Concerts

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull - Hard Rock, Hollywood - October 25

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After Jump Smokers did their in-between set, Pitbull -- the artist simultaneously known as Mr. 305 and Mr. Worldwide -- took the stage in the same manner that Enrique did, through the floor, in a white smoking jacket, black slacks, and aviator glasses (that were glued with industrial epoxy to his face), but not before the crowd was treated to a biographical slide show of the man's early life as a Cuban-American hustler from the streets of Miami.

While the ominous sound of the Scarface theme played along, it was hard to take this seriously. But with Pitbull's appeal, in part stemming from the cult of personality that he has designed for himself, it was the right amount of tongue-in-cheek cheekiness needed to get this portion of the show running at a fast gallop. Flanked by a small army of dancers in skimpy Pretty Woman-inspired outfits, Pitbull made plenty of use of the runway at his disposal, and it was hard to miss on the jumbo screens the dripping sweat he'd generated over the course of the opening salvo of "Don't Stop the Party," "International Love," and "Shut It Down."

Pitbull might not have the same amount of years on the road or on the recorded plane as his coheadliner, but his 13-odd years on the music-eating consciousness has shown him strike gold on numerous occasions through collaborations with other artists like Akon, Chris Brown, Marc Anthony, Steve Aoki, Jennifer Lopez, and Elvis Crespo, among many others. With this in mind and amid running adverts for his fragrance and Voli Vodka (maybe Mikhail would've enjoyed a second round of libations), Pitbull's set made ample use of the screens and backtracking as many of his known collaborations as well as digitized versions of himself appearing in movies and music videos played along.

Given his constant black-tie look, it was with a double take that the Pitbulls shown on the screens during vignettes of Men in Black III and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What" were a surprise. This manner of interaction was also used for virtual duets on other tracks like "Get It Started" with Shakira. Crowd bangers "Bon, Bon" and the increasingly popular single off his upcoming Globalization LP, "Fireball," got roaring reactions.

You know you stop and point and say "fireball" whenever it comes to mind whether you know what it means or not, if it even means anything to begin with. Its surprisingly catchy hook is demonically impossible to expunge from one's mind. Am I the only one thinking about Pee-Wee's Big Adventure?

But because Pitbull, Mr. 305, Mr. Worldwide cannot possibly live under a rock regardless of his personality status, he's fully aware of how he appears to his detractors and in a full meta retort to the old saying "por más que el mono se vista de seda..." (No matter how much silk the monkey wears, a monkey he remains), Pitbull regaled the crowd with an anecdote of his homies questioning his predilections for the finer things in life. "Oye chico, why don't you make street music no more?" Pitbull reiterated the opening bio's admittance of an early, hustler's life and how he's broken the ghetto mentality that kept him at street level.

It's not an issue of ego whenever he mentions the "Mr. Worldwide" moniker at this point; it's almost like a subconscious reminder necessity. Oh well. After that, he proved that while he has shed layers of his past, he hasn't fully forgotten his roots with some riotous renditions of "Culo," "On the Floor," "Hotel Room," and "I Know You Want Me."



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Abel Folgar