MARTIN'S TOUR GETS OFF TO A ROUSIN START
Miami, FL - Miami Arena
MIAMI -- Ricky Martin's first-ever North American tour got off to a slick, rousing start
last night at Miami Arena as close to 12'000 fans fell under the hypnotic spell of the energetic, hip-shaking Latin pop singer.
Showing off his wild, African ballet-like dance moves and well-honed performing chops -- let's not forget
he was a Menudo member, a soap opera actor, a Broadway musical performer and a major Spanish-language pop start before releasing
his 12-million selling English-language debut this year -- Martin only faltered during his 1.5 -hour show when he backed down
on his infectious Latin beats in favour of schmaltzy ballads.
Otherwise, it was equal parts Vegas and Broadway for the 27-year-old Puerto Rican native, who made his grand
initial entrance to the zesty strains of his North American breakthrough hit, Livin La Vida Loca, on the top of a
vintage Mustang convertible that rose out of the centre of his elaborate stage.
In fact, for that first song all you saw was Martin in a see-through black top and black leather pants --
which appeared to be fine with his ecstatic fans of all ages (andyes, there were men there) -- joined by his eight, eye-catching
His excellent 12-piece band -- percussionist Danny Lopez should be singled out -- weren't revealed until the
next number, Love You For A Day.
Meanwhile, Miami -- he has botha home and restuartant in this Art Deco-happy city -- and the coming millennium
influenced his futuristic, silver steel-and-chrome stage, with plenty of flashing neon pink and blue lights, a couple of fireman's
poles and two conveyer belts.
There was also a major video component, including a striking, three panel video backdrop -- which at one point
saw some of his dancers, supported by pulleys, walking on it at right angles.
And just in case you didn't get enough of the real thing, there were many different videos of Martin throughout
the show -- getting up in the morning, being chased by the paparazzi and dancing in a bar.
However, the loudest screams cam whenever Martin merely stood with back to the audience and wiggled his behind.
Who knew there could be so much power in one bottom?
He's part Tom Jones (a bra-throwing concertgoer was rewarded with a kidd), part Elvis (hip-wiggling), and
part Desi Arnaz (he played the bongos) and it's guite a combo.
As for his song selection, there are a lot of Martin fans out there who should go and pick up some of his
Spanish-language albums, most specifically, the multi-platinum Vuelve, given the number of dynamic Spanish songs included
in his set list which shone brighter than many of the English-language numbers.
Among them were the heartfelt Vuelve, which saw the first real singalong of the night, the uptempo
Lola Lola Ay, La Bomba, and Maria.
Sounding good on the English side was the sexy and seductive Spanish Eyes and Shake Your Bon
Bon, the next-single, and, of course, his show-stopping Grammy number The Cup Of Life.
Too bad about the draggy ballads: Private Emotion, I Am Made of You -- this one saw Martin rise above
the crowd on a silver, circular platform -- and (Bella) She's All I Ever Had, which he sang seated barefoot on a
couch that matched his clothes.
Martin has a second show in Miami, tonight before heading out on the road for the first leg of his North American
tour, which wraps up in Cleveland on Dec. 6.
A Toronto date is expected sometime in spring, either at the Air Canada Centre or SkyDome.
RICKY MARTIN HEATS UP AUBURN HILLS
Auburn Hills, MI - Palace Of Auburn Hills
AUBURN HILLS -- It's a testament to Ricky Martin's appeal that a woman stood under a spotlight
at the rear of The Palace Of Auburn Hills arena relaying his lyrics via American Sign Language to a section for the hearing
impaired. Not only is the Puerto Rican pop start something to look at, but he's a performer of the first order.
Throughout his hour-and-40 minute concert, in the seventh city of his Livin' La Vida Loca Tour, he made us
go insane. He rose up poles, sang from suspended platforms, taught dance moves, slid on a conveyor belt and shook his bon-bon.
Following introductory video footage of Martin being hounded by paparazzi and escaping in a convertible, the
27-year-old made his grand entrance with Livin' La Vida Loca standing atop a car which popped up from a hidden contraption
beneath the stage. He was joined by coupled Latin dancers, the women with legs as long as the life of his first English-language
album, Ricky Martin which has sold over 12-million copies to date.
