Shakira is back with a career’s worth of hits
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was five months into preparations for her first tour in seven years last October when she experienced hoarseness in her voice that turned out to be a vocal cord hemorrhage. After five months of rehearsal, and with days to go before its first shows, Shakira regretfully had to postpone a European tour in support of her latest album, 2017’s El Dorado. The Colombian-born, hip-shaking chanteuse told fans her recovery would take weeks, but by Dec. 27 revealed on her website that the injury needed more time to heal. Still, she was optimistic about getting back on the road, assuring that she would be back onstage by June.
Shakira, who played the final shows of her last extensive tour in October 2011, did not disappoint. She toured Europe, then brought the El Dorado World Tour west, opening with an Aug. 3 date at Chicago’s United Center. The singer, who first found U.S. pop chart success in 2001 with her No. 1 hit “Whenever, Wherever,” has been kicking off her latest sets by reaching into her past with a medley of “Estoy Aquí” and “Dónde Estás Corazón” from 1995’s Pies Descalzos and the title song from that album before journeying across the breadth of her career.
That includes hits from many of her six No. 1 Latin albums as well as a generous helping of songs from El Dorado, with songs such as “Nada,” “Amarillo” and “Me Enamoré” rendered early in the set. Shakira seems to be having a lot of fun with the material on the album, which, like her latest live sets, are primarily sung in Spanish with a few English language compositions mixed in. Several of the new songs are duets, with reggaeton singer Nicky Jam guesting on “Perro Fiel” and fellow superstar Colombian Carlos Vives joining her on “La Bicicleta,” which she has been closing her concerts with. The Montreal Gazette, in a review of Shakira’s Aug. 8 Bell Centre show, reports that both duets were executed with the help pre-recorded video featuring Jam and Vives.
Her voice seems to have fully recovered, while her trademark belly dancing moves remain undiminished. She gets time on the drums and guitar as well, but it’s moments like her mash-up of her World Cup anthems “La La La” and “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” and her biggest hit “Hips Don’t Lie” that maximize the adrenalized atmosphere. Time off from touring hasn’t dulled Shakira’s energy whatsoever.
She did perform concerts during that time, had two kids, developed fragrances, appeared as a judge on The Voice and provided the voiceover for Gazelle in Disney’s 2016 film Zootopia. The petite powerhouse has been busy but not overworked, and benefits from a streaming music industry that favors singles more than albums. She was able to record whenever, wherever, and still devote time to being a mom. The process invigorated her. Shakira has found her voice again, much to the relief of her global following.
MGM Grand, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1, $50.50 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster