Bad Bunny Puts On Impressive Show in New York During Debut U.S. Tour

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Bad Bunny performs onstage during Calibash Los Angeles 2018 at Staples Center on Jan. 20, 2018 in Los Angeles. 

Latin trap is still relatively new as a subgenre, and only in the past year have tracks consistently populated the Billboard charts. In New York Friday night (March 3), however, Bad Bunny’s stage presence, flow and demeanor was that of a veteran light-years ahead of his first major tour.

Playing a third, sold-out show at United Palace in uptown Manhattan, Bad Bunny -- without even a first album to his name -- craftily navigated a string of hits that went from the overtly sexual to the danceable, with pals J Balvin and Alex Sensation stopping by for guest appearances. 

Onstage, Bad Bunny has plenty of braggadocio. Minutes before his entrance, smoke machines drowned the audience into a trance as black and white images of the self-proclaimed Conejo Malo flying in private jets and working in the studio claimed their presence. A thunderstorm of bright lights and explosive sounds inundated the crowd as he emerged. Always fashionable, he was clad in a Gucci baby blue and navy blue track suit with a tiger emblazoned on his back, paired with white sneakers. Five huge diamond rings swallowed his fingers across both hands, and his eyes are concealed by a pair of pinkish sunglasses. 

Flamboyant orange microphone in hand, he kicked off with some fan favorites like “Me Acostumbre” and “Pa Ti.” For the first half of the show, he made it a point to stop after every song to stare at the audience as it erupted in screams of praise. His body language, fixated eye contact, and smile read: I know I got this. 

Amid the trap bravado, Bad Bunny (Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) made sure to remain humble. “I don’t want to continue without saying saying thank you to you guys,” he told the crowd. “For me this was really a dream. You dream of becoming an artist, and then that dream turns into wanting a tour. This is my first tour across the United States and my world tour. So you guys are part of all my goals and dreams. I am very thankful.” 

Soon after, sporting a brown fedora hat, New York’s favorite Latin DJ Alex Sensation joined him onstage and they sang their latest track, “Fantasia.” Before exiting, he saluted the 23 year-old trap star on his accomplishments: “I have to stop and congratulate you,” he told him. “In less than a year, this is the first artist I’ve seen sell out the United Palace, not one night, not two nights but three consecutive nights in a row. You deserve this and much more. God bless you.”

Up next came in J Balvin, and the two performed their songs “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola” and “Sensualidad.” In a twist, Bad Bunny exited for a quick costume change and left Balvin, his guest, onstage to sing “Mi Gente” and “Machika.”

Bad Bunny returned sans any diamonds, now dressed down in a white T-shirt that read “Anti-Social Social Club.” He hopped over the stage’s barricade, diving into the first few rows of the audience. He thanked fans again; took random iPhones and recorded himself and all of us; and still managed to take a cheesy selfie with an eager little boy. 

Just a few years ago Bad Bunny dropped out of the University of Puerto Rico and bagged groceries at a super market -- all while in the pursuit of his dreams. He’s now made them come true, and Friday night he left the crowd with the ubiquitous “Chambea,” yearning for more.