For Love You For A Day Martin's fully-equpped band -- drums, percussion, guitars, horn section, keyboards
-- were all separated on a two-tiered set up. At the end of the song, Martin, arms out-stretched, soaked up the applause and
screams, eventually tapping the cordless microphone rhythmically on his chest. "That's my heartbeat ladies and gentleman,"
Martin, decked out exclusively in Giorgio Armani, is a man of great beauty, style and class, immediately creating
an intimacy with the audience by the announcement that the set would be filled with ''emotional ups and downs,'' dancing and
romanticism, and that we all had to leave our egos at the door and do whatever we wanted without fear of embarrassment.
Flags of the symbols of the symbols music, peace, life and spirit were lifted for Vuelve the title-track
from his last Spanish-language album, a love song he described ''about wanting to let go but not being able to because you
made the wrong decision," for which he sat flanked by two acoustic guitarists. Other numbers featured more brazen feats, like
ascending to the top of the lighting rig by hanging on to a pole and coming back down on a platform.
To lead into I Am Made Of You Martin, who has been a star since his teen years in Latin pop group
Menudo, said, "I read about those legends who are not with us anymore because they couldn't deal with it (the craziness and
addiction of the road). The only way, after 15 years, I've been able to deal with this is with God."
But from the spiritual rocker, he launched into the pure, sexy, Latin party appeal of the new single, Shake
Your Bon-Bon,'' probably one of the weakest tracks on his eponymous album. A series of what he called "Latin sounds"
followed, before he returned to the reason he had asked us all to check our egos back at the start of the show. Martin divided
the crowd in two, commanding us to follow his simple dance steps: hands waving up, down, in a prayer position, then rubbing
our tummy. All obliged.
Streamers and glitter fell as he ended the show with Maria and another dance lesson, this time in
hip-gyrating. As he disappeared up the pole, the band played on for another five minutes, the crowd still mad with Latin vibes,
the dance troupe sharing in the magic.
For the encore, Martin appeared again from beneath the stage, sitting on a modern couch for the beautiful
ballad She's All I've Ever Had. The obligatory The Cup Of Life followed with acrobats in harnesses somersaulting
and swinging in front of fast-paced video footage. Thanking his band and dancers, and, of course, the Detroit audience, he
disappeared without any theatrics, a sheer curtain closing behind him, as his backing vocalisys sang, "Go, go, go! Ale! Ale!
A consummate showman, Martin somehow managed to pull off a concert that was both over-the-top yet down-to-earth.
MARTIN SHOW A RAZZLE-DAZZLE THRILLER
Calgary, Alberta - Canadian Airlines Saddledome
CALGARY - Ricky Martin has more than a little Puerto Rico in him.
He also has some Las Vegas, some broadway, some chippendales.
How else can one explain the spectacle that 16'000 people witnessed last night at the sold-out Canadian Airlines
Saddledome? It was a pop music extravaganza that went to seemingly impossible lengths to entertain, led by a 28-year-old icon-du-jour
for whom the expression ''over the top'' does not exist.
In his pursuit of global domination -- which started last May with the release of his first English-language
album, 12 million units sold and counting -- the Latin heart-throb with the four-way hips stops at nothing to dazzle and delight.
He wants you to shake you bon-bon. He also wants your eyes to pop out. And if that requires a little garishness, so be it.
Luckily, his stint in the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera taught him how to rise above the razzle-dazzle.
And he certainly made a grand entrance last night.
The show started with video footage of Ricky waking up in the morning (interestingly, no one was in bed with
him), splashing water in his face, jumping into his Ford Mustung convertible and racing through some big-city streets.
Suddenly, a flesh-and-blood Ricky emerged standing on the hood of a Mustang, which rose on a hydraulic lift
built into the stage, and launched into his No.1 hit, Livin' La Vida Loca. The audience's screams were deafening.
Soon, a female dancer crawled out of the trunk -- what was she doing in there? -- and proceeded to shake her
bon-bon, as well as her tom-toms, along with eight other dancers.
What an opening!
By the second song, Love You For A Day, huge video screens behind the stage tracked Martin's every
move, while his band was literally wheeled out on a revolving platform.
When Martin (wearing form-fitting black leather pants and a see-through black top) sang ''let me take you
home" to those jalapeno-hot Latin rhythms, methinks there would have been a few thousand takers.
"Leave your ego at the door....No one is going to judge you tonight,'' Martin said.
