Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Plug for the Unplugged

I finally received the Ricky Martin MTV Unplugged DVD this morning. I had read a lot of good comments about this acoustic set on the internet, and yes, since I am such a big fan of the artist in question, it didn't take me more than five seconds to head on down to the website to order my copy - five weeks ago!

My initial impression was one of mild surprise as none of his more recent works made it to the DVD (or CD). No "Livin' La Vida Loca", no "Tal Vez", no "Juramento", no "Dejate Llevar", nada. What made it through were his older songs, in particular, songs from his two most critically acclaimed albums "Vuelve" (Come Back) and "A Medio Vivir" (To Live Halfway), albums which were released before the madness that was Rickymania, before the Grammys, before La Vida Loca, before the one-hit-wonder jokes.

His opening song was the low-key "Gracias Por Pensar En Mi" (Thank You For Thinking Of Me), a song he initially adapated from a poem (A Via Lactea) by an acclaimed Brazillian poet about life with AIDS. This time around, he dedicated the song to all the suffering children in the world. of whom he has been very vocal about especially los niƱos caught in natural disasters like the recent Asian tsunami.

An emotionally charged perfomance of "Asignatura Pendiente" (Pending Assigment) saw Ricky lamenting about the price of fame, something he obviously was able to relate to and the dilemmas and the pain was audibly palpable. The Ricardo Arjona penned track was incidentally the only track from the 2004's "Almas Del Silencio" to be performed here.

A new song "Tu Recuerdo" (Your Memory) which serves as the lead off single from this new set was very warmly performed with the help of guest vocals by exquisite flamenco singer La Mari and executive producer Tommy Torres. He sounds really good here, and the song is much better live than on the full-blown pop recorded version.

He doesn't go too serious though as traces of his trademark hip-swivel that rocked the 1999 Grammys surfaced from time to time, particularly in fan favourites like ""Lola,Lola", "Maria", and my personal favourite, the explosive "La Bomba" (The Bomb), pun intended.

Mid-way through the show, the tempo slowed down as he melted the hearts of his female fans with smouldering renditions of the boleros "Vuelve", "Fuego De Noche, Nieve De Dia" (Fire of Night, Snow of Day) and "Perdido Sin Ti" (I'm Lost Without You). I guess he wanted to show that he was and still is the artist his fans know and loved, that although his image and music have changed over the years, he is still capable of reaching out and touch the hearts of his listeners with just his voice.

Without the techonological wizardry to mask whatever imperfections a singer may possess, the Unplugged session has proven that beneath all that glitz, glamour and that oh-so-pretty-face, Ricky Martin is, first and foremost, an accomplished singer; a performer who is extremely comfortable on stage, possessing a charm and sincerity which he fully utilises to beguile his audience and make this live performance a personal celebration of 20 years of music.


Asther said...

He's just so yummy!

FakawiTribe said...

WTF??? No Shake your Bon Bontot unplugged??
What the hell were the producers thinking?