When Maluma went on stage at 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, people shouted and sang one of his hits.. He looked amazed. He couldn’t believe it. His gestures said it all. He looked around him and was seeing how a dream of his had materialized. It was the beginning of one of the best parts of the movie of his life. Tears welled up. It was a cry that everyone managed to understand and feel. The cameras focused on him and thousands of people saw his face, that of a reggaeton great.
Juan Luis Londoño Arias —his real name— is not a stranger. They know him in most countries of the world. He is a singer, model, actor, businessman and influencer. Soccer players, Hollywood actors, artists, politicians and presenters recognize it. Since 2011, with ‘Farandulera’, ‘Obsesión’ and ‘Temperatura’ he began a long road with various peaks. He has built his career step by step and the results of his work speak of what he has achieved.
(Enter the report: This is how the reactivation of concerts and festivals goes in the country)
Those who saw him in his early years singing in schools, events with local stations and in neighborhoods of Medellín and Bogotá remember how the adolescent Paisa tried to get his music recognized. Artists like him know that it has been a complex task, especially in reggaeton and at a time when most emerging singers wanted to position themselves with the genre.
Those memories were shown during his concert ‘Medallo en el mapa’ at the Atanasio Girardot stadium. His family, his friends and his followers had a blink to the past, a few seconds to turn their heads and recognize the career that has been formed. That was the added value of the show: it was the opportunity to tell the world who he is, where he came from and how he got to where he is.
From that, he structured a concert that has already been cataloged as one of the best in recent years in the country. And is not for less. The intangible, the infrastructure and the coherence of the show support that statement.
A stage with a 360-degree view in the middle of the stadium’s soccer field broke with the traditional set-up. The reason: they wanted the presentation to be seen from all locations. It had four fixed giant screens and four others, like a ring or corral, that went up and down every time a guest appeared or a pause was made to change the moment.
On one side there was a catwalk for Maluma to enter with Blessd in ATVs and on the other, a red mat that marked the way to the stands, where the “Pretty boy” went down on a floating platform while singing “Borró cassette”. In this way the stadium was transformed into a ‘venue’ of international stature.
The organization of the event was led by Diomar García and Stage Eventos, an alliance that has become relevant in recent months after successful concerts, such as Karol G in Medellín, and because they are behind Bad Bunny’s ‘sold out’ dates for the end of anus.
But they also achieved something that had not been done before: a live broadcast through Amazon, a streaming platform. Thousands of people connected in real time to see the concert. The management of cameras, resolution and sound stood out.
It had been known for weeks that Maluma was going to sing with other artists who have participated in his career, but the final list had not been known. Last Thursday it was leaked that Madonna would return to the capital of Antioquia exclusively to perform two songs with paisasomething that the queen of pop has done little and that she has not done since 2015, when she sang with Drake at Coachella.
The mere presence of the artist for this reason marked a milestone in the concert industry in the country. Bringing one of the most important female artists in history to Colombia is impressive, even more so when in recent years she has canceled performances due to pain and injuries. Maluma respects and admires her. That’s clear. And she responds lovingly. What a good relationship between the two.
(Besides: Madonna, in love with Medellin)
The call to find new artists before the concert was another fact that makes this event one of the most important. It gave the Colombian singer Abril the chance to perform several of her songs.
The possible presence of Karol G and J Balvin had been rumored, but they were not. However, the guest list was long: Blessd, Feid, Wolfine, Pipe Bueno and Grupo Firme, from Mexico, sang several of the hits. Attendees at the concert highlighted this and described the event as if it were a “Latin Grammy delivery”.
Maluma’s level of influence is such that another point in his favor was getting international personalities, such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Jimmy Fallonwill send a video message to talk about Medellín.
It was three exact hours of concert from 10 at night. The stadium was completely full: there was ‘sold out’. The chosen songs were the ones that have been sung the most in Maluma’s decade of musical career. There was not one that was not chanted by the attendees.
Like any professional and world-class show, every moment was strategically planned. The costume changes, lights, dancers, smoke, fireworks and colors had an intention behind them. In the eyes of the public, there were no potholes. Everything was ordered: one song after another, an episode with a particular emotion.
One of the most commented moments on social networks was when he performed “Amor de mi vida” and dedicated a few words to his girlfriend. Thousands of red papers came out from the stage, as if they were petals, and the play of light allowed everything to transform into a romantic chapter.
It could be said that Maluma is a ‘showman’. He likes the stage and knows how to handle it. He greets the public, tries to make eye contact with people, has good oral expression, dances and acts. He knows when he should intervene in the staging and tries to make everything consistent.
The above brought together what many consider to be the complete package of a professional, experienced and world-class artist. Both attendees and music analysts and other singers highlighted the live event. Some even agreed that it was something to admire and take as a reference for new events.
During several moments of the concert, Maluma repeated a word that came from the depths of his soul: “Thank you.” She was happy to return to her hometown. She recognized that she had been absent for a while and that was why this was a litmus test. She bested her and walked out to applause. On many occasions, the most valuable recognitions are not the awards or social networks, but the support of the public. And that was more than confirmed in Medellín. They love Maluma and see him as an example to get ahead. He is a reference. He is an icon.
DAVID ALEJANDRO LÓPEZ BERMÚDEZ*
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