back inside of a packed venue.

11 PM
Que Chimba
Borro Cassette
Felices Los 4
Vente Pa' Ca
Cuatro Babys
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever