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Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias stoke euphoria at Sprint Center show

Enrique Iglesias performed Thursday at the Sprint Center.
Enrique Iglesias performed Thursday at the Sprint Center. Special to the Star

Thursday night’s show at the Sprint Center was a co-headlining bill and a contrast in two styles that produced the same outcome: euphoria.

Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias took his turn first. Now approaching 40, he has maintained a youthful charm during a career that has spanned two decades and comprised 10 albums and a slew of awards, including one Grammy.

His set list featured several tracks off his latest album, “Sex and Love,” released in March. He opened with one of those, “I’m a Freak,” a throbbing disco anthem that exalts a woman’s sexual prowess. It set the mood for the next three hours.

Accompanied by a band that performed before a three-story screen that broadcast a blitzkrieg of images and videos, he would deliver a dozen more songs, some of them primitive dance numbers, others tender love ballads performed in Spanish.

Iglesias’ best numbers blend Latin music with Top 40 pop, songs like “Bailamos” and “Be With You,” two of several highlights. That one followed a disposable cover of “Stand By Me” that represented the only lull in his 75-minute set.

About halfway through, several members of his band left the main stage and joined Iglesias on a satellite stage set up at the other end of the arena. He interacted with fans throughout the set at both stages, trotting from one side of the main stage to the other and up and down the runway in the middle of the floor.

The crowd was familiar with everything he sang, even the Spanish numbers. The loudest reaction came during “Tonight (I’m Loving You),” mostly because he delivered the R-rated version. He followed that with something more earnest: “Hero,” his feel-good anthem that always gets a hearty singalong.

After an intermission, the Cuban-born Pitbull hit the stage like a hurricane, with six scantily clad dancers in tow. His shtick is simple and primitive: launch disco bombs that glorify the party life.

Songs like “Don’t Stop the Party,” “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor),” “Get It Started” and “On the Floor” don’t vary from one another much musically and all are exactly what their titles imply: garish moments of primal revelry. The crowd of more than 13,000 was on its feet most of the set, bobbing, dancing, singing and waving their arms.

Pitbull isn’t the most charismatic live performer: He’s barely of average height, he hasn’t a hair on his head and he is not a particularly smooth dancer. Yet he can whip a big crowd into a frenzy, and fast. There were moments when the arena felt as exhilarated as a sold-out Sporting Park after our hometown soccer team has pulled out a last-minute victory.

He was joined several times on that video screen by an array of stars who have been guests on his singles, including Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Usher.

Pitbull also was accompanied by lots of visual stimuli: a band that featured two drummers surrounded by enormous drum kits; his dancers, who changed wardrobe several times; and that screen, which broadcast plenty of videos, none more salacious than one that showed a half-dozen or so barely clad derrieres during “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).”

The 90-minute set ended with Iglesias onstage, singing another of his arena-sized party anthems, “I Like It.” It brought the show to an appropriate close. As confetti rained upon the crowd and plumes of smoke were exhausted along the runway, the arena erupted into one more spasm of elation.

▪ More on Read reviews of recent performances by B.B. King and Tegan & Sara on our music blog, Back to Rockville.


Enrique Iglesias: I’m A Freak; Heart Attack; Finally Found You; No Me Digas Que No; Bailamos; El Perdedor; Loco; Stand By Me; Be With You; Tonight (I’m Loving You); Hero; Bailando; I Like It (with Pitbull)

Pitbull: Don’t Stop the Party; International Love; Dance Again; Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor); Get It Started; Rain Over Me; Last Night; Bon Bon; Back in Time; Fireball; Turn Down for What; I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho); On the Floor; DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love; Hotel Room Service; Timber; Feel This Moment; Give Me Everything