Shakira‘s music is both a call to action and an excuse to hit the dance floor. Her live show, on the other hand, is a reminder to hit the gym immediately.
Demonstrating that it may be possible to be double-jointed at every intersection of bone in the body, the renowned Colombian hip-shaker showed off her almost unparalleled ability to communicate through raw physicality at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Saturday (Oct. 23).
On the stop of her “The Sun Comes Out” tour, Shakira sold her pop-rock/world music fusion from the top of her head — banging her blond extensions like an 80s metal star — all the way down to her bare feet. Her facial expressions moved from mock surprise to pensive gaze to smutty lip curl, almost as fluidly as she traversed sounds from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Video: Shakira performs “Loca” in Los Angeles
However, Shakira’s music would not have as much of an impact were it not for her abs, which moved with such independent precision that they seemed to ripple by an offstage remote control. If she had merely shimmied her way through her latest single, “Loca,” in glow-in-the-dark Hammer pants, it would have been enough. Yet her belly dancing face-up from the floor to a standing position — after covering Metallica‘s “Nothing Else Matters” to the accompaniment of a classical guitar and ukelele — was a collective mind-blow.
Shakira’s audacious fusions don’t always work; last year’s mostly English-language album, “She Wolf,” was a wild pastiche of styles and a commercial disappointment. On Saturday, a rocking version of “Wherever, Whenever” that culminated in a cover of EMF’s “Unbelievable” nearly drowned her out. “Gordita,” a duet with surprise guest Rene Perez of Puerto Rican urban alternative duo Calle 13, came off a bit forced, perhaps due to Perez’ unusually stiff performance.
But such low points were rare in the set. Shakira’s throaty vocal chops shone on her ballads, particularly “Antes de las Seis,” from her latest Spanish-language release, “Sale el Sol.” Addressing the crowd mostly in English, she sang a nearly 50-50 English-Spanish selection of her 14-year catalog, capping off the show with a stage full of children singing along to her 2010 World Cup anthem, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).” If the packed, largely Latino house was hoping for a majority Spanish-language show, Shakira confirmed she’s quite firmly a global star, one both musically and physically flexible.