Two music legends restart concert series at Scotiabank Arena
When are two 90s Latin pop heartthrobs better than one?
When they are Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias who played the first of two shows at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night.
49-year-old Martin from Puerto Rico and 46-year-old Iglesias from Spain became more and more important in their screaming and dancing-loving Toronto fans, as it also meant the return of major indoor concerts to the city.
Scotiabank Arena officials confirmed that it was 580 days since the last concert at the venue, and not a moment too early – judging by the ecstatic reception.
The last time I saw a big show indoors was December 2019, when I caught Celine Dion performing the first of two nights at Scotiabank Arena, so it was an equally exciting – albeit a little anxious excursion for me.
When you’ve only been around a handful of people for a very long time, thousands can be intimidating.
And almost two years later, a lot has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic from how we get our tickets (sent to mobile phones only) into the arena (you have to show proof of double vaccination and your government issued ID and can bring only a small purse of a certain size so I just left mine at home) and what we do once inside (mandatory masks, even though it was really hit and missed when people came to their seats and started singing and dancing.)
The good news is that it only took me about 10 minutes to get into the venue on Thursday night, instead of waiting much longer at times at the office to get my hard ticket.
As for social distancing, it was also hit and miss – with some rows completely empty and others seemingly packed.
The current rules for indoor concerts are the smallest of either 50% capacity or 10,000 people, but when it comes to Scotiabank Arena it is pretty much the same.
Both Martin and Iglesias, who sang in English and Spanish, preferred big bands, big stages and big light shows, although the previously added dancers, drummers and costume change in the mix – he started in black leather shorts and ended up in a black puffed jacket – while the latter was great at audience participation and ventured twice into a small stage at the back of the floor to get closer to fans.
Both sets were hour-long affairs — don’t forget they are both dads now, with four kids for show opener Martin and three for show closer Iglesias — but there were also encores with Iglesias that delivered a slightly longer performance.
Martin crowd-pleasers included the set opening Livin ‘la Vida Loca, Lola, Lola, She Bangs, Nobody wants to be lonely (with a video appearance by Christina Aguilera), Maria and encore favorite The cup of life.
The man can still move on stage like few others can.
Iglesias, who reminded Toronto that he once lived in the city when he was 17 to record his first album – “I could not get a date,” he joked, delivering such standouts as I like how it feels (with fire outbreak), Bailamos, Be With You, Tonight (I’m Lovin ‘You,) Quite and I like it with large, white balloons falling from the ceiling below the encore.