Live Review: Ricky Martin – 23rd September 2016 – Eventim Apollo, London, UK
Over the last 30+ years, Latin superstar Ricky Martin has been responsible for bringing Latin music to the forefront of mainstream pop. Along with fellow Latin acts including Marc Anthony and Shakira, Ricky Martin has been one of the leading forces behind the success of the Latin pop crossover movement in music; emerging as a young pop star within all-boy Latin pop outfit, Menudo and going solo as a Spanish language musical icon before taking on the world with his international breakthrough self-titled album in 1999; a record that remains one of the biggest selling records of all time with sales in excess of 22 million. Tracks including Livin’ La Vida Loca, She’s All I Ever Had, Private Emotion and The Cup of Life propelled Ricky Martin onto a superstar level held by the most exclusive and successful artists in music. His self titled release helped carve the singer a career that has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of decades as he has continued to thrive in the recording studio and on the touring circuit every couple of years.
Currently enjoying the success of his latest Spanish language studio album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar, Martin has recently wound up his time on the judging panel of The Voice Australia and has taken back to performing his hits to his enormous and devoted fan base around the globe; making stops at all major cities as part of his One World world tour. Last night the Puerto Rican hip shaker brought a carnival vibe to the U.K. last night in support of Autism Rocks; a charity which raises awareness for those affected by autism, with the proceeds of the show – one of two performances by Martin at the venue this week – going to the charity.
The Latin superstar transformed the quaint, art-deco confines of Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo into a stage spectacle for the sold out crowd who came to bask in the singers gyrating godliness and hear live renditions of their favorite Spanish hits. No expense seemed to have been spared by the musician who filled the stage with impressive lasers, layered platforms for his musicians and half dozen scantily clad dancers and high def screens that projected images of the star between educational clips of his charity – The Ricky Martin Foundation – to a level worthy of a stadium performance; a setting the performer has been selling out throughout his career.
As fans danced in the aisles and provided an enthusiast vocal backing to the Livin La Vida Loca hit-makers full throttle Spanish offerings which spanned his lengthy career, Martin put his all into making the night one to remember.
The night was definitely owned by the icons Spanish catalogue; Disparo al corazón, Tu recuerdo and early career power ballad Vuelve dominating the set and getting the biggest reaction from the fans who held either phones in the air to record their favourite showstopping moments, or flags from their home country; Martin reciting the names of the countries in attendance at one point in the show.
While the singers Spanish back catalogue and new record hits were the staples of the set, sparse English hits including Mr Put It Down, I Am Made Of You and a sultry, slow-paced version of She Bangs allowed the singers commercially aware and English speaking fans an opportunity to flex their vocal cords and move their hips with Martin, who regularly encouraged the crowd to let go and to feel free during the 90 minute set. Early inclusion Shake Your Bon Bon also dished up one of the nights most memorable hits alongside career breakthrough, Livin La Vida Loca; the track responsible for putting Ricky Martin on the musical map back in 1999.
Nearing the end of the show, Facebook Live jumped on board as sponsor of the live premier of Martin’s brand new single, Vente Pa Ca, where here was joined by Colombian musician Maluma to dish up one of the tightest numbers within the set.
There aren’t too many performers out there who can master the art of performance to the level of Ricky Martin. Having seen Martin twice before over the last 20 years, the musicians passion for delivering a fantastic show alongside the skills to unleash frenzy from fans over the course of such an extensive pop career is a fairly rare skill but one that comes with ease from the performer who is at his most comfortable on stage, delivering sheer musical perfection to his audience.