It's taken me a while to get this posted but here it is now.
Chicago June 3, 2017
Chicago was the first stop for Enrique’s 2017 American tour. I flew in the day before and Lynn met me at the airport then we met Nanette when she flew in. We proceeded to the hotel in an airport shuttle and we were delighted to find out our hotel was right next to the venue. A walk across the parking lot and we would be right there at the VIP entrance.
On Sat. we took a boat tour of Chicago and had ice cream downtown. Then we went back to our hotel. It was time to get ready for the concert. Lynn and I chose which “Enrique t-shirt” we would wear. Nanette already knew she wanted to wear the one he signed for her. We figured out which bag to take for memorabilia and which purse. We wanted to have everything we needed but not a lot of extras to have to keep track of. We didn't know what kind of goodies came with the VIP package.
When we were all ready, we headed for the VIP pick up destination, which was at the box office building, across the street from the venue. We saw a line had already formed at the designated time. But the line was not moving. So we stood in the hot sun waiting for our turn to pick up our stuff.
I’m not going to go into too much detail, but we were disappointed by the VIP treatment. We spent way too much time standing in line throughout all the preshow activities. Some of this was outside and we got sunburned. However, there were several positives. The preshow buying opportunity was awesome! No large crowds. No long lines. It was quick and easy. The food they offered at the “party” was good. We had noticed when we were inside the venue for pictures and backstage tour, that the seats in our section were not numbered as the venue map showed when we were buying our tickets. We, as well as several others, brought this to the attention of the people running the VIPs. Eventually we were told if our seats were not right when we got to our seats, we should call the phone number in the VIP email. Happily they were corrected by the time we took our seats so that was great! And I have to say these were among the best seats we ever had. Of everything offered in the VIP experience, this was most important to us.
When we picked up our tickets, we were given a lanyard with a VIP tag, a large tote bag, a souvenir ticket, a refrigerator magnet and a water bottle. Everything but the water bottle had a picture of Enrique and Pitbull. The water bottle had their names and VIP on it. The merchandise was okay. That is not the reason we got the VIP tickets.
The next major disappointment was when we entered the venue to see the concert. We went through a second security check. This surprised us since we had already been through one. This time we were told our cameras were not allowed in the venue and they had to go “back to the car”. The venue did not offer to check them; if we didn't take the cameras away, they would be confiscated. I don't know if I would have cared to give up my camera, but I should have been given the opportunity. What if we had not been at a hotel across the parking lot? For fans who drove to the venue, okay. But if you had nowhere to take your camera, it could have been an agonizing decision.
After I gave my camera to Nanette who was taking it back to the hotel room, (we had no car there!), they didn’t even look in my small purse and I managed to take in a small camera that I had brought in case I got tired arms from taking pictures with the new large camera. However, I never took it out. I was afraid to. I didn’t see any other cameras, just cell phones. And security was at every row inside the railing around the catwalk. I was 2 seats in from the catwalk. I was afraid they might take my camera or escort me out of the venue. Not being able to take pics with our cameras was the major disappointment of the night. Cell phone pictures are just not the same. (As a side note, I know some of the other venues have said cameras will be allowed so we shall see.)
When I said the seats were among the best we ever had, part of that was because we didn’t have a lot of heads in our way blocking our view, like we usually do. Lynn and I are short . . . both under 5’2”. Most of the time, it’s hard for us to see and take pictures because of taller people being in front of us. But for this show, people spread out and some moved to the railing at the stage. We had a great view. . . . but no cameras to capture the moment!
After Pitbull’s performance, that’s when the magic of the evening started for me. We could tell from being in the seating area before the concert that there was something different about the end of the catwalk but we didn’t know what it was until the show began.
