I woke up from a long nap on a lazy Saturday afternoon to the news that I had been granted a last-minute ticket to see Maluma at the Forum. He was scheduled for two nights there and both had been sold out for a while so it's an understatement to say that I was ecstatic when I got the news. I quickly rushed out of bed, put my face on and raced out the door.
Maluma is one of the hottest reggaeton artists right now. His YouTube videos have amassed millions if not billions of views, he has collaborated with some of the biggest stars and his fanbase reaches both the young and the old. Most, if not all, of his songs are in Spanish but that didn’t stop me from becoming a mega-fan over the years. His albums are full of heart-pumping beats that make you just want to jump up, sway your hips and put your hands in the air. Although I can only understand about 20% of what he says (thank you high school Spanish class), his smooth vocals and emotive performances help you connect with his songs regardless of what language you speak. You know when he is heartbroken or has spotted a cute little “Mamacita.” You know when he is up in the club living it up.
Walking up to the Forum was intimidating, to say the least. It’s huge, which made it even more amazing to me that he sold out that venue two nights in a row. I had to ask about two people where the Box Office was. Although it may have seemed pretty circular and straightforward, I thought I was walking for miles. After getting my tickets, I began another long trek to find my seat (which ended up being pretty good). The venue filled quickly as excited concertgoers found their way accompanied by a selection of food, snacks and drinks. Among those concertgoers was Wilmer Valderrama, star of both That 70's Show and Maluma's Felices Los 4 music video. The guy behind me, probably in all his excitement, managed to spill his beer on me and it ran down the back of my seat and shirt. I waved it off, however, because I was determined not to let anything ruin my night. What’s a bit of beer down your back when Maluma was about to go on.
Soon after, the arena monitors on either side of the stage started playing an ad featuring Maluma and Hennessy. This was one of the first signs that the night was all about a good time. As soon as his face appeared, deafening screams filled the room. I didn’t think screaming could be louder, but I was proven wrong when the actual Maluma took the stage minutes later.
The signal that things were about to kick off was when the lights dimmed and a short video played an intergalactic scene that serves as the backdrop of his newest album, 11:11. Maluma was raised onto the stage by a hydraulic lift and stood there for a bit soaking in his moment—a multitude of screaming fans there just to see him, proclaiming their love. You could see the look of satisfaction and gratitude on his face. Dressed in a neon coat/pants combo and black turtleneck, he dived right into his hits including “Corazon” and "Marinero" from his previous album, F.A.M.E. If my translation is correct, "Marinero" is one of Maluma's top three favorite songs he's written. The audience was treated to several renditions of his past collaborations like “Vente Pa’ Ca” with Ricky Martin and “Chantaje” with Shakira. He also performed his newest Ricky Martin duet, “No Se Me Quita” off of his current album. What was equally enchanting about that night, besides Maluma himself, was the impressive stage set-up. Pyrotechnics were taken to new heights as sparks flew, lasers frantically blazed across the stage and songs were peppered with impressive graphics displayed on the screen behind the performers. Maluma was backed by a talented group including his female backup singer who stepped up front and center about midway into the night to deliver an intimate duet with the Latin superstar. An amazing group of female backup dancers added flavor and color to his performance. To top it all off, Maluma brought out surprise guest Becky G to join him in a duet.
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It’s really easy to see why Maluma has a legion of adoring fans (myself included) and why he easily sold out two nights at the famed LA stadium venue. Every single person I looked at was singing his songs word for word. He charmed his way into everyone’s hearts, interacting with the crowd in a way that seemed like he was talking just to you. At one point, he had everyone turn on the flashlight on their cellphones and, with the houselights down, a sea of lights lit up the room culminating in what might be my favorite moment of the night. Concertgoers seated on the side had the opportunity for up-close-and-personal time with the singer as he climbed up ramps to entice his fans to dance with him.
Maluma is currently touring the US with several shows still left. Whether you speak Spanish, English, Chinese, or Italian, he and he show are definitely something you absolutely cannot miss.