Enrique Iglesias, Columbus, OH, Palace Theater, Feb. 17, 2004
Maybe the day of the lounge-singing crooner is coming to a close. There was a time when going to a nightclub to see the top singers was what made or broke that club. It wasn’t the food, drinks or clientele, but rather if Sinatra, Vinton or Newton would grace the stage. And when they did grace that stage, every woman within 10 city miles wanted to attend. But slowly, over time, most crooners were pushed west to Las Vegas, as nightclubs in the big cities became more about dancing and the young, versus a swanky night out and the mature. And today, crooners are few and far between, and even acts like Wayne Newton can be seen heading to arenas across the country as Vegas begins to look away from the crooner and into the new millennium. But alas, perhaps the son of a crooner can rewrite history for all those singers who received as many pairs of panties and room keys on stage as the did record sales.

Enrique Iglesias came to Columbus to prove that what his father, Julio, is best known for hasn’t died, but just reshaped itself. Palace Theater was filled with women dressed to the nines, ready and waiting to see the 2003 Latin Grammy Best Male Pop star bless the stage.

When Enrique did sanctify the stage in tight leather pants and even tighter tee, the women were mad with excitement and anticipation. Some screamed and reached as far as their arms could to get as close to the stage as possible, while others could only hold a hand over their mouth to keep from hyperventilating. Iglesias put on an extravagant, if not too short, of a show with flashing lights, handpicked acoustic guitars and full rhythm section. Iglesias came to perform for his fans. Much in the way of his predecessors, Enrique’s look and sultry voice is able to captivate those of the opposite sex in a way that most men can only dream. Whether he was up front swaying his hips and reaching for those outstretched hands or draped over his microphone with a hint of a smile, the fans were mad with lustful energy. *Note to self … become Latin, learn to sing and dance.

And what about the guys in attendance? Well, many were seen dancing in only the way Latinos seem to know, with their ladies beside them and every part of their body in rhythm of the music. The audience quickly became a myriad of sensually moved bodies as many sections looked more like a Salsa club than an upscale downtown theater. But this night was for the ladies, as almost any night is when a crooner is out and gallivanting across the city. Many boyfriends and husbands got to experience the other side of the coin. Where usually it’s the ‘guy’s night out’ with sports and scantily-clad waitresses delivering the drinks, and the wife/girlfriend is at home, this night the roles were reversed. Sure, guys probably don’t get the Enrique fascination. Just like men didn’t get the Sinatra thing. Men all talk of his singing ability, while women talk of a lot more. But although we don’t get it, there is a sneaking suspicion that when all those wives and girlfriends came home from seeing the new-millennium crooners, the men finally got it.

Enrique showed Columbus why he won the Latin performer of the year. His charisma, boyish charm and male sensuous were almost too much. On television, clips of fans passing out at Elvis concerts, and Beatles’ arrivals are always shown. But it seems that those were almost made up or staged. But after seeing the female reaction to Enrique, one can only surmise that those clips are real. And to witness it is almost as exciting as it is scary.