At this stage in his life, nearly 30 years after making history with his hit “Corazón Partío” and following decades of arena touring, Alejandro Sanz could invest pretty much anything on his shows.
He has, and it’s all gone into the music. At a time when Latin shows have leaned into special effects, dancers and staging, Sanz put together a musical tour de force with more than 10 musicians, plus back-up singers on stage, all moving freely about in service of the music — including several instrumental interludes that sounded like A-plus jam sessions, traversing from flamenco-tinged pop to funk.
Which is not to say that the production Saturday night (Sept. 23) at Miami’s Kaseya Center was anything to scoff at. The video packages were stunning, and the stage risers allowed Sanz to operate from multiple locations.
But his biggest prop was his band, which Sanz used freely to navigate around the stage and set up moments: performing alongside his (upright) bassist, playing his guitar and singing fully acoustic with guest Beatriz Luengo, and perching cross-legged atop a set of stairs for one track, then standing beside the piano for another.
For Sanz’s avid fans, it was more than enough. The show, part of his En Vivo Tour presented in the U.S. by Loud and Live, was his highest-grossing ever in Miami, selling more than 12,000 tickets, according to management, for a complete sell-out.
Sanz plays next in Chicago on Sept. 27 and in New York on Sept. 30. Here are five standout moments from the show.
Sanz is an artist with many artist friends, and many were there to either perform with him or cheer him on. “Miami is like our home,” said Sanz, and it felt like it. Performing guest artists included locals Camilo (beautifully performing their joint hit “Nasa”); Elena Rose (who guested on “Paraíso Express,” originally recorded with Alicia Keys in 2009, and who belted those vocals); Yotuel on “Labana,” Sanz’s homage to Havana; and last but not least, Yotuel’s wife Beatriz Luengo in an all-acoustic rendition of “Viviendo Deprisa.” Then there were the plentiful celebrity guests that were not on stage, including El George Harris, Camila Cabello and, up in a suite far from cameras, Sanz’s good friend Shakira.
It’s so refreshing to see a big band on stage these days. Sanz’s was plentiful and included two grand pianos, one in each corner of the stage, drums, percussion, bass, guitars, trumpet and three phenomenal backup singers. All told, over 10 musicians regaled us not only with top accompaniment for Sanz that at times resembled an intoxicating wall of sound, but also with dazzling, virtuoso interludes.
Sanz went ’80s and ’90s on the crowd with a pink suit, sunglasses and his spiky, white-blonde hairdo. It was classic, and he looked like a boss.
It’s hard to encompass everything Sanz has to offer, but he managed to get through many of the big hits in the first quarter of the show before navigating into lesser-known gems like “Contigo,” “one of those songs that I say, ‘Damn, I wish I had written it,’” says Sanz (Joaquín Sabina is one of the co-writers of the song). Of course, there was room for “Corazón Partío” as a grand finale, and, as part of the encores, an all-time favorite, “Y Si Fuera Ella,” which doesn’t make it to every show, but luckily, it got here.
The Overall Vibe
Sanz’s arrangements are complex. His lyrics are complex. Watching 12,000 people sing along demonstrates that simplicity is not the only avenue to success.