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Published: Aug. 12, 2012 Updated: 3:30 p.m.
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Jennifer Lopez & Enrique Iglesias keep energy high at Honda Center
Both superstars got assists from Pitbull at their SoCa kickoff, which continues in L.A.
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By MARTHA RAMIREZ / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
J to tha L-O, Hello! showed why she’s an all-around diva Saturday night with the no-holds-barred show she put on at Honda Center, her first of three co-headlining area appearances this week with Enrique Iglesias.
“Hello, lovers,” Nuyorican beauty Jennifer Lopez greeted after an extended Disneyesque intro featuring a video, an array of backup dancers and singers and bright lights, all contributing to a nonstop show that was nothing less than the sort of exuberant entertainment you'd expect from “Jenny from the Block.”
Jennifer Lopez performs at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday.
CHRISTINE COTTER, FOR THE REGISTER
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Lopez gave fans in Anaheim close to 90 minutes of dramatization, often reenacting some of her most popular videos. “How about I go back to the Bronx?” she asked. “I’m just a simple girl from the Bronx. Don’t let the sparkly pants fool you.”
She then added a hoodie and a matching New York cap to her outfit, because “it makes me feel tough,” as the set gave way to a montage of the hits “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny” (from her 2001 album J.Lo) and “All I Have” and “Jenny from the Block” (from 2002's This Is Me ... Then), almost all of which were accompanied by their respective clips.
“It feels good to be in California,” Lopez told fans, adding that the Golden State is “my second home.” “Y’all ready to dance? 'Cause that’s all we’re gonna do,” she continued, putting her skills as a dancer (and at one point on the congas) to solid effect on “Waiting for Tonight,” reminiscent of her days as a Fly Girl on In Living Color. Having recently turned 43 has hardly slowed her down.
“The energy in here is right, you know, up and down,” she said between songs and while trying to catch her breath and thanking fans, shaking as many hands as she could, even singing "Happy Birthday to You" to one ecstatic guy.
Her special guest Pitbull (in town earlier this week to headline Nokia Theatre) definitely kept that energy up when he joined for “On the Floor” and “Dance Again,” despite a brief microphone malfunction that prevented anyone from hearing part of Mr. Worldwide’s rap, during the latter.
Lopez made four wardrobe changes, each another sparkly outfit and over-the-top accoutrement (like the exaggerated Russian fur cap she donned at the outset) that only someone like J.Lo could pull off. The variety may seem like a lot to wait on, yet the gaps in the show hardly went noticed thanks to her troupe and video packages.
One such standout interlude showed Lopez and her beau Casper Smart, spotted watching most of her set from among the crowd, being affectionately lovey-dovey to the tune of “Baby I Love You.” (He would later appear on stage for her encore tune “Dance Again.”) Lopez didn’t mind playing on her love life, repeatedly making reference to how “carried away” she tends to get “when it comes to love ... it ain’t no secret.”
Most of her performance maintained this mix of dancing and dramatics, but the former American Idol host brought it down a bit when she sang a slow rendition of “my very first song from my very first album (1999’s On the 6), my very first No. 1” – “If You Had My Love.” “A lot has happened since then – some good, some great, some not so great,” she admitted before singing “One Love” to the two people she loves the most, her twins. (Another montage, of the singer with her children, was definitely the sweetest moment of the night.)
While Lopez was eye candy for the papis on hand at Honda Center, Enrique Iglesias was the man of the night with the ladies, who screamed nonstop and frequently seemed to lose their minds over the Spanish heartthrob.
His set was identical to what he offered at Staples Center last October, from start to finish, although it didn’t feel redundant or boring. Iglesias has a way of engaging the crowd so that even if it’s the third, fourth or ninth time you've seen him, it doesn't get tiresome.
“I know this sounds crazy, but my first big arena show was in Anaheim in 1997. Am I getting too old for this sh**?” he asked to a roar of no's. “'Cause you guys look younger every day and I look older.”
Iglesias is known for promoting audience participation, but he took it to another level Saturday night when he invited two couples to join him for his version (and a good one at that) of “Stand by Me,” which he shared would be his wedding song if he ever decided to take that step. As he interacted with each couple, snapping photos, taking video and toasting them while serenading, the star gave each man the opportunity to sing part of the Ben E. King classic to their women. One was a bit timid, but the other (possibly with a few drinks in him already) was not, showing the love he has for the artist.
“Enrique Iglesias kicks ass!” he yelled. “Enrique Iglesias is the best motherf***er in the world,” he continued. “You’re too rough, you’re too rough,” Iglesias replied in a playful manner. “You’re a f***ing crazy one.”
His serenade from the soundboard area is always a thrill for fans and a nightmare for security. Especially since Iglesias encouraged “everyone who wants to, come over here. Security, let them do whatever they want.” At first those guards refused to budge, but Iglesias made sure he got his way. “Let them pass, relax!”
As usual, Iglesias invited a female up to sing “Hero” to her, and despite the fact that she was married with her husband in attendance, she wasn’t shy about admitting she has a hall pass for him. Iglesias, delighted to make this an experience she would never forget, kissed and danced with the smitten fan (who also copped a feel of his behind while telling him he was “the best” and that she “loved him”). He then invited her husband up to tell him how cool he had been for being OK with everything.
He also sent shout-outs to his Latino fan base. “Cuánta gente latina está allí afuera?” ("How many Latin people are out there?") he asked, before dedicating “No Me Digas Que No” to the Spanish speakers in attendance.
Iglesias’ set had the works: confetti streaming down, giant white beach balls (with EI on them) bouncing around, up-close encounters with the front rows while supporting himself on the rail by the photo pit, a spotlight on his drumming ability, and another cameo from Pitbull for a couple songs, including “ I Like It.”
Reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel dropped off the tour, so Mexican singer and former Kumbia King Frankie J replaced them as opener, the vocalist providing roughly 20 minutes of old-school romantic R&B, from “Don’t Wanna Try” to Baby Bash’s “Suga Suga,” on which he was featured. He also sang Lil Wayne’s “How to Love” in Spanish (as "Cómo Amar”), because it’s “a little sexier,” while also displaying talent on the keyboard.
“When the Lord blesses you this way, you can’t say no, right?” he told the crowd about being invited to join Lopez and Iglesias. “Thank you so much for the love you’ve given me for my whole entire career It’s truly a blessing to be back in the limelight.”
Enrique Iglesias & Jennifer Lopez play again Aug. 16-17 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, $29.50-$250. Reminder: Tonight's replay at Honda Center has been canceled. Exchange tickets for one of the L.A. dates or obtain a refund at point of purchase.