Colombian rockstar Juanes showed ACL festivalgoers Friday night exactly why Spanish-language rock should be included in more major U.S. festivals. The 19-time Latin Grammy winner packed the Austin Ventures stage with an enthusiastic crowd who didn’t shy away from singing aloud to every hit song.
Juanes, who was recently nominated for two more Latin Grammys, performed songs from his latest album “Loco de Amor” including “Mil Pedazos,” which was nominated for best rock song. He pumped up the crowd when he took off his denim jacket, leaving his famous “camisa negra” or black shirt on while jumping around stage during the song “La Luz.”
While crowds danced and waved flags, at least one rowdy (probably intoxicated) fan was kicked out after he wouldn’t stop pushing the people around him and hit a couple of festgoers in the head as he waved his hands in the air. After security was called, they ejected him from the show just as Juanes was singing his hit “Mala Gente” or bad people. Fans cheered at his departure.
The incident didn’t take away from the show’s festive energy, which featured classic Juanes songs such as “A Dios Le Pido,” “Otra Noche,” “La Paga” and “Me Enamora.” For many of those songs he changed the arrangements, giving fans slightly different versions of the beloved tunes from his noted repertoire.
In the past three years, Austin has become a regular stop on Juanes’ tours. He performed during South by Southwest in 2012, at Formula One Fan Fest in 2013 and returned this year with more new music. Having seen all three shows, it’s easy to see why the international star grabs fans from all walks of life despite any language barriers. His charisma, guitar skills (let’s not forget Juanes used to be a metal head) and showmanship all work together to bring unforgettable polished performances.
Although Juanes typically doesn’t sing in English, he did end his show with an impressive rendition of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” and then went right into the song every fan was waiting for “La Camisa Negra.” Fans hung on every note and chanted for an encore, but if Juanes continues to keep Austin on his list of tour stops, hopefully we’ll see him very soon.