Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Live Review: Shakira, SECC Glasgow, 19th December 2010

Shakira Shakira!!

The name of the tour may have been "The Sun Comes Out" but the irony wasn't lost on all of us in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, who had spent the best part of three weeks prior to the concert battling the snow and all the disruption which accompanied it. After a couple of days' wasn't the sun, but the snow which came out, just in time for Shakira's first ever Scottish show.

Since we became Shakira fans in 2002, faithful travelling companion and myself had waited....and waited...and waited for the superstar to come to Scotland, but we had to wait until 2010 and when the show was announced back in the summer, it was too good an opportunity to miss. We managed to get seating-area tickets on the first day of sale, although by teatime many of the seating blocks were sold out. Nevertheless it was just enough to be there.

All very well so far. Being there would be great.....but we didn't realise it would be so hard getting there as the snow began to fall again, causing further transport chaos. Happily, after some anxious delays, we made it to the SECC. The 'big red shed' isn't known for its subtlety or sound quality, but on the other hand it's the only concert venue of choice for any visiting worldwide superstar. There were more empty seats and empty spaces than we'd expected, but maybe that was down to people not managing to make the concert due to the weather.

We missed the support act, a girl band called Parade, but happily we made it in plenty of time. Just before 9.00, a small figure in what looked like a demure hooded pink dress, made an unconventional entrance from the right hand side, through the crowd. But don't be fooled - she took to the stage and tore off the dress, to reveal more traditional Shakira-esque attire of glittery top and gold spray-on leggings, launching into an energetic "Why Wait".

Right from the beginning it was very clear that she was here to entertain us, and in her little introduction she said "I'm here to please you" which got all the men in the audience a bit hot under the collar :) and as for us girls, well we just want to know a) how she keeps that figure and stays looking so fabulous, and b) how she can sing and do her double-jointed back-bending thing at the same time.

Unlike many other 'pop' acts today there's a lot more depth to Shakira and her music than the lazy tabloid press coverage would suggest. And it's very clear that she is at home in a live setting where her music takes on a more 'rock'-orientated format, her strong backing band providing the musical edge and her keyboardist taking on the vocal duetting roles of Wyclef Jean and Alejandro Sanz (although I would really have loved to see the divine Mr Sanz on stage of course!!) - yes, she did sing "La Tortura" - which I thought she'd omit from her set once she hit the British Isles....

...but did she heck! You know what completely thrilled us about this concert? The uncompromising set list. Shakira: welcome to Britain, the land where people don't like anything sung in a foreign language. But of course I'm not one of those people, and neither is faithful travelling companion, we both love music that's not in the English language so we loved every minute of it. I've read some posts on various forums which have criticised the amount of Spanish language songs in the set, but hello....she's from Colombia, Spanish is her native language and if she wants to sing in that language then she has a right to do so!

Unfortunately many people in the crowd didn't share our opinion, and whenever she launched into a lesser-known Spanish album track, it was particularly noticeable that at that point you'd see many in the standing area dispersing in the direction of the bar or the loo. That was their loss I guess, as they missed out on some highlights particularly "Ciega, Sordomuda" from her earlier recorded output, and a blistering "Ojos Asi".

There was a catwalk leading off the stage out into the centre of the hall and she certainly made good use of it - especially when she and some band members headed out there to perform the 'acoustic' section of the show which included her cover version of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters"

The big hits were also included - "Whenever Wherever" early on in the concert, mixed with a little of EMF's "Unbelievable"; "She Wolf", "Hips Don't Lie", and closing the concert, a euphoric "Waka Waka", her World Cup theme song which went down well and ended in a ticker-tape finale.

A fantastic evening, full of energy and enjoyment. Shakira is an exciting performer who is equally at home on stage as she is in a recording studio, a terrific and talented live artist who I still feel is underrated compared to many of her female counterparts out there.

It may have been a cold winter's night, but thanks to Shakira...the sun came out.


Dave said...

Yes! Finally! Someone else who appreciates the fact that she didn't drop the Spanish songs from her set!

I was standing at the barrier at the very front next to a group of girls who pushed and shoved their way there, only to spent the entirety of every Spanish song talking and looking at the pictures they had taken.

Shakira's native language and, I personally think, her best songs are Spanish.

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

Thanks Dave, nice to know there was someone else out there who wasn't just at the SECC to hear the big hits and couldn't care about the rest of the songs.

I couldn't believe that people would actually pay the price for a ticket and switch off like that, but I guess that's the modern gig-going experience for you, where filming it on your phone and taking pictures are more important than what's going on up on stage. It's total ignorance and an insult to a great artist.

Daniel said...

I too believe some of her best songs are in Spanish including the incredible "Ojos asi" of which I watched on that wintry night.

I prefer listening to her songs in her native language because it is a beautiful language. I must admit i did stand there and an video her on the big screen whenever she was on the catwalk but i respected her by watching her doing all of her dancing and singing with my own eyes.