So . . . the lights were down. And suddenly we heard the beginning of Subeme la Radio! I was so excited! A new song first thing! It had been 3 years since I’d been to a concert so I was hoping to hear some new songs that I’d never seen live before and right away that happened! Enrique always surprises us. So I was looking around, did he pop up in the middle of the stage as he has sometimes done? No, he wasn’t there. Did he enter the stage from the side? No, he wasn’t there but he was singing. Where was he? Finally I looked down the catwalk, which was behind me from row 4 and I saw him. It seemed like Lynn was still looking for him so I tapped her and pointed. Yes, he surprised us. Then he got on the catwalk conveyer belt and was transported up the catwalk, and he then walked down and back up he’d come. It was a really fun new prop for the show. Enrique seemed to be getting a big kick out of his new toy.
Here is the set list. It’s not completely in order but I think I did get all the songs.
Subeme la radio
I'm a freak
I like how it feels
Duele el corazon
Cuando me enamoro
be With you
Knocking on Heaven's door
I like it
I have to say, "I’m a Freak" is not a favorite of mine. But seeing it performed live, I did like it “more than usual.” “Tonight” kind of falls in the same category. When it’s live, it just grabs me more than usual.
There were 4 songs I have never seen performed live before and for this reason, I LOVED the set list. Subeme la Radio, Duele el Corazon, Knocking on Heaven’s Door and El Perdon. I loved all of these. I’ve seen videos of some of them but there is nothing like seeing it in person.
Bailando is always a highlight of the show. You just can’t stand still for that song. It makes you want to move!
If I was to have one complaint, it was that there were too many songs performed in the back, on the back stage. He sang 3: Loco, Cuando Me Enamoro, and Knocking on heaven’s Door. He was at the end of the catwalk wearing a hoodie for Hero. It was the one that’s blue with the bright blue inside, actually my favorite of the Enrique hoodies. Here’s what happened in Hero. A girl climbed on stage shortly after the song began and Enrique was really sweet to her but it kind of stopped the song. She was on stage too long, in my opinion. Then he no sooner sent her back to her seat when a second girl got on stage. She was not on as long. We know Enrique wants to reach out to all fans and we love him for that. But fans in the back can see him even when he’s on the front stage. Fans in the front, who paid the most for their tickets, can’t see him in the back. I think one song sung in the back would be better.
At one point in the show, it seemed like Enrique may have become emotional. His face was all wet and I saw a pic that looked like there was a tear trickling down. One of the disadvantages of not having my camera is I didn’t take many pictures and I don’t remember which song it was. I saw it clearly on the screen because he was not in the area where our seats were at the time. I thought it might be El Perdon but I’m not sure. If anyone was there and knows, please post the information.
I was happy to see that Be With you is still included in the show. It’s one of my favorites. I also was happy that Cuando me Enarmoro was back in the show. For the last tour, I don’t think it was.
Bailamos, Escape, and I like how it feels are always great concert songs. Loco was performed with Celia and they danced, as always. It always gets the crowd going as each fan imagines herself in Celia’s place. And there was lots of screaming going on during the show and during this song.
There was something very unusual about this concert. Usually Enrique interacts with fans. It’s one of the things that keep fans excited to attend a live performance. He didn’t really do that this time. It was like he wasn’t even looking at the audience the way he usually does. I don’t know if it was first show of the tour nerves or something else but we sure did miss the excitement of that aspect of the concert. Everything else was great.
Pitbull joined Enrique for the last song, I like it, and there were the usual balloons and confetti. I would have liked to catch a balloon but none came near enough for me to grab or even touch. Some came near but taller people around me pushed them away. That’s another disadvantage of being short.
Although there were a couple of disappointments, we left feeling happy that we had been there and seen our favorite artist perform live and excited that we have tickets to see him several more times.
Here is one of my pictures. And a link to all of them:
Happily, the VIP routine has improved from city to city. Maybe someone was reading your story, Linda! There's still some annoying wait time but it isn't too bad. Whenever you have a crowd of people, there's going to be wait time. But the needless wait time has been pretty much eliminated. I enjoyed your story, re-living it. Loved the pictures, too. Pretty good for a cell phone! Thank you for sharing.
Lynn, you are right that some wait time in line is necessary when there's a crowd. And I would expect that. What I didn't expect is how much of our pre-show time was spent standing in line. I am very happy to hear there has been Improvement and I look forward to seeing it put into practice in Austin in September.