J Balvin is likely the biggest latin superstar in the world right now and lucky for us he finally decided to stop in Canada with his Arcoiris Tour. The sold out concert at Scotiabank Arena this weekend was no exaggeration a larger than life spectacle. Out of all the concerts I have been fortunate to attend, this one most definitely tops it ALL.
There were two stages setup which gave fans the chance to get pretty close to Balvin regardless of where their seat was – something more artists performing arena tours should take note of as it makes the experience that much better for their fans. His set began with his single “Reggaeton” which was fitting as the song pays homage to the pioneers of the genre that has led him to massive success. Balvin was joined on stage by dancers dressed as marshmallow men accompanied by a massive cartoon character sitting on the side of the main stage and floating screens in the shape of clouds which projected impressive animations, graphics and views of the performers.
The colourful characters presented throughout the show were created by LA-based experiential art collective “Friends With You“. Balvin’s dancers wore several blow up suits throughout the night of recurring characters from Friends With You. They also had a successful partnership with Guess in the creation of the limited edition tour merchandise.
The first couple of songs included “X”, “Machika” and “Con Altura” featuring an cartoonized Rosalia floating on the screens. After a quick outfit change, Balvin re-appeared on stage on a giant yellow duck shaped like a children’s rocking horse for his breakout hit “Ginza”. After the song was over, the music was cut and Balvin joked how he needs a minute to climb down the giant seat and that he might fall so he encouraged fans to take viral videos in case that happened but he warned this is not meant to be a part of the show.
Around the halfway point Balvin talked to fans and mentioned that for the night he’d like to be considered just like them and that he is not “J Balvin” but rather “Jose”. He also went on to thank his idols and performed short clips of some of the biggest Reggaeton songs including “Gasolina”. The choreography for this part of the show was extremely impressive.
At the end of this Reggaeton mashup Balvin is taken off stage and re-appears on the second stage accompanied by more Friends With You floating characters. This part of the show includes a heartfelt conversation he had with the audience about dealing with anxiety. You can catch the entire video on Balvin’s Instagram here. He also steps onto a candy-cane like elevator which brings him right up to the top seats of the back of the arena creating a special moment for those fans with him singing directly to them.
He played several songs from the second stage and eventually returns to the main stage where more Friends For You Characters appear including a massive light up rainbow arching over the entire stadium crowd. This part of the show included an incredible performance of “I Like It” featuring blow up cartoon versions of Cardi B and Bad Bunny who appear on stage and somehow can still keep up with the fast paced choreography. The song eventually transitions into a cover where Balvin dances on stage with the cartoon Cardi B to salsa music alongside his dancers dressed in piñata- like outfits.
The experience was unreal, and if you ever have the chance to see J Balvin in concert – do it! Even if you don’t know the music – the show is out of this world from the lighting, to the sound quality, dancers, costumes and props. Truly a night to remember.