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In announcing the Trilogy Tour, Pitbull reflected on what a "true honor" it is for him to share a stage with Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin, “two music icons who broke global music barriers for our culture and opened doors for someone like myself.”
It’s been 24 years since Martin took “Livin’ La Vida Loca” to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and the U.K. singles chart, a global breakthrough often portrayed as the opening shot of a cultural crossover known at the time as “the Latin explosion.”
Today, Latin music is bigger than ever in the U.S. market.
Bad Bunny was the most-streamed artist of the year on Spotify in 2020, 2021 and 2022, all while singing primarily in Spanish, drawing nearly 50,000 fans to Chase Field when the World’s Hottest Tour hit downtown Phoenix in 2022.
A growing number of regional Mexican artists are headlining massive arena tours across the States, including Peso Pluma, who's feeling like he just may be the fastest-rising star in modern music.
And the Trilogy Tour has added dates in 2024 because demand is just that high for tickets to a co-headlining tour by Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin. (Their Trilogy Tour is not to be confused with Melanie Martinez's Trilogy Tour, which also is coming to Phoenix in 2024.)
The appeal of these three stars on stage could not have been more obvious at a packed show at Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 25.
If you went in hoping for some sort of musical collaboration among them, that never happened, which felt like a bit of a missed opportunity.
But each artist squeezed in as many hits as possible into roughly an hour of stage time. These were three distinct performances by three very different performers.
Trilogy Tour 2023 setlist: What Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull sang in Phoenix
Trilogy Tour 2023: Pitbull set the tone with 'Don't Stop the Party'
Pitbull got the party started with “Don’t Stop the Party,” looking sharp in his black tux and dark shades, flashing his signature grin at every opportunity and flanked by female dancers in black-and-white checkered bodysuits.
He’s always been a charismatic presence. And that definitely came across in the course of a fast-paced journey through his catalog that touched on his most beloved hits, from “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)” and “Hotel Room Service” to “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” and “Timber.”
He had the audience chanting along to “We at the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn,” a line he borrowed from “Rapper’s Delight,” for “Hotel Room Service,” and the oft-chanted hook to the hip-hop classic “The Roof is On Fire” for “Fireball.”
His bandmates dusted off the riffs to “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Are You Gonna Go My Way?,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Seven Nation Army” while at times recalling Funkadelic in their tendency to rock the house.
Pitbull also interacted more with the audience than either of his tourmates, thanking Joey Boy Rodriguez at LIVE 101.5 in Phoenix for “giving my career a chance” when in the early days and shared the philosophies of Mr. Worldwide.
While introducing Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina,” Pitbull told the fans, “It doesn’t matter what language you speak, we all speak music. What makes music so powerful is that it unites us. It doesn’t divide us.”
He even shared a presentation on the charter schools he’s built, including one in metro Phoenix, after leading the crowd in a chant about taking his life “from a negative to a positive.” And with that, the stage was set for Mr. Worldwide to bring his portion of the concert to an uplifting conclusion with a rousing singalong of “Give Me Everything.”
Trilogy Tour 2023: Enrique Iglesias delivers a 'Bailando' balloon drop
Iglesias welcomed fans to his part of the concert with “Tonight (I’m Lovin' You).”
Backed by a seven-piece band and joined on vocals by two women singing backup, Iglesias kept the focus on his more upbeat material for much of his performance, from the soulful Latin pop of “Be With You” to the sultry swagger of “Bailamos” and the thumping house beats of “Escape,” which found him taking selfies in the crowd and segued nicely into the Eurythmics hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”
Iglesias was the only one to make use of the satellite stage at the opposite end of the arena, where he turned in an emotionally supercharged duet of “Loco” with a backup singer, performing the opening verse with his head in her lap, and had practically every member of the audience waving their arms above their heads on “Cuando me Anamoro.”
Iglesias has gone viral on TikTok for all the wrong reasons, with 75 million views in the past six days for videos tagged Enrique Iglesias concert cringe. And he did his oft-derided humping of the floor on the satellite stage in Phoenix, but the crowd was clearly in his corner from the time he took the stage.
Iglesias encouraged everyone to hold their phone lights up to underscore the drama and emotional intensity of “Hero” before signing off with two more upbeat club jams, ending his set with a festive balloon drop on “Bailando.”
Trilogy Tour 2023: Ricky Martin brought the concert to a joyous finish
Martin was a joy to witness, as expected, rocking the baggiest trousers known to man as he took the stage surrounded by a crew of seven dancers to set the tone for his performance of “Pegate” and “Maria.”
It’s worth remembering that by the time he cemented his status as a global superstar in the making with “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” he’d already grabbed the U.S. mainstream by the collar with a joyous rendition of "La Copa de La Vida" at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, earning a standing ovation for his efforts.
That exuberance remains and served him well as he sang and danced his way through such spirited audience favorites as “Adrenalina,” “Shake Your Bon-Bon” and “She Bangs” at the helm of an excellent nine-piece band that included three horn players.
The elder statesman of the elder statesmen tour at 51, Martin rarely stopped moving while frequently flashing that leading-man grin with an ageless charisma.
He also earned a huge reaction when he eased up on the BPMs to pour his heart out on the quasi-operatic vocals of “Vuelve,” a dramatic ballad for which he donned a trench coat under which I’m pretty sure he wore no shirt.
But Martin’s calling card has always been the energy he brings to a performance. And few things anybody did on stage at Footprint Center could compete with the exuberance he brought to that set-closing version of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and the encore of “The Cup of Life.”
It was the perfect ending to a joyous celebration hosted by a legendary entertainer whose enthusiasm was beyond contagious.
Trilogy Tour 2023: Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in Phoenix
Here's every song Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull played when the Trilogy Tour hit Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 25, from "Timber" to "Hero" to "Livin' La Vida Loca."
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Review: Trilogy Tour's hit-filled Phoenix concert electrified fans