"Thank you for making it happen," cooed the Colombian pop siren Shakira to her fans; "it" being her first tour date in Scotland. Presumably they didn't have as much to do with it as the event staff, her road crew and the car company whose sponsored branding adorned the articulated lorry-come-billboard parked out front, but the few thousand who had turned up deserved credit on such an awful night. Deepening snow outside and the theme of this T he Sun Comes Out tour sat uneasily alongside one another.
Such conditions probably contributed to the venue being under capacity, but Shakira ploughed on through the evening with breezy confidence. A set laced with teasing pop sexuality entertained and amused, but it also pulled off the neat trick – for a Grammy-winning, multi-million-selling global artist – of genuinely surprising more than once. As an artist who maintains dual English and Spanish-language pop careers, many of her show's finest moments would have been unknown to a British audience.
The singer made her entrance along the stage's extended catwalk, singing the tender ballad "Pienso En Ti" and pressing flesh as she went in a head-to-toe pink lace dress like a kind of new rave Eva Peron. As false starts go, it was masterful – on reaching the stage, the gown was ripped off in favour of a gold chain vest and tight black trousers, and the grinding Latin disco of "Why Wait" kicked in. This set the tone, with the blonde star pole-dancing her way through the soft rocker "Te Dejo Madrid" and teaching four female volunteers from the audience a pneumatic booty shake as a coda to "Whenever, Wherever" (which incorporated an unexpected burst of EMF's "Unbelievable").
The "Eternal Flame"-like balladry of "Underneath Your Clothes" and recent hit "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" were anticipated crowd-pleasers, but far more satisfying were an acoustic mariachi band interlude featuring a Spanish version of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters", the creditably weird "Gordita" – featuring vocals from the Puerto Rican hip-hop outfit Calle 13, appearing as a back projection on a giant 3D face suspended above the stage – and the pounding electro disco of "Las de la Intuicion". Soullessness is an occupational hazard with such arena spectaculars, but this one fought harder than most to bring a bit of sunshine and real personality back to the experience.Reuse content