After the high-energy entrance, Martin eased up a bit with Bon Bon de Azucar, a brassy mid-tempo
number not unlike prime-period Chicago, and his power ballad Vuelve, the title track of his last Spanish-language
Spanish Eyes again upped the tempo and Martin was once again wiggling his lithe figure all around
the stage, demonstrating the full extent of his showmanship, sex appeal and charisma.
Say what you will about Martin -- he's a hard-working yet exceedingly watchable performer.
And when his music drew upon the rhythms and arrangements of Latin America, the show bubbled over with a genuine
joie de vivre.
Songs such as Marcia Baila, La Bomba and Por Arriba, Por Abajo captured his band in fiery
form and Martin in his element.
They proved to be the concert's showstoppers.
At the other end of the spectrum, the treacly, middle-of-the-road duet Private Emotion was just too
generic to showcase Martin's talent, although the singer -- standing on a ledge high above the stage, only to descend mid-song
on a motorized firehall pole -- did his best to sell every cloying sentiment.
Ditto for I Am Made Of You described by Martin as his offering to the Almighty.
It sounded like a Bon Jovi leftover, probably because it was written by You Give Love A Bad Name tunesmith
The song ended with a ringing guitar solo as Martin -- standing at centrestage, his arms spread wide, his
head pointed to the heavens -- slowly descended into the stage.
After making peace with ''his God,'' Martin re-emerged to implore the crowd to shake their bon-bons.
Plenty of torso closeups were shown on the screen and there was gratuitous gyrating all around.
Good fun, essentially.
And that was almost it, aside from She's All I Ever Had and The Cup of Life.
This spectacle should quiet all those people disgruntled about ticket prices that approached triple digits.
Evidently, Martin has invested a good chunk of those ticket dollars right back into his production.
It's money well spent.
That said, Martin has those rare qualities -- talent, charisma, sex appeal -- that no amount of money can
SAY WHAT YOU WANT - RICKY IS THE REAL DEAL
Edmonton, Alberta - Skyreach Centre
EDMONTON - While we're all making fun of Ricky Martin - for all the hype, that stupid Shake
Your Bon-Bon song, his pretty-boy appearance - it's easy to overlook one simple fact.
The man is a terrific entertainer.
The 28-year-old Latin superstar proved it beyond a doubt in the Skyreach Centre last night.
Backed by the best production money can buy and a fine ensemble of musicians and dancers, Martin brought all
his experience and talent to the stage - Menudo, musical theatre, his Puerto Rican heritage and, not the least of his assets,
his looks. A crowd of 13'700 made up largely of women, was thrilled with a show that bristled with charisma, energy and as
many costume changes as a Cher concert. Think Chippendales in Vegas set to a Latin beat.
Most of the show was unashamedly over the top.
After short opening film, the leather-panted singer emerged atop a battered Mustang convertible to sing
Livin' La Vida Loca. It was glitzy start to what was promised to be a two-hour song and dance spectacle easily worth
the $100 ticket price. Other special effects included spinning bandstands, motorized fire-poles, glowing pillars and a flying
saucer-like contraption that lifted Ricky heavenward for the finale to I Am Made Of You.
He preceded the song with a speech about God: "Everytime I sing that song I have the opportunity to put my
heart and soul in connection."
After the relatively sobering moment, it was time to Shake Your Bon Bon. Up in the rafters, Ricky
donned his second pair of leather pants and came back down in a go-go-dancer cage. And, yes, he did shake his "bon-bon" many
times. I will never type those words again!
Behind the world's most expensive Ladies Night was some music surprising substance. Martin's been carved for
presenting a watered-down and commercialized form of Latin music, but you wouldn't know it from stylish highlights like Spanish
Eyes or Marcia Baila. They sure sounded authentic, bombast or not. Aside from a few campy moments - the little
romantic drama in Private Emotion was laughable - Martin came across as a genuine, likable performer who knows how
to push the right buttons of his most loyal fans. Eat your heart out, Julio.
Winnipeg, MB - Winnipeg Arena
WINNIPEG - Everything about Ricky Martin is big time.
He's got a big band and they put on a big show with enough lights to compete for attention on the Las Vegas
It's enough to make you think the suave Puerto Rican entertainer is trying to make up for the fact he's only
had three hits in the English-speaking world.
But all the numbers add up for Martin.
Ricky takes all the disparate elements of his celebrity -- exotic Latin roots, pop-star good looks, sultry
dance moves and years of experience as a performer -- and blends them into a sinuous whole that's alittle bit Latin, a little
bit rock 'n' roll and a whole lot of fun.
