By 10 p.m. at the CR&FC Grounds last Sunday (20 December), a mutinous crowd-reportedly some 8,000 plus strong-has begun to cheer every stage hand that walks on to the stage. Backstage, there’s an atmosphere of complete exhaustion fuelled by anticipation – many of these people have been up for the last 48 hours, running a [...]


‘Hero’ and ‘villains’ as Enrique storms stage after many glitches


By 10 p.m. at the CR&FC Grounds last Sunday (20 December), a mutinous crowd-reportedly some 8,000 plus strong-has begun to cheer every stage hand that walks on to the stage.

Eventually: Enrique sings to a frenzied crowd. Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara

Backstage, there’s an atmosphere of complete exhaustion fuelled by anticipation – many of these people have been up for the last 48 hours, running a production that encountered major setbacks from the previous day.

They were waiting for Enrique Iglesias, a Spanish musician that stormed the charts in the late ’90s and has stayed there since. Iglesias, 39, is the son of Spanish singer Julio Iglesias.

He started his career in the mid-’90s and quickly crossed over to the mainstream market, going on to sell 137 million records worldwide, with 150 number one hits across all Billboard charts.

The Sunday Times was granted a backstage exclusive of the Enrique Iglesias Live in Colombo show to capture the buzz and mayhem that characterises every major concert tour.

Now that the show has – inadvertently – managed to stir up plenty of buzz and mayhem, the production crew addressed some of the major concerns voiced by those who attended the show.

The crew began preparing for the show from the 16th, with the stage, lighting and sound systems going up three days before the show.

On Saturday (19), the advance team for the Enrique show landed in Sri Lanka and arrived at the venue at 7 p.m.. They examined the drawings for the stage and lights setup and called for the design to be changed.

According to the production crew, this setup had been agreed upon previously by the promoters for the show. When major acts are brought down to perform, the local organiser must go through a talent agency or a promoter for the artiste.

These agents speak to the musician or band and upon confirmation begin the dialogue with the local organiser. A party comes down to the country in advance to examine the setup.

In this case, the setup that had been previously approved by a member of the promoter party was reportedly rejected by the advance team on Saturday, 24 hours before the show.

Because Sri Lanka is such, the crew rallied. Light and sound technicians worked overnight and well into Sunday afternoon to ensure that the stage and everything on it met the specifications of the advance team.

When we arrived at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday, the area around the stage was cluttered but much of the work was complete.

A minor disaster at 4 p.m. was also averted; the band had arrived without their instruments though it had been specified that they would bring their own as these were not available here —the sound team used personal contacts to find the required instruments, which were used for the show.

The production crew says that by 4 in the afternoon the stage and set was completed and delivered to Enrique’s team. As with most major concert tours, they took over the stage, lights and sound controls after this.

By 5 p.m., CR&FC’s main entrance was already surrounded by enthusiastic fans who had purchased VIP tickets (priced at Rs. 35,000) and Platinum tickets (Priced at Rs.30,000).

Separate entrances were arranged for other ticket holders. By 7 p.m. the crowd at the main gate had started trickling in, but this was abruptly stopped. By 7.45 p.m. they were still stalled outside the main entrance, while the other ticket holders had begun filling up the back of the venue.

This is the main concern of many who forked out a significant amount of money to purchase VIP and Platinum tickets—why were they made to stand outside for a good hour or so when the other ticket holders were allowed in?

Many have taken to social media to voice their concerns, and it seems the event page on Facebook has been removed due to an overwhelmingly negative response with regards to the delays and inconveniences prior to the show.

The production crew says the decision was not made by the event’s organisers but by the promoters, in particular one gentleman (unnamed) who was responsible for the artiste’s appearance on the stage.

The reason cited was sound checks, which were being carried out at that time. It was only at the behest of the police, which was finding crowd control increasingly difficult, that the gates were allowed to be opened for the VIP and Platinum ticket holders.

Then came the wait for Enrique to appear on stage. By all accounts he was at the venue by 8 p.m., but was delayed by meet and greets that had been arranged for selected ticket holders.

There were no announcements made, so the crowd expectantly awaited his arrival from 8 p.m.. We’re told that a DJ was slotted to play before his arrival, to keep the crowds occupied, but this was vetoed.

Earlier in the day:Setting up the stage

The third major concern was a clear lapse in security during the event. At some point during the show, fans at the back broke down the barricades that had been erected, pushed right past security personnel and stormed into the VIP/Platinum area.

Personal effects were lost and more than a few feet were trampled. This, the organisers must accept responsibility for. Again certain VIP and Platinum ticket holders have called for refunds, especially on social media.

When Enrique finally made his appearance just before 10.30 p.m., bounding up the steps to the stage, he was greeted with deafening cheers and possibly the most exuberant welcome this country has ever produced for an international artist.

The crowd may have waited, and they may have been annoyed at the delay, but in that moment in time when the singer crooned the words to ‘Hero’ and they screamed the words right back at him, all grievances seemed to have been forgotten—at least for that moment.

Iglesias also sang hits like ‘Bailandos’, ‘Tonight I’m Loving You’, ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘I Like It’ during an approximately 90 minute show.

The Sex and Love World Tour is the artiste’s twelfth concert tour supporting his tenth studio album ‘Sex and Love’.

Beginning in February 2014, it has played at venues like the Madison Square Garden in New York, Wembley Stadium in London, Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Golf Port Marina in Alexandria.

Just before the Sri Lankan show, he played at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, and immediately flew out post the Colombo concert for another show at the same venue on 22 December.

Fans from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries flew in for the Colombo show, with Sri Lanka being one of only four Asian countries visited by the tour.

(See also Mirror Magazine report)

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