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Concert Reviews:
Pitbull provides the euphoria at Enrique Iglesias' Palace concert

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011

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AUBURN HILLS -- Given the bluster, wet and cold outside, a little bit of Miami was welcome inside the Palace on Friday night (Sept. 30).

But, interestingly, the heat from the package of Floridians Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull and Prince Royce did not come from the headliner.

The Euphoria Tour is, ostensibly, Iglesias', showcasing the 36-year-old son of Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias and promoting his first bi-lingual album, "Euphoria." But Iglesias was instead steamrollered by one of his support acts, Pitbull -- both because of what the Cuban rapper did right and Iglesias did wrong.

There was, of course, a sense that this was Pitbull's night anyway. He's hotter on the charts and radio thanks to hits such as "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)," "Hotel Room Service" and the chart-topping "Give Me Everything." And just walking into the Palace on Friday it was hard not to walk 100 feet on the concourse without finding a cardboard cut-out figure of Pitbull -- part of his endorsement deal with Bud Light -- surrounded by fans taking their pictures with them. Iglesias had no similar presence.

And while he was on stage barely 35 minutes, Pitbull brought a headline-worthy ferocity that had the promoter-reported crowd of 12,000 on its feet with an energy that would not be evident during Iglesias' set. Following a pleasantly melodic half-hour by Prince Royce, the nattily attired Pitbull and his six-piece band charged through all or part of about 20 songs, both his own and hooks from Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Lopez and LMFAO. It didn't leave a great deal of time for talking, but Pitbull's songs -- the aforementioned hits plus "Rain Over Me," "Mr. Worldwide," "Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)" and more -- provided all that needed to be said.

Iglesias, unfortunately, followed with one of the slightest sets you'd expect from a headliner in an arena setting. At just 65 minutes and 11 songs it was short, and even then it was padded; a lengthy segment during which the singer brought a couple from Canada on stage to sit around, have shots and talk -- at length -- about the evolution of their sex life over 27 years of marriage was at best tedious and offensive enough at times to have merited a slap in the face. "I feel like a dumb-ass," Iglesias said at one point during the encounter. Well, yeah...

Iglesias did give his fans some of what they came to hear, including renditions of "Dirty Dancer," "Bailamos," "Be With You," "Escape" and "Cuando Me Enamoro" -- with song guests such as Usher, Lil Wayne and Juan Luis Guerra appearing on the four-panel video screen at the rear of the stage for their parts and members of his band taking occasional lead vocals. The staging was flashy, with requisite lasers and confetti, and Iglesias sang "Hero" from a platform at the back of the Palace floor, pulling a teary-eyed female up for a nuzzle-filled slow dance.

But it's telling that the best song of Iglesias' set was "I Like It," his "Euphoria" collaboration with Pitbull; it finally pushed the energy of the room to a level you expect from the closing act, though Iglesias didn't capitalize on it, closing his show with "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" -- the same song he opened with, as if he couldn't find another selection from his nine-album catalog to do the job. It's hard to get euphoric about that kind of laziness.

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