In a world of showy tours and staging one-up-manship, music often seems to take second place to just about everything else. Not so with Gigant3s, the joint tour by Latin stars Marc Anthony, Chayanne and Marco Antonio Solís that launched Aug. 2 with two sold-out dates at the American Airlines Arena.
Gigant3s features three of the top selling male acts in Latin music, all dominant in specific subgenres (Marc Anthony in tropical and pop, Chayanna in ballads and up-tempo pop and Solís in Mexican ballads and pop) and all arena headliners in their own right.
Which means sharing a bill could have been a complex diplomatic mission. Instead, what audiences saw was democracy at its best: A single stage and a single set-up with just the musicians -- bands and headliners -- changing places. It made for smooth sailing, with each change-over taking no more than three minutes (seriously) and with singular focus on the musical performance rather than the props.
Little more was needed to keep this audience singing along and mostly on its feet for three hours, roughly one per act with added duets (Solís and Marc Anthony and Marc Anthony with Chayanne) and a grand finale with all three artists onstage as a bonus.
Gigant3s' Miami stops kicked off with Solís (although the order will change according to market), backed by a far bigger production than we've seen him tour before with, including a string orchestra and troupe of dancers in addition to his 13-piece band. Solís, who navigates both regional Mexican and pop waters, struck a middle ground, performing a more stylized version of Mexican hits like "Más Que Tu Amigo" and donning a cowboy hat for his Mexican repertoire. But overwhelmingly, his sound and presence was that of a pop star, albeit a philosophical one who likes to pepper his performances with little nuggets of wisdom on tolerance and world peace.
That we can swallow this, along with sometimes over-the-top choreography that looks taken out of a Mexican soap opera, is a testament to Solis' uncanny ability to control his audience and to a plaintive voice that seems to get even better with age. Solís may have sung "Si No Te Hubieras Ido" thousands of times but still imparts the track with an emotional charge that makes it new again and reminds us why he's still relevant after more than 30 years.
Marc Anthony followed, performing mostly tropical hits with his full band, a dynamic performer whose sheer energy, coupled with a prodigious voice, may be unparalleled, in any language. Pacing the length of the stage tirelessly back and forth, Anthony performed each song with the expressiveness and clarity of an actor, making each song a story, including tracks like "Estás arrepentida," with apologetic lyrics that could well be autobiographical. His set also brought the highlight of the evening: A breathtakingly beautiful duet version of "Y Quien Es El" with Solís.
The show ended with Chayanne, performing with a more pared-down band and a team of dancers who ran the gamut from Broadway to burlesque, with Chayanne part of every move. The Puerto Rican singer went deep into his catalogue, mining tracks like "Dejaría Todo" and re-purposing "Lola" in a 1950s rock 'n' roll version. Most satisfying, though, was the maturing of Chayanne's voice, which has come to its own in both expression and body.
Gigant3s wrapped up with all three singers together on stage, performing each others' hits. It was heartfelt and well executed, and, in a rare instance of living up to the billing, it really was once-in-a-lifetime. For a full schedule, go to gigantestour.com.