Juan Luis Guerra raises the bilirubin as he passes through Madrid in a great party of bachata, salsa and merengue

He reviews the greatest successes of his career and celebrates with the public the triumph of the Spanish football team

Dominican Juan Luis Guerra has thrilled a packed WiZink Center in Madrid with a concert that brought together past and present through a show that has been revving up during its two hours, and an audience totally devoted to his lyrics, who could not conceive of not dancing or singing each of the songs.

With all tickets sold out, Madrid was the second stop on his tour of Spain, where he first stopped in Malaga. Valencia and A Coruña complete the Spanish section of his European tour ‘Entre Mar y Palmeras’, titled like his latest album.

The artist has a special connection with Spain, which he has visited on countless occasions and where he won over the public and topped the charts back in the 80s and 90s, a fame that has been perpetuated over time and remains intact four decades later.

At 67, the Dominican – dressed in his unmistakable cap, scarf and jacket – and his band are still in top form, starting the concert at 9:30 p.m., after the performance of MarteOvenuS and while the audience chanted Spain’s comeback against France in the semi-finals of the European Championship.

“Good night Madrid! Thank you for the love always and enjoy yourself among the sea and palm trees,” said the singer in the first bars of the night, when, as happened in Malaga, ‘Rosalía’ was the song chosen to kick off this concert, which is part of a tour that began in 2023 and which has already passed through countries such as Puerto Rico, Peru, Colombia and Chile this year, without forgetting European destinations such as the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin or Paris.

On a stage full of light and colour, with two screens on both sides that recorded everything that happened between a dozen musicians – accompanied by a cameraman who was one more – and constant winks to the public, who were also focused on, the songs have been happening in the middle of a festive atmosphere in which the songs were interspersed with a visual background that emulated music videos, where palm trees and bright colours were frequent.

The singer-songwriter was accompanied by his inseparable band of musicians, the 4.40 who are not just a group as they are colloquially named after the sound that produces a vibration at 440 Hz at 20 C. This movement revolutionised Latin music more than 30 years ago with the meeting of Maridalia Hernández, Mariela Mercado, Roger Zayas-Bazán and Juan Luis Guerra himself. The first three also had their role in this concert, performing a couple of songs that were also sung by the audience.

The concert began with songs such as ‘Como tú no hay ninguna’, ‘La llave de mi corazón’, ‘Vale la pena’, ‘Dj Bachata’ or ‘Noviecita’, which gave way to a medley of salsas, merengues and bachatas, which could not be missing ‘El Niágara en Bicicleta’, ‘Para ti’, ‘Frío Frío’, ‘Estrellitas y duendes’ or ‘Burbujas de amor’ (a huge hit in Europe and Latin America in 1990), among others.

And one of the highlights of the night was the review of the vast catalogue of hits by this musician, singer-songwriter, producer and one of the most recognized and awarded Dominican artists around the world, which have led him to become an international reference, with more than 30 million records sold and numerous awards, including 29 Latin Grammys (he is the artist who has won these awards the most times).

It was albums like ‘Bachata Rosa’, ‘Ojalá Que Llueva Café’ and ‘La Llave De Mi Corazón’ that completely changed the Latin music scene, bringing genres like merengue and bachata, totally renewed, around the world, without forgetting others like salsa.

TRIUMPH OF THE SPANISH NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM

After changing his jacket for a vest, ‘Buscando visa para un sueño’, ‘Mambo 23’ and ‘El costo de la vida’ gave way to another moment of the night, Spain’s qualification for the Eurocup final, chanted among the ‘oe oe oe oe’ of the public, whose joy was joined by Juan Luis and the whole band when they unfurled a Spanish flag on the stage, after beating the French team by two goals to one.

But tonight the frenzy was endless and the Dominican has driven the audience crazy by stringing together ‘Ojalá que llueva café en el campo’, ‘Farolito’ and ‘Voy a pedir su mano’, amidst a shower of coloured confetti.

The concert was coming to an end but the crowd was asking for more and the singer and his band knew it. Wearing a denim jacket with the words ‘Bachata rosa’ written on it, with a scarf of the same colour around his neck, the Dominican thanked and greeted all his compatriots, as well as Spaniards, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Mexicans, Argentines and Cubans, before singing ‘Bachata rosa’.

There was only one last wish left to fulfil and when the audience sang along to ‘La bilirrubina’, the chords of another of their greatest hits rang out, which could not be missed tonight either. Families, couples and friends, both older and younger, sang and danced to the last song of a concert in which, upon leaving the venue, the shouts of ‘Campeones, Campeones’ could still be heard. There is no doubt that this will be a night that everyone will remember.

By Editor

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