A DJ attempted to engage several hundred people at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland on Saturday by playing a remix of the Pitbull song “Don’t Stop the Party.” The title of selection seemed like a cruel joke.
Irritated fans of Alexis y Fido had already waited for a performance by the party-oriented Puerto Rican reggaeton duo for almost an hour. They didn’t realize that the men wouldn’t appear until 11 p.m., three hours after the time printed on their $65 tickets.
Members of the audience grew increasingly agitated as they endured grating pitches for a post-concert party, brief outings by poorly received vocalists accompanied by tawdry dancers and heedless exhortations from DJs. When an emcee implored listeners to “turn up, people” 90 minutes into the protracted ordeal, many disenchanted attendees stared at him as if they’d been slapped.
Alexis y Fido and the organizers of the slipshod debacle demonstrated a blatant disregard for the time and money of the people who had purchased tickets.
Even so, the invigorating music of Alexis y Fido was almost worth the three-hour wait. Abetted by a hype man and a clutch of production effects including lasers and a confetti cannon, the duo rapped and sang over backing tracks for about 45 minutes.
The absence of live instrumentation wasn’t surprising. Alexis y Fido are among the slickest exponents of reggaeton, a strain of Caribbean music that melds reggae, salsa and hip-hop.
Aside from the language barrier- Raúl “Alexis” Ortiz and Joel “Fido” Martínez- sing and rap in Spanish- much of the material they’ve released in the past 12 years wouldn’t sound out of place on the playlists of Top 40 stations on the mainland.
They’ve enjoyed a commensurate level of success. The slick music video for “Una en un Millón” is closing in on 200 million views at YouTube. The 2015 hit has been played more than 52 million times on the streaming service Spotify.
The melodic pop of “Soy Igual Que Tú” inspired an even heartier response than “Una en un Millón.” Singing along with the duo’s songs was easy, but it was almost impossible to keep up with Fido when he delivered an impressively percussive rap on “Mala Conducta.”
A jubilant couple danced with an unfurled a Puerto Rican flag during a rendition of “Rompe la Cintura.” The couple’s pride in the music of the island is justified in spite of the shameful way it was presented on Saturday.