Superstar singer/songwriter Ricardo Arjona, fresh from playing over 50 dates in Latin America to more than 600,000 concertgoers, confessed he needs to put on fresh underwear 15 minutes before going onstage.
"Fresh underwear and fresh socks," he said, laughing, when asked about his pre-show rituals. But that was only the beginning. Arjona, one of the most eloquent singer/songwriters in the market, admitted he has dozens of quirks, including always wearing a good luck necklace given to him years ago and choosing certain colors for the stage.
However, he added, "The most important thing is that all of us who are on this stage night after night actually enjoy what we're doing." It's one of the reasons, he said, the show allows for set list changes during an acoustic break where "everything goes."
"There always needs to be a sense of excitement. It can never fall into a routine," he said.
Arjona spoke to a group of journalists at a press conference unveiling details of the U.S. leg of his Viaje tour, named after his current studio album, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart last spring. Arjona kicked off the tour in Latin America earlier this year to resounding success, setting records in Argentina, where he played for 200,000 people during consecutive shows at GEBA stadium. Here, the tour kicks off with back-to-back shows at Puerto Rico's coliseum Feb. 20 and 21.
Arjona's press conference was unusual for an artist who's typically very private.
"It's not a question of being standoffish," he offered as an explanation. "I simply feel strange giving television interviews, for example, rather than performing. I am my best on a stage."
The Viaje (Journey) album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart earlier this year, and the Viaje tour reflects the album's theme. The concert is set on a multi-level "train station" whose background changes continuously during the show and is projected on a gigantic LED screen that's over 20 meters tall. It's an ambitious production that includes over 40 tons of equipment that has been shuttled country to country. Arjona says it's not his most massive tour in terms of sheer equipment, but it is the most technically complicated.
Arjona's last U.S. arena stint, which started in February 2012 and ended a year later -- following his Latin American tour -- featured 14 dates in 12 venues; he played two nights at both the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and Puerto Rico’s Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot. All told, Arjona grossed $13.5 million in ticket sales, according to BoxScore, and came in as the fourth highest-grossing Latin tour of 2013.
This time around, the tour -- which is being produced by CMN (Cardenas Marketing Network), the same event production and promotion company that exclusively produces Marc Anthony's tours -- is much bigger. In addition to the 13 dates announced last month, Arjona added two Puerto Rico dates on Wednesday, and more cities are expected to join in coming weeks.
Ricardo Arjona's 2015 U.S. tour dates
Feb. 20 and 21: Coliseo de Puerto Rico
Feb. 27 - Miami, American Airlines Arena
March 1 - Fairfax, Patriot Center
March 6 - Chicago, Allstate Arena
March 8 - New York, Madison Square Garden
March 13 - El Paso, El Paso Coliseo
March 14 - Phoenix, ComericaTheatre
March 15 - Las Vegas, Axis Theater
March 18 - Hidalgo, State Farm Arena
March 20 - Dallas, Verizon Theatre
March 22 - Houston, Toyota Center
March 26 - San Jose, SAP Center
March 27 & 28 - Los Angeles, Nokia Theatre
March 29 - San Diego, Viejas Arena