The New York Times’ Ben Ratliff describes the beginning of Jennifer López’s North American tour (with Enrique Iglesias), which took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, this weekend, with terms like meager, dull and “a trudge.” However, he does show some excitement when describing the surprise appearance of the Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel. See excerpts with a link to the full article below:
Four songs into her performance at the Prudential Center here on Friday, Jennifer Lopez, standing in rhinestone gym clothes, absorbed some applause. [. . .] Gracious, in line with industry standards, and dull. Likewise most of her show, the first in the United States of her joint-headlining North American tour with Enrique Iglesias. (This means that both sets run about equal length and that there are two confetti-cannon moments.)
Ms. Lopez’s entrance was ludicrous but funny: eight male dancers in top hats and tails, with walking sticks, singing about “the most beautiful girl of your dreams,” while a cherry picker lowered her, in fur and feathers, from a great height. From then on it was a trudge, even with costume changes and dancing. Ms. Lopez, now 42, showed us what she wanted to show us about her work ethic, her values and her relevance: as a beauty, a mother, a Latina, a romantic, a former Bronx girl and early-’90s hip-hop dancer, and as a pop singer who now makes club tracks, and like so many others, has Lil Wayne and Pitbull rap on them.
Her meager voice is not necessarily, or always, the problem; perhaps it’s more that she’s incurious about making the best of a weakness. She got inside her stage conceits — a boxing ring for the new dance track “Goin’ In,” a nightclub for the ersatz salsa in “Let’s Get Loud” and “Papi” — but not her songs themselves.
She rarely filled up her own music, except perhaps for “Until It Beats No More,” a soft-rock ballad about redemptive love, which she sang hard and in tune. But that song had its own problem: a tonal imbalance between the arrangement’s grandiose, reach-for-the-stars guitar solo and its visual backdrop, pictures of Ms. Lopez in the pool with her young twins on a nice day.
At the end, with a surprise appearance of the reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel, she performed the new single “Follow the Leader.” Wisin y Yandel were once going to be a regular part of this tour, as the first act of three, but dropped out two weeks before it started in Canada, citing “unresolvable issues.” (The Mexican singer Frankie J played the opening slot on Friday.) And in four minutes they raised the competitive energy of the entire performance: stalking, Auto-Tune-crooning, hard-staccato rapping. [. . .]