By Anthony Cesario
This time last year, my friends were doing everything in their power to convert my (extremely skeptical) self into a fan of Bad Bunny. One year later, they managed to do the unthinkable: convince me to join them on an impromptu weekend trip to Las Vegas to see Bad Bunny live in concert.
So there I was on the Sept. 24 date of his World’s Hottest Tour, standing and cheering along with a crowd of thousands at the sold-out Allegiant Stadium. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced; I had been to numerous concerts before, even a couple stadium tours, but nothing compared to the energy of this audience. From the moment the stage lit up and the first notes of opening song “Moscow Mule” filled the air, the entire stadium was consumed by roars of applause so loud they gave me chills. It was the kind of audience that makes you realize how powerful live music can truly be (a fact that is even more poignant in a post-pandemic era).
My experience at the World’s Hottest Tour was unique for another reason as well: it was the first time I had ever been to a non-English concert. Sure, I know a little Spanish, and can recite some lines from my favorite Bad Bunny songs after having listened to them so much (you can bet I was singing my heart out when he performed “Tití Me Preguntó” and “Me Porto Bonito”). But I am nowhere near fluent enough to have sung along completely or understood anything Bad Bunny said to the audience that made them erupt in such fervent cheering. And yet, none of that tarnished the show for me: between the energy of the crowd and the spectacle on the stage – vibrant beachy sets, dazzling fireworks, and of course the charismatic presence of Bad Bunny himself – it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable nights of my life.
To say the show went off without a hitch would be a lie; from practically the start, it was clear there were some behind-the-scenes issues. After a few songs, Bad Bunny disappeared off stage for an abnormal amount of time, and a DJ came on unexpectedly and did a miniature set. Then, much to the disappointment of my friends, Bad Bunny did not get on top of a floating stage, as he did at previous tour dates, and also cut the setlist short, skipping fan-favorite songs such as “Un Verano Sin Ti” and “Un Coco.” Fan theories ranged from there being technical difficulties to Bad Bunny being emotionally affected by recent events in his home country Puerto Rico, including gentrification and Hurricane Fiona.
Regardless of the circumstances, the environment inside Allegiant Stadium remained positive from start to finish. From the way people screamed the lyrics so passionately with each other to the way they so lovingly chanted “Benito! Benito!” during the breaks between songs, it was obvious that to much of the audience, Bad Bunny is much more than your ordinary superstar. He is an icon, a success story, an emblem of identity. And that’s the part of the show that stuck with me the most.
Ultimately, World’s Hottest Tour was a clear display of Bad Bunny’s skills as a performer and musician, and the close bond he has established with such a huge demographic of people, especially amongst the Latin community. It was a powerful sight to behold, and one that cements him as one of the most (deservingly) notable acts of the decade.