Prior to Pitbull taking the stage at a crowded United Center on Tuesday night, fans were greeted with a PowerPoint-styled presentation championing just how many sales, streams and YouTube views he’s amassed since kicking off a continuously flourishing career at the turn of the century. For the majority of entertainers, it would’ve likely come off as bragging or grandstanding, but for the first generation Cuban-American born Armando Christian Pérez, the statistics instead functioned as tangible examples of just how far he’s risen above literal poverty.
In fact, it was that latter segment that chronicled just how deep the star has penetrated pop culture in the last few years alone, a point further personified as the Ne-Yo/Afrojack/Nayer collaboration “Give Me Everything” wound down the confetti-adorned celebration with Pitbull’s ultimate command to simply seize each and every day.
For the next 90 minutes and change, Pitbull frequently revisited the theme of “turning a negative into a positive,” while also sharing his thoughts in between tunes on “bullshit politicians,” immigration and tearing down the walls of racism with music as the universal language. There were also shout outs to Miami Sound Machine for blazing the entire Latin to pop crossover trail, a salute to this particular building of Chicago Bulls champions, plus diverse samples and snippets as wide-ranging as Phil Collins, Guns N’ Roses and Survivor.
Whether it was the opening club banger “Don’t Stop The Party,” its spirited follow-up “International Love” or other infectious selections such as “Rain Over Me” and “Bon Bon,” the headliner fully embodied his “Mr. Worldwide” moniker. Alongside his multi-cultural band (and a sextet of dancers), that spicy fusion of hip-hop, pop and reggaeton continued as virtual flames accompanied “Fireball” and Pitbull’s verbal pyrotechnics tongue-twisted their way through “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).”
However, not every moment was as connective or effective, especially when style and substance took a backseat to overblown escapism on a few occasions. “Hotel Room Service” served up an overly sexualized double entendre that left little to the imagination, while the barrage of blown-up butts jiggling on the big screens during “Shake” came across as nothing more than a predictable and totally over the top cliché.
The video walls were better utilized when they broadcasted Pitbull’s barrage of duet partners, including Jennifer Lopez (“On The Floor”), Usher (“DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”), Christina Aguilera (“Feel This Moment”) and Kesha (“Timber”). In fact, it was that latter segment that chronicled just how deep the star has penetrated pop culture in the last few years alone, a point further personified as the Ne-Yo/Afrojack/Nayer collaboration “Give Me Everything” wound down the confetti-adorned celebration with Pitbull’s ultimate command to simply seize each and every day.
Click here for more Pitbull photos from the United Center.
For additional information on Pitbull, visit PitbullMusic.com.