What typically happens when one of the most famous Latin artists in the world comes to Chile where he has thousands, possibly millions, of fans? That’s right-- raw, barely containable pandemonium.
Photo by Carolina Bastias
The sheer level of fandom and collective obsession exhibited by the thousands of Chileans with Daddy Yankee is hard to describe. So one could postulate what happens when the concert promoters design the venue poorly, forcing carabineros (Chilean police officers) to physically move several thousand fans from the floor level, delaying the commencement of the show by over three hours. To say that there were some unhappy fans in crowd would be a drastic understatement.
Luckily for the ill-equipped organizers, the majority of Chileans in attendance understood that technical difficulties shouldn’t trump the experience of seeing a modern pop icon. And luckily for Daddy Yankee, the first words uttered during his performance made everyone forget that there had almost been an angry mob only moments earlier.
The huge screens on either side of the stage kicked off the show with a montage of images from the mining tragedy currently capturing the collective attention of Chile. Yankee made it clear that his presence in Chile should not trump the seriousness or attention allotted to the trapped miners and accordingly dedicated the concert to them. From that point on, all mishaps concerning the concert were forgiven and attention was turned to the impending all-out audiovisual assault.
Daddy Yankee immediately jumped into his most relevant and popular song, “Descontrol”, accompanied by three spacesuit-clad synchronized dancers. The lighting effects, coupled with the almost-to-powerful subwoofers and space-age themed stage created a scene more reminiscent of something at a Daft Punk concert than anything Reggaeton-esque. And perhaps it is this differentiation that has kept Yankee in his current position as the foremost Reggaeton artist in the world. This may not mean a whole lot to those who openly criticize the genre (myself included) for recycling the exact same one-two beat in nearly every song. But even such critics couldn’t overlook the fact that during his concert, Yankee performed several of his hits that break from this pattern, exhibiting much needed and appreciated variety.
Yes, it is true that the concert was essentially what one might expect at a Daddy Yankee concert, albeit coupled with a near-riot and dancers who looked as if they had just descended from the moon. But when you are not only the foremost artist in your genre, but the most popular artist in an entire country, expectations are about as high as they can be.