And it seemed that fun was what most of the 12'500 souls at the Winnipeg Arena were having last night.
From the moment those swivelling hips hit stage, bumping and grinding on top of a silver Mustang as he sang
his breakthrough hit Livin' La Vida Loca, there was nary a quiet throat in the house.
And why not?
Loca was such a staggering production number, replete with moving catwalks, swirling go-go dancers and that
Mustang on a turntable that it was hard not to be amazed -- or at least dazzled -- by its power and energy. And when Martin
sang "woke up in Manitoba" as part of the tune, the song was briefly drowned out by the roar of the Arena crowd.
When "the crazy life" ws over, just about everyone was ready for a breather, but not Ricky. He hurtled straight
into Love You For A Day before stopping to be adored in the spotlights which bathed him constantly.
"I'm here to give you some of my soul on stage tonight," he said.
"I hope you give us some of yours."
A roar of approval, of course, was the only proper response and with that ringing in his ears, Ricky was off
again, jiving those famous hips through Bon Bon de Azucar, then slowing down briefly for a sit-down rendition of
Vuelve, the hit single from his last Spanish album.
Spanish Eyes brought the first of the night's five costume changes for the star, as he exchanged
a knit see-through black shirt for a tight-cropped white number.
For a while, actually, it look as though Martin's costume changes would be the highlight of the mid-portion
of his show.
Slower, mid-tempo material such as Marcia Baila and Private Emotion, a rather insipid duet,
seemed to lose the crowd for a moment, but with two of his hits to come and a band as taut and fluid as his, it was only a
matter of time before Ricky hit high gear again.
That was indeed the case as Shake Your Bon Bon, his current hit, brought the crowd to its feet --
as much for his lithe male and female dancers as for him, admittedly.
But it was Ricky himself who had the rafters literally shaking at Maroons Road when he led the crowd through
a call-and-response dance number which featured 24'000 arms waving simultaneously while Martin and his band pounded out of
tremendously percussive salsa beat.
As confetti fell on the revelling concert-goers, Martin bade Winnipeg a heartfelt farewell as his band carried
on with Maria, his main-set finale. But he wasn't done yet, returning to jam on timpanis with one of his drummers (yes, he
has two) before dropping the house lights to rest his stage for the encore.
And what an encore.
Martin's spaceship-style set lit up to reveal the singer lounging barefoot on a couch that rose from midstage,
where he sang his ballad She's All I Ever Had before launching into La Copa de la Vida (The Cup of Life).
This last was the song which launched Rickymania on the 1999 Grammy show.
It continued the phenomenon last night at the Arena.
Continued it big time.
LATIN EYE-CANDY EXTRAVAGANZA
RICKY MARTIN SHAKES SKYDOME
Toronto, ON - Toronto SkyDome
TORONTO -- He shook his bon bon alright. And then some.
In fact, if that was all Ricky Martin did last night as he performed before a sold-out crowd of 25'000 at
SkyDome, the besotted audience probably wouldn't have minded one bit.
Instead, the Latin pop sensation went over the top, in terms of his well-oiled, fast-paced and loud Livin'
La Vida Loca show.
The concert was one big choreographed, multi-media production number that incorporated the best lighting and
sound money can buy, two large video screens and a three-sided video backdrop, several costume changes, rising and falling
platforms, and two conveyer belts which moved the singer, his eight scantily clad dancers and 12-piece band around an impressive
silver and chrome stage.
Let's put it this way: Martin, who began his career as a member of Menudo and was also a soap opera actor
and Broadway musical performer, certainly isn't one to do anything in a small way.
After launching his 90-minute extravaganza in Miami back in October, the 28-year-old Puerto Rican singer's
live performance seems to have grown even bigger in scope.
Personally, I preferred his wild dance moves over his heartfelt stage banter, which -- at times -- threatened
to destroy last night's exuberant and energetic mood.
"I am going to leave my soul on stage tonight and I hope you do the same," said Martin whose intimate confession
seemed a little strange after he kicked off the show shaking his hips in a pair of snug black leather pants atop a gleaming
vintage Mustang convertible that rose out of the centre of his stage to the strains of Livin' La Vida Loca.
Forget about Martin's soul, the audience cheered everytime he turned his back to them and shook his bottom.
