Sept. 30, 2022
All you need to know about Bad Bunny’s current tour is contained in its name, “The World’s Hottest Tour,” which this past Friday lived up to its billing as it rolled through SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California for the first of two shows and the last stop on the trek’s North American leg.
That the next day was officially proclaimed “Bad Bunny Day” in Los Angeles, that stars like Cardi B. and Karol G turned up to his shows and that Diplo was the warm-up act, are just the tip of this mucho caliente tour’s growing impact.
While Bad Bunny came in at No. 3 on Pollstar’s Q3 chart, grossing $163.6 million from 46 concerts, that tally consisted primarily of dates from his “El Último Tour del Mundo” arena tour, which kicked off last November. Now, in less than a year’s time, he’s jumped to stadiums, with some 27 more dates not yet in the books for Pollstar‘s touring year. When those dates are added in, they’ll likely catapult Bunny (born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) to the top of the charts and into an elite class all his own.
Give credit, first and foremost, to Bad Bunny’s brilliant performances, which for nearly three hours on this night in Inglewood, California, left his adoring fans enraptured. The sold-out crowd throughout the 38-song(!) set, remained on their feet throughout dancing and singing to every lyric and note.
The evening began slowly and steadily built through the night, starting with the 28-year-old superstar sitting alone on stage, which was decorated like a tropical beach, plaintively singing “Moscow Mule.” It’s the first track off his album, Un Verano Sin Ti (A Summer Without You), the year’s biggest release currently in its 12th non-consecutive week at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart. That track, like every other song on this night, elicited ecstatic screams of joy within the song’s first three notes as did a surprise appearance on the next song by fellow Puerto Rican artist Chencho Corleone of Plan B for “Mi Porto Bonito.”
Other highlights, of which there were many, included reggaeton duo Jowell and Randy joining Bunny for booming bass version of “Safaera;” a cover of “I Like It” that namechecked nearly every Latin American country (with Mexico by far receiving the greatest response, this is Los Angeles after all); a cameo by Ivy Queen, a reggaeton pioneer who played a medley of hits in a bedazzled red, white and blue Puerto Rican flag leotard; an appearance by Bomba Estéreo’s Li Saumet who sang on the wonderfully catchy “Ojitos Lindos” (and whose attire was more NC17); and Bunny’s 2020 hit “Dákiti” that took the stadium to another level of joyous abandon.
The night’s massive production elements helped make the show more fully immersive with huge hi-def screens, featuring everything from underwater seascapes to cyborgs, as well as synchronized RFID light bracelets, rave lasers, pyrotechnics, fire jets, smoke machines and, of course, flying inflated dolphins (which appeared during “Dákiti”).
The night’s crescendo was Bad Bunny floating above the crowd and circling the stadium atop something that resembled a neon-lit island spacecraft with a palm tree (see photo above) while performing “Une Coco” and exploding fans’ heads below.
A relief from the usual suspects assembled for pop music tours, Bunny’s diverse and Dayglo-clad back-up dancers represented a cross-section of races, genders and body types. At one point, the entire dance crew sat on stage passing a bottle of wine while chillaxing on the beach-like set. The show had a looseness and laidback vibe unusual for a tour of this magnitude. At various moments, Bad Bunny slowed the evening down to point out Karol G in the audience, banter loosely with fans, sign an autograph and take a selfie.
Credit for the tour’s success is also due to Bad Bunny’s top-tier team led by his forward-thinking manager Noah Assad of Rivas Entertainment, his promoters Cardenas Marketing Network, led by Henry Cardenas, and Live Nation’s Latin Touring division helmed by Hans Schafer and his agents at United Talent Agency with Jbeau Lewis as the responsible agent. This highly qualified unit impressively facilitated Bad Bunny steady rise in less than a year from an arena act to a global stadium superstar, a feat both difficult and rare and, which mind you, happened while coming out of a global pandemic.
Bad Bunny’s “World Hottest Tour” picks up on Oct. 1 at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, rolls through South and Central America before wrapping with two-nights at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca on Dec. 9-10.