Marc Anthony has often said he's a big fan of Frank Sinatra. But his performance Saturday night as part of the U.S. leg of his tour, with the second of two sold-out shows at the American Airlines Arena (capacity 14,000), was equal parts Frank in style and improvisation and equal parts Mick Jagger in sheer energy and showmanship, with a bonus: Anthony's vocal prowess is unparalleled.
In a nearly two-hour show with only his 16-piece band as a prop -- no fireworks, no dancers, no videos, no wardrobe changes, no tracks or overdubs -- Anthony covered pop, ballads and tropical fare with almost manic -- and unrelenting -- enthusiasm.
The crowd responded in kind, even spontaneously singing happy birthday to Anthony early in the show, without any prompting or accompaniment from the band. And Anthony stood there center stage, all alone, and basked in the love.
Although a high point of the evening was Pitbull's surprise appearance for their hit duet "Rain on Me," it was simply a cherry on top. Anthony may have just split up with one of the most famous women in the planet, but on the concert stage, this man doesn't need anyone -- or anything -- else.
"Whatever I say is misconstrued," he said at one point. "So let me say, thank you for your support. Let's keep it at that."
While Anthony kicked off the show with his biggest pop hit, "I Need To Know," this Miami stop centered more on his Latin repertoire. The classic "Aguanile," popularized by Héctor Lavoe, and which Anthony sang in the film "El Cantante" and most recently in the "American Idol" grand finale, was the backdrop for vocal virtuosity, as was "Hasta que te conocí," his first major hit, which he sings largely a capella or with sparse piano accompaniment.
Anthony is good at pacing his performances and connecting the dots between songs and themes. He's spent time on Broadway -- obvious in his theatrical delivery -- and has said that when he records, he pays special attention to intros, as they will influence his shows.
Here, one could surmise the theme was heartbreak, but then again, that's the theme of most of Anthony's repertoire, in any genre, culminating with the single "Y Cómo es él?" (How is He) from his latest album, "Iconos," which he sang with tears in his eyes (another thing Anthony tends to do in live shows).
Anthony encored with two of his classic salsa hits, ending with "Tu Amor Me Hace Bien," a vocal tour de force hard to execute in any circumstance, much more so when paired with non-stop movement.
"Does he sing opera?" asked a man sitting beside me. "No, but he could."
Anthony continues to play shows in San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles -- Check his website for more.
Follow Leila Cobo on Twitter: @leilacobo