“Música Latina es música para siempreeeeeee!”
The declaration from Puerto Rican legend Daddy Yankee elicited the loudest cheer of all, a roar of 12,000 people at Phoenix’s Footprint Center. Currently out on his La Última Vuelto World Tour, the artist is packing arenas full of fans eager to see him before he retires from music completely — and he’s sparing no expense.
The show began with a countdown clock that appeared on screens around the arena, but really it was more like a pressure cooker. While some held their breath, others started screaming at the one minute mark until the crowd collectively shouted, “Tres, dos, uno!” and all attention turned to the stage, where it looked like a plane was flying in. And who else disembarked once the plane on screen “landed” but the Legendaddy himself?
Cloaked in glittering gold, Daddy Yankee launched into “CAMPEÓN” from his catwalk high above the stage. The track was released this year, but anyone who didn’t already know the words quickly caught on, singing “campeón, campeón, campeón” along with him. Knowing all the words was a point of pride amongst the fans, and their love for reggaetón brought them together: young and old, upper deck and floor seats, dominicano y colombiano.
On stage, the entire scene changed with every song. La Última Vuelto World Tour might have the best use of screens in the industry right now, creating hyper realistic backdrops from an underwater seascape (“AGUA”) to a color-changing apartment building (“RUMBATÓN”) in tandem with fire, confetti, and a team of backup dancers. Collaborators also appeared on screen as guest appearances, and the crowd went wild for Bad Bunny and Pitbull. After more than three decades in the business, Daddy Yankee has built quite a network and showcased it in his 33-song setlist — a lengthy one, but even the fans in the highest of high heels didn’t dare to sit down.
The songs handpicked for this tour were a collection featuring the best of the best, but it was the last third that really brought the house down. “Despacito” into “La Despedida”, followed by “Limbo”, “Con Calma”, and “Dura” was a nonstop fiesta as fans waved their flags and danced in the aisles.
Just when a lesser crowd would have run out of energy, this one found its second wind for the final track. Daddy Yankee thanked us for his robust career and for proving that Latin music is forever, bathed in light by the fans ready to record the song that launched him into stardom. The intro was drowned out by the screams, but “Gasolina” would be recognizable anywhere, at any time. Flames erupted from the stage, and the King of Reggaetón basked in the adoration before his departure.
In his place, one word glittered on screen: LEGENDADDY.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Taylor Knauf