SAN FRANCISCO — Concertgoers brought their dancing shoes Saturday for the highly anticipated return of Marc Anthony, one of the top Latin and salsa artists of all time. It was the first Latin music concert at the arena, a fact not lost on Anthony.
The Grammy winner’s performance burst with liveliness at the show, part of his Opus Tour. Surprisingly, Anthony performed new songs sparingly and made clear that the night would be dedicated to his hits.
Anthony, who has made 13 albums in almost 30 years, wasted no time, opening with fan favorite “Valío La Pena” (“It Was Worth It”), which just celebrated its 15th birthday. The song had a high-energy tropical ambiance as Anthony passionately shared how blessed he feels to have found a love worth fighting for.
Diversity became a main theme. Attendees tossed flags of their home countries to the stage. Anthony, who was Born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, appreciated the gestures and kept the flags as souvenir around his microphone stand throughout the night. Anthony looked as suave as ever in a T-shirt, jeans and sport-jacket look that was topped off with sunglasses. However, he didn’t keep the shades for long as he threw them to an excited fan during “Y Hubo Alguien” (“And There Was Someone”).
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The intriguing “Hasta Ayer” (“Until Yesterday”), a song released in 1995 on Toda A Su Tiempo, stole the show with an extensive electric guitar solo in between Anthony’s strong, passionate vocals.
He moved on to sing one of his 2013 hits, “Flor Pálida” (“Pale Flower”), a remake of Polo Montanez’s 2002 original. The performance certainly created a flowery feeling with its romantic tropical sound, as Anthony colorfully sang of bringing the vitality back to someone’s heart as one does for a dying flower. Dimmed pink stage lights and floral projections also aided to reflect the song’s beauty.
Throughout the night Anthony sprinkled medleys of his favorite tracks while keeping the crowd moving with his top-notch dance moves. His band, which numbered to at least a dozen in all (including a full brass section and multiple percussionists), was also constantly in motion, dancing and having a good time. Even a 5-year-old boy in the front row, who Anthony later brought onto the stage, broke out some pro Latin dance moves.
Anthony travel back in time for “Contra La Corriente” (“Against the Current”), a dramatic ballad that describes the battle to forget a past love. The nostalgia continued as he performed more of his love-centered hits.
Finally, he concluded the main set with his latest single, “Parecen Viernes.” After a brief break he hopped back out for his triumphant powerhouse anthem “Vivir Mi Vida” (“To Live My Life”), clearly giving the crowd what it had been waiting for. The uplifting chart-topper left a reminder to let go of worries and live life to the fullest.
Before he left again, Anthony blew kisses and signed mementos fans tossed at him from their seats. At one point, he took a minute-long pause to soak up the love with tears in his eyes. Finally he kissed the stage and sent his fans one last “thank you.”
Popular Lain pop duo SanLuis preceded Anthony with a sweet acoustic set. With a mixture of guitar, piano and light percussion, brothers Santiago and Luigi Castillo, along with a third musician, set a romantic mood with a set of heart-stopping ballads. The brothers, formerly played in Venezuelan sextet Voz Veis, which won three Latin Grammys.
Comedian Joey Vega opened the concert with a somewhat cringe-worthy 15-minute set that targeted women’s looks. However, he did make one accurate observation: “It’s nice to see white people working and Latinos sitting for a change.”