Marc Anthony, Viviendo Tour, Sunday, February 26, 2023, Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Marc Anthony is a legendary singer who performed a fantastic show of non-stop salsa hits with musical and vocal perfection. The top-selling salsa artist of all time, he's sold 12 million albums worldwide, had 30 Billboard hits, and is a six-time Grammy winner, with his success rooted in bringing his style of Latin music to the World. This was his second time performing in Indianapolis.
A remarkable vocalist, he sounded identically true to all of his tracks throughout the hour and 45-minute show. No over-the-top theatrics were present, just a kick-ass band comprising only the best-of-the-best musicians to back this best-of-the-best entertainer. Percussions, horns, and three amazing backup singers set the stage, flanked by big screens and showered in colorful light. Did anyone else see the bodyguard-type dude in a hoody with striped patterned sleeves on stage right who was just chillin' through the whole thing?
The show started with an overture that included "I Need To Know" and "Rain Over Me" to hype the already committed audience. Anthony then glided-out centerstage so composed, looking so cool donning sunglasses, a black turtleneck, and a blazer to sing "Pa'lla Voy." Anthony's newlywed wife, Nadia Ferreira, was in attendance front and center.
Also sitting front and center was International Latin Jazz Pianist from Indianapolis, Pavel Polanco-Safadit, who said of Anthony, "He's one of the biggest Latin superstars ever. He's the one who took salsa to another level and made more of a cultural connection with English speakers. He's cross-cultural." His cousin, Angel Fernandez -Polanco, is Anthony's band director, and he's played with some of the band members before. "The arrangements by Angel are mesmerizing; the rhythm section just lifts you up in the air," he added.
Anthony performed 12 of his timeless salsa hits, which are classic Latin music standards and staples on dance floors like at the Jazz Kitchen's weekly Latin Night. His music is paramount to a salsa dance floor.
"Valió La Pena" and" Y Hubo Alguien" came next, staying true to the tour setlist. Then "Hasta Ayer," where the guitar chimed in, staying true to the piece but built up to screechy, super shred showmanship. It finally finale-ed Steve Ray Vaughn style with the guitar slung behind his neck for some Van Haleny fret pinching. It was a little much, but everything is good when you're in the company of the incomparable Marc Anthony and a crowd of starstruck, happy people.
This was followed by "Flor Pálida," then "Contra La Corriente," which included an infectious, dazzling percussion jam with Anthony jumping on a drum set and joining his musicians. Amazing! "Palabras Del Alma "and "¿Qué Precio Tiene el Cielo?" were next, followed by "Male," which had the crowd enthusiastically singing.
The whole show was a sing-along. During "Te Conozco Bien," he mimicked an audience member who yawned, saying, "Get this man a coffee," then held the mic up and let the audience wail the lyrics. He psyched the audience out by waving goodbye saying, "I still gotta go. Mucha gracias," then broke into "Parecen Viernes." As the song finished, he glided back behind the stage - woosh - gone. The band played on as smartphone flashlights lit up the arena to summon the two encores.
Encore #1: "Tu Amor Me Hace Bien" kept people happily dancing in the aisles. Upon finishing, he stared into the crowd in awe, hands on his waist, and mouthed, "Wow, wow," as he humbly took in the devoted, ecstatic fans. Anthony then knelt, bowed down, and kissed the stage. He came across no differently than in media: grounded, grateful, honest, composed, humble, and aware of the joy he creates. He saved his beloved salsa song "Vivir Mi Vida" for last. With 1.1 billion views on Youtube, it's from his 2013 album 3.0, a 13x platinum album. One of the many Puerto Rican flags dotting the arena made its way up to the stage, where Anthony grabbed it, wrapped it around his shoulders, waved goodbye, did the sign of the Cross, then disappeared behind the stage for real this time.
Every aspect of this show was seasoned perfection. Anthony and his band are experts in the genre, masterful at what they do, making for a truly incomparable performance. If you ever have the chance to see Anthony anywhere in the World, just go.
If you want to experience more great live Latin music, Pavel Polanco-Safadit's band, Pavel and Direct Contact, will perform with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra on April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Paramount Theatre downtown Anderson, IN. Visit www.andersonsymphony.org for tickets.
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