Shakira gyrates in place

Shakira brought her The Sun Comes Out tour to a full house in Oakland Friday night and while it was an improvement over her last local appearance in 2006, the show was satisfying but not really exciting. Perhaps some of this was due to the singer coming out more than an hour and a half later than the start time of 8:00, leaving the crowd with little to do but mull around wondering if they had time to get another beer. When the lights finally went down, Shakira entered from the back of the arena singing "Pienso en Ti" from 1996's Pies Descalzos dressed in a hooded fuchsia ensemble, making the tiny Colombiana easy to follow as she made her way to the stage.

I'm ambivalent about this show. The Greek and I had a great time, the crowd was fun and laid back, the sound was decent, and Shakira held the audience in her hand once she finally showed up. But it was a just a show, not an event, and for some reason I have the notion in my head that a Shakira concert should be an event- like a Madonna show.  Musically, Shakira seems to have peaked with 2005's Fijacion Oral Vol. 1. The phenomenal success of "Hips Don't Lie" aside, nothing she's released since then has captured the unique vision abundantly on display in that album. Friday night's setlist had a number of weak tunes scattered through it, including the horrible Celine Dion-ish "Underneath Your Clothes," "Whenever, Wherever" and the lame closer "Waka Waka." An acoustic version of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" was interesting, but "Master of Puppets" or "Enter Sandman" would have been much more fun. Highlights from my seat were "La Tortura," "Ciega Sordomuda" and "Las de la Intuicion."
"Ojas Asi" and "Si Te Vas" were performed with energy by her topnotch band, but Shakira seems like she doesn't know how to keep these staples of her set fresh so they had a going-through-the-motions quality about them. Too bad, because they're great tunes. One of the biggest pop stars in the world seems like she's in a bit of a rut right now. She can probably keep doing tours like this and releasing fun but not great albums every couple of years and still keep her popularity, but the strength of her past work makes me want to see her deliver a more challenging and mature show at this stage of her career. Maybe it's too much to expect from a pop singer, but Shakira's the one who created the expectations and yet it seems like she's already peaked. Oh well- thank goodness Lady Gaga's coming back in a bit and Paulina Rubio will hopefully hit the road again in a couple of years after she has her baby.

The crowd went expectantly apeshit for "Hips Don't Lie."  Speaking of hips, Shakira looked great, blonde extensions aside.  At least some things remain the same. There are additional photos from the show you can view in the Beastly Pics.