Colombian flags were flying high inside the American Airlines Arena last night for night two of Shakira's three-night run of South Florida shows and her first of two consecutive nights at the AAA on her El Dorado World Tour. But only a few months ago, by her own admission, the Colombian singer-songwriter feared that her days of performing in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans might be behind her.
"The last few months were tough," she said after opening with "Estoy Aquí" and "Dónde Estás Corazón," from her breakthrough album, 1995's Pies Descalzos. "There were times when I thought all of this would be impossible. Pero los milagros existen."
Friday night's concert was originally scheduled for January 12, in support of Shakira's latest album, 2017's El Dorado. But the singer was forced to reschedule the tour just two weeks before it was set to begin after doctors discovered a hemorrhage on her right vocal cord. It's a serious injury that can lead to permanent vocal damage if it goes untreated or if the affected vocal cord continues to be strained. The same complication has felled projects by singers such as John Mayer and Adele.
There was hardly an indication that Shakira is still struggling with the injury, save for a momentary reliance on backing tracks early in the show. But that fact could also be chalked up to the sound quality at the American Airlines Arena, which, despite hosting most of Miami's biggest concerts, still struggles in that department after two decades in the business. One of two video interludes was barely audible due to muffled audio.
But like the AAA, Shakira also boasts more than 20 years of experience, and she's a seasoned pro at overcoming the technical hurdles that can often arise with massive touring productions. In a 22-song retrospective that touched on nearly all of her 11 studio albums, she traversed and transcended genre throughout the night, as she's been known to do throughout her long career.
U.S. audiences know Shakira as one of the artists thrust upon the American charts during the so-called Latin Explosion of the early-2000s, familiar for memorable phrases such as "My hips don't lie" and "Lucky that my breasts are small and humble/So you don't confuse them with mountains." She's channeled that recognition into other projects, such as her occasional stints as a coach on NBC's The Voice. But Latinx audiences have known her since the early days when she looked and sounded like the Colombian answer to Alanis Morissette, and songs from Shakira's late-'90s albums Pies Descalzos and Dónde Están los Ladrones? elicited the most fervent audience responses of the night.
But Shakira has also enjoyed a resurgent dominance on the charts over the past few years as Latin music has once again gained popularity across borders with the ubiquity of Latin trap and reggaeton. Recent hits in that vein — the Nicky Jam collaboration "Perro Fiel," the Maluma collab "Chantaje," and "La Bicicleta," her song with Colombian national treasure Carlos Vives — ensure that two decades into her career, Shakira is one of the few artists who can perform new songs without an audience's mass exodus to the bathroom or the bar.
Despite her frightening brush with a career-sidelining injury, Shakira is still taking risks onstage. For "Can't Remember to Forget You," her guitar-driven, 2014 Caribbean pop jam with Rihanna, she asked her drummer to try three beats before settling on a slowed-down reggae version of the track that wound up sounding better than the original. She closed out the song as a pounding rock jam after jumping behind the drums herself. With spotlights shining bright red during these heavier jam sessions, parts of the show borrowed more from Guns N' Roses and '80s arena rock than the popular reggaeton beats she could have easily rested upon — all of this after performing two belly-dance sets midway through the concert.
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Seven years after her last tour stop in Miami and seven months after she was originally scheduled to return to the city, Shakira is still a woman unafraid to try it all. Indeed, throughout her illustrious career, she already has.
- "Estoy Aquí"
- "Dónde Estás Corazón"
- "She Wolf"
- "Si Te Vas"
- "Perro Fiel"
- "Underneath Your Clothes"
- "Me Enamoré"
- "Whenever, Wherever"
- "La Tortura"
- "Can't Remember to Forget You"
- "Dare (La La La)"
- "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)"
- "La Bicicleta"
- "Hips Don't Lie"