Reggeaton and Latin music fans in San Antonio saw Cuban-American rapper Pitbull perform in concert Sept. 9 at the AT&T Center. This concert was the 28th stop of the Latin icon’s “Can’t Stop Us Now” summer 2022 tour, scheduled for 52 concerts in total. Pitbull’s tour is joined by Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and Jamaican rapper Sean Paul in select cities — only Azalea was present for the local concert.
While most opening acts are opportunities for fans to use the bathroom and visit the concession stand before the main act starts, Azalea opening for Pitbull was captivating and refreshing. Her 40-minute set was a careful balance between her biggest hits, such as “Black Widow” and “Work,” and songs maybe only devoted Azalea fans would know and sing along to, such as “Started” and “Goddess.” Her performance perfectly warmed up the crowd of about 20,000.
Coming off the high of Azalea’s opening, the energy dropped to a sudden low during the awkward transition between her and Pitbull’s performance. There was a 30-minute break a couple of DJs from SiriusXM’s “Globalization” attempted to fill in. It might as well have been part two of the pre-show, as the DJs were unable to keep the crowd from luling and growing irritated. While the music style did technically fit the mood of the show, it felt redundant given the nature of Pitbull’s setlist already consisting of several remixes and clubbing anthems.
Pitbull’s lively entrance, however, made up for whatever energy was lost from the crowd during the bizarre DJ intermission. Decked in all-black and his signature sunglasses, Pitbull opened with his 2012 hit, “Don’t Stop the Party.” Accompanied by a drummer, guitarist and a DJ, Pitbull broke into a frisky performance as the crowd sang and danced along.
The bubbly intensity was maintained throughout Pitbull’s performance. His setlist was a sum of all of the greatest hits from his musical career, interrupted by what can only be described as semi-motivational speeches from the artist.
“Thank you for the love.” Pitbull said many times to the audience. “Thank you for the support. Thank you for the opportunity.”
His tone was genuine and the crowd always cheered him on, as if reciprocating the sentiment.
Pitbull also made it a point to the audience that music is a “universal language.” He was probably referencing political controversies, divides and polarization in the United States. It was a generic and boilerplate message of unity and tolerance. In other words, nothing that hasn’t been said or done before.
“It teaches us and reminds us that we all bleed the same blood; that we all breathe the same air,” Pitbull said during one of his speeches.
One of Pitbull’s more notable speaking moments came before a bizarre performance by country singer-songwriter Filmore.
In what can only be described as an ode to western capitalism and the ‘American dream,’ Pitbull referenced his Cuban background to encourage fans to appreciate their freedom, which he described as “expensive” and “hard.”
“The whole world wants a piece of the American pie. The world wants to live the American dream … I’m here to make sure the United States of America stay the united states of America and not the divided states of America,” he said.
As Pitbull was giving this patriotic speech, an American flag flew brightly on the pixelated screen behind him. Chants of “USA! USA! USA!” could be heard around the stadium.
Pitbull was then joined by Filmore to perform the country song “USA” together. It was odd and uncomfortable, but the song thankfully ended quickly and Pitbull’s show resumed with the level of raunchiness and energy that has come to be expected from the Latin artist.
The crowd knew the words to every song from Pitbull’s setlist. Despite having somewhere to sit, almost all were on their feet, dancing to the music. All facets of Pitbull’s performance were in sync. The instrumentalists, the DJ playing specifically for Pitbull, and his crew of dancers all delivered the vibrant energy and suave nature that Mr. Worldwide is known for.
The concert came to a satisfying conclusion with the performance of Pitbull’s arguably biggest hit, “Give Me Everything.”
Although he could have done without the patriotic speeches, Pitbull put on a fun and energetic performance, cultivated nostalgia for the earlier moments of his career and demonstrated the timelessness of his music. The cost of entrance is worth every penny.
Pitbull’s next stop will be Sept. 10 at the Sames Auto Arena in Laredo. The tour will end Oct. 20 at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida.
For more information, visit Pitbull’s official website.