Football fans gathered at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday (Sept. 8) at the NFL Kickoff Experience to celebrate the beginning of the 2022 NFL season, and to watch Latin star J Balvin.
The Latin star led celebrations with a performance ahead of the first game of the year, which saw the Buffalo Bills battle with reigning Super Bowl champs, the Los Angeles Rams.
Sporting jerseys from their favorite teams — given the event’s location mostly everyone was decked out in Rams gear — attendees defied the L.A. heatwave and made their way to the beach (where it, surprisingly, wasn’t any much cooler) for a free day event that featured all sorts of activities and activations, including a beach football field in case you were feeling particularly sporty.
Before Balvin took the stage for the official NFL Kickoff Concert, a local mariachi serenaded the sweaty crowd before the Alabama State Marching Hornets took over for a riveting number.
Opening for the Colombian star was West Coast-based DJ and producer Tokimonsta who was able to get the concertgoers out of the shade and closer to the main stage where they danced to her eclectic set.
Then, an inflatable giant hand appeared onstage holding up an equally large smiling face balloon — Balvin’s signature smiley face to be exact — which could only mean that the chart-topping artist was ready to take make his grand entrance. While his set was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., Balvin, who became the first Latin artist to headline this NFL concert, took the stage 10 minutes earlier to perform a nearly one-hour show.
He appeared in a two-piece, army-like outfit styled with a matching balaclava that only exposed his eyes. “Cómo está la vibra esta tarde, how’s the vibe today?” he asked the crowd. Balvin kicked off with the fan-favorite “Mi Gente” and went on to perform back-to-back hits such as “Reggaeton,” “Nivel de Perreo,” “Con Altura,” “Loco Contigo,” “Blanco,” “Ritmo,” “Amarillo,” “Ginza,” “I Like It” and “In Da Getto.” He also brought out a special guest, Trueno, emerging rapper from Argentina, to perform their collaboration “Un Paso.”
“My name is Jose but they call me J Balvin,” he added. “Where are all the warriors that fight for their dreams? I see my Latino gang representing here.”