I came away from Shakira’s show at the London O2 with one clear thought in my head: I want to be Shakira when I grow up.

I mean, I am technically already an adult, but there’s always room to grow and I would like to become the Lebanese songstress from Colombia. Versatile doesn’t even begin to describe her; she danced and sang non-stop, switching between various different instruments, and with a total of six costume changes over the evening. I was personally exhausted just from whooping and dancing along, so I can’t imagine how she felt.

She opened with her classic ‘Estoy Aquí’ which came out twenty-three years ago, which she followed with her more recent She Wolf, and the stage burst to life in sound and colour with smoke machines and some very impressive lighting design. Taking a break between songs, she talked about how it had been seven years since her last performance in London and that she did not expect to sing again, referencing her recent issues with a vocal haemorrhage, an issue faced by touring singers with increasing frequency (see Adele, Sam Smith, etc.) Her set was a wonderful mix of English and Spanish, with much of the multi-lingual audience singing along in either language. One of the most surprising parts was the number of children there, waving Colombian flags and dancing along, despite it being a Monday night.

Her newest singles really shone through, especially ‘Clandestino’, ‘Chantaje’, and ‘Me Enamoré’, alongside old favourites like ‘Whenever, Wherever’, ‘La Tortura’, and ‘Si Te Vas’, proving that old is just as good as new. The evening was highlighted by a belly dancing solo after ‘Chantaje’, a drum solo in ‘Can’t Remember To Forget You’, and her suddenly appearing in the middle of the stadium clad in gold and walking through the entire audience to the start of ‘Hips Don’t Lie’. She finished the evening with ‘La Bicicleta’, her duet with Carlos Vives, which ended in a final explosion of gold confetti.

Shakira is a god damn unstoppable force of nature: even when I was unsure of the Spanish lyrics I knew exactly what she was saying because of how emotionally invested she was in every song. Not to mention the fact that she is 41, and her first album came out in 1995, proving her longevity within the music world.

She’s promised to come back to London soon, and I highly recommend looking for tickets now.


Image: Screengrab

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