Fifteen band members ushered Juan Luis Guerra as the bachata and merengue warhorse set foot on stage during his third U.S. stop as part of Literal – Juan Luis Guerra y 4.40 Grandes Éxitos Tour at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla..
Guerra performed a collection of classics and new songs from Literal, his 14th studio album which arrived this past May following a five-year pause. The film-styled opening of the show served as an audio-visual journey which introduced the musicians and unveiled the set list on a colorful screen before the Dominican appeared with his usual humble and cheerful demeanor, while the rabid super fanbase was captivated upon first contact.
A sold-out show, the evening kicked off around 9 p.m. with “I Love You More,” the perico ripiao (literally means “ripped parrot” in Spanish) tune — and third single of Literal — which delved into the traditional Dominican fast-moving merengue convoyed by special graphics and quality-designed lighting that brought the crowd to their feet.
The 62-year-old displayed his natural flex lyrical ability and versatile performance clad in a green spring jacket (later replaced by a white Adidas jacket with red stripes) and the habitual beret, which paired well with his raucous sound of merengue and revitalizing attitude.
“Kitipun,” one of the most-liked songs of the summer and lead single of the new album, opened with a rock-like synth beat tunefully harmonizing with his traditional bachata as Guerra played with the audience with a dance step projected on screen before transitioning into an unanticipated rap verse.
Halfway into the show he belted the gospel-tinged “Para Ti,” a nod to his Christian musical keenness and an emotive song equally as appealing injected with purposeful vigor into his slinky bachata and tasteful merengue greatest hits.
The flawless sound of the 4.40 band, directed by the emphatic gestured Janina Rosado, shook the rafters of the mammoth arena during their five-minute interlude of lively horn breaks, jazzy compositions and a metal güiro solo by Juan “Chocolate” De La Cruz.
An evening bursting with new and old-age classic genres like merengue, salsa, bachata and perico ripiao included “Viene a Pedir Mi Mano,” “Ojalá Que Llueva Café,” “Bachata Rosa” (which Guerra performed alongside Juanes), “Woman del Callao,” “Bachata en Fukuoka,” “Frío, Frío,” “Carta de Amor,” “El Niagara En Bicicleta,” “Lampara Para Mis Pies,” “La Bilirrubina” and other hits.
The sold-out engagement of Guerra’s fall tour integrated Colombian ensemble Monsieur Periné as opening act, the Bogota-based group known for mixing Afro-Colombian beats with Latin and European sounds.