In some ways, it's a wonder the English-speaking world hadn't really heard of him before his 1999 breakthrough
performance at the Grammys and his subsequent 15-times-platinum selling, self-titled, English language debut. The record has
sold 1.2 million copies in Canada.
The only other time Martin's charm wore thin last night was when he moved away from his fun and infectious
up-tempo "Latin sound" numbers, like Spanish Eyes, Lola Lola, Marcia Baila, Shake Your Bon Bon, La Bomba, Por Arriba Por
Abajo, Maria and The Cup Of Life, and performed schmaltzy ballads like Private Emotion, I Am Made Of You,
and She's All I Ever Had.
On I Am Made Of You, Martin rose inexplicably above the audience on a silver, circular platform while
during She's All I Ever Had, he sang on a couch barefoot and dressed in loose clothes.
Martin plays a second show tonight at SkyDome, for which tickets are still available, before heading to Ottawa
for a concert Tuesday. Meanwhile, those not willing to shell out the bucks to see Martin up close and personal -- tickets
are $69.50 and $25.50 -- can see him next Sunday (March 26) when he's interviewed on Barbara Walters pre-Oscars TV special.
RICKY HAS THEIR NUMBER
MARTIN WOWS COREL CENTRE
Ottawa, ON - Corel Centre
OTTAWA - Yes, there is life after Livin' La Vida Loca for Ricky Martin.
The Latin pop sensation proved last night at the Corel Centre that he is not just about sheer sex appeal,
nor just about record sales based solely on one enormous English-language hit.
Martin is about entertaining an adoring public with a first-class and style-to-the-fore production, mixing
a little Las Vegas, a little Hollywood and a whole lot of, er, bon-bon shaking. And that's exactly what roughly 13'000
gushing fans came to see, screaming with child-like glee whenever said bono bon thrusted to and fro.
Martin must love a big production. How else do you explain the seemingly over-the-top stage set of bright
lights, video screens beaming with dazzling images of fire, water and human lifeforms galore, trapeze artistry, hydraulic
platforms and a pair of conveyor belts which moved the leather-panted 28-year-old, eight scantily clad dancers and 12-piece
band around a silver and chrome stage?
Last night's fast-paced, 90-minute set began with a videotaped clip of Martin waking up, washing his face,
racing out to his car, zooming through city streets like a Hollywood fugitive being chased before the comes to a crashing
halt. Suddenly, Martin appears perched atop that vintage '60s-something Mustang as it rose to the stage surface, launching
into his most well-known hit Livin' La Vida Loca.
It was a daring move for young Martin. Considering the crowd rose to the occasion with plenty of dancing and
screaming (especially when Martin crooned in the second verse "Woke up, here in OTTAWA..."), what followed could have been
the kiss of death for most performers.
But Martin went that extra step where othrs of his ilk would have faltered. He came well-equipped with a decent
batch of songs varied enough to appeal to more than your average Latin lovers.
There was the brassy Earth, Wind, and Fire-like groove to Bon Bon de Azucar. There was the sensual
balladry of Vuelve, I Am Made of You, and She's All I Ever Had (featuring a barefoot Martin seated comfortably
-- albeit alone -- on a white love seat).
There was the call-and-answer party-hearty salsa of Por Arriba, Por Abajo and Maria (complete
with exploding streamers to go with the "uno, doz, trez" chrous and crowd-cam shots of the audience).
What more do you want?
Oh yeah, and plenty of bon bon shaking during show-closer The Cup Of Life and, what else Shake
Your Bon Bon.
Add to that Martin's percussive strengths (though his drummers and brass section literally stole the show),
and you get a set with plenty of oomph to go along with the pizzazz.
Sure, many might have overlooked that bit of blatant, unnecessary pre-show commercialism (don't be surprised
if you start noticing plugs for Pepsi Ricky-ola, Eau de Martin Cologne or Air Ricky flying to, say, Martinique).
However, Martin also left one strong message: "There's no joking around. Our mission is to unite the Americas.
Be in touch with your heart and soul. Are you ready for that?"
Judging by the decibel-breaking screams -- including the gals who demaded to the Latin wunderkind, "Take your
shirt off! -- I sense any arguing over the subject of what Martin achieved last night is moot.
If you missed his show last night, fret not. You can gush over Ricky as he speaks one-on-one with Barbara
Walters on a pre-Oscars special.