It almost feels like a cliché to declare 2022 the year of Bad Bunny, because let’s face it: The last several years have been entirely his. Since 2020, the Puerto Rican titan has been the most streamed artist in the world, and every rotation around the sun only makes him a bigger phenomenon. He keeps breaking records and climbing skyward, reaching a place reserved for rare, once-in-a-lifetime stars.
His latest feat? A truly seismic show — one of two back-to-back nights — at Yankee Stadium as part of the World’s Hottest Tour, one of the biggest concert runs in the country right now. Madison Square Garden and Barclays were too small, so gorgeous and glittered-out fans in bunny ears and bucket hats filled the 50,000-person venue as Bad Bunny went through a dazzling, three-hour setlist that hit all the peaks in his career. After an opening DJ set from Diplo, Bad Bunny kicked things off surprisingly early at about 9:15 p.m. He took the stage, leaning back in a beach chair, relaxed and ready to have fun. Then he immediately launched into “Moscow Mule,” the dreamy first cut from Un Verano Sin Ti, the history-making album that keeps boomeranging back to the Number One spot on the Billboard 200 this year.
Elated cheers filled the stadium, but the people inside weren’t the only ones listening: Massive crowds flooded the surrounding area, with fans dancing and celebrating outside the security gates, overjoyed that the music was loud and clear enough to travel across multiple city blocks. Entire families and throngs of children packed the nearby Macombs Dam Park to the brim, picnics and Puerto Rican flags in tow. It wasn’t just an event for people who got a ticket; it was one for all of the Bronx. His links there are deep: Bad Bunny famously drove through the borough during his memorable pandemic concert atop a moving van in 2020, and recorded part of his video for “Tití Me Preguntó” there.
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And then came the parade of guest stars. Ever since Bad Bunny gave the world a preview of the tour during a remarkable three-night run at El Choli, in his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, people have been looking forward to the surprises and gems he’s planned. Those first shows in Puerto Rico were probably the most legendary, featuring beloved acts such as Tony Dize and Chencho Corleone, rising stars Villano Antillano and Young Miko, indie luminaries Buscabulla and Bomba Estereo, among many more. He shattered the attendance record at El Choli previously set by Metallica, and a night that was broadcasted live on Telemundo also set a new rating record for the network. Still, Bad Bunny found ways to make Yankee Stadium feel profoundly singular, special, and tailor-made, a testament to how much he’s clearly poured into these performances.
First, Corleone came out in a jolt of excitement, joining Bad Bunny for their recent collab “Me Porto Bonito.” A little later, two of reggaeton’s biggest perreo champions, Jowell & Randy, leapt onto the stage for the iconic “Safaera.” They also sprinkled in bits of their own hits, including the Casa De Leones classic “No Te Veo” and Randy’s recent viral jam “23.” Then the thrills continued: The most unexpected moment happened when Dominican bachata king Romeo Santos, who was born in the Bronx, showed up, the screams from shocked fans rising by several decibels. The two of them performed a pitch-perfect version of the brilliant “Volví,” and later Bad Bunny took on Don Omar’s part as Santos began singing 2005’s “Ella Y Yo.” “Que viva el reggaeton y la bachata!” Bad Bunny shouted onstage.
Reggaeton and trap vanguard Arcangel was also featured prominently in the evening, clad in a white bucket hat. He showcased his slippery, inimitable flow and reminded people that he’s been standing behind El Conejo for a long time: Some of their major songs together have included “Tu No Vive Asi,” one of Bad Bunny’s earliest tracks, and the more recent “P FKN R,” from the exceptional album YHLQMDLG. “A round of applause for the number one artist on the planet,” the Puerto Rican veteran yelled to the crowd. María Zardoya, the singer known for the delightful indie band the Marías, also stopped by. Dressed in a shimmering outfit that made her look like she could be starring as an A.I. femme fatale in a sci-fi flick, she sang her parts of “Otro Atardecer” in a gauzy voice, identical to the recording.
If you ever wanted to propose the world’s most dangerous drinking game to a Bad Bunny fan, you’d ask them to take a sip of alcohol whenever the Puerto Rican star said “thank you.” The man was so filled with gratitude, savoring each moment and expressing his appreciation to fans, sometimes multiple times after each song. In particular, he thanked New York for blasting his early hits in 2016 and 2017 when he was breaking through and drawing attention across the music business.
After going back into his repertoire for early tracks, he turned to Un Verano Sin Ti. Describing it as a special album that brought him a lot of joy, he kicked off with the project’s title track. A little later, a small platform the shape of a little island seemed to materialize out of thin air and lowered down onto the stage so Bad Bunny could hop on. Once he did, he floated across tens of thousands of screaming fans like a quickly passing comet. His dedication and stamina was more impressive, given that he wrapped his El Último Tour del Mundo dates not that long ago.
Whether it was old hits or new ones, the audience yelled every word with him. There’s a specific euphoria to screaming Bad Bunny lyrics along with another 50,000 people. Not only are his hits well-constructed, veritable bangers that have marked an era in a short amount of time, the soft heart of every song is filled with a kind of nostalgia and emotion only Bad Bunny knows how to deliver. They’re also imbued with a sense of magic that comes from knowing that not too long ago, the Puerto Rican megastar was a young kid working at a local supermarket. Now, he’s achieved something that is in many ways unparalleled. Looking across the bright lights of the stadium at tens of thousands of Latinos united over what he’s built through endless work and talent felt nothing short of spine-tingling.
Toward midnight, Bad Bunny lit the stadium up, fireworks and pyrotechnics and all, for a brilliant finale that included the electro-heavy “El Apagón” and the merengue banger “Después de la Playa.” The very last scene was Bad Bunny huddled with all of his dancers as they held a massive Puerto Rican flag front and center, bringing everything back to the place that made him.
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