Article and Photos by Andrés Alvarado
Boricuas were in the house! Okay, that might be an oversimplification. How about this? It was a party with plenty of Hispanic zest — and Mr. Residente presided over the ceremonies. Atlanta’s ritzy-cool Buckhead Theatre sat packed wall-to-wall as this Puerto Rican icon stormed into town. An urban music pioneer of sorts, Residente has established himself roughly over the last 14 years as a highly respected member of the Latin music industry through a plethora of noteworthy efforts; that include his new solo album, a bevy of Calle 13 hits, and, of course, those 24 combined Grammy Awards.
The extravaganza revs up and lets loose at around nine o’clock. Residente, decked in beach-themed tank top and backwards cap, is accompanied on stage by his band — more like an orchestra, in all honesty. With the mood set, pandemonium kicks in, Residente is a man on a mission to please the deafening masses that clamor for his anthems. Let the celebration begin.
On stage, Residente is a pumped-up cat. Fist bumps and the hands-in-the-air motion are part of his trademark. Energetic stomps far and wide as his microphone delivers the goods. The remaining band-mates brought each tune to life through a field of instruments finely tuned and played — which included the usual suspects like guitars, bass, and drums, but also bongos, mandolins, and keys. For their part, the audience is lively and vivacious. Flags of several Latin nations decorate the view and highlight a sense of pride. Beer flowing nonstop and chants of each passing Residente chorus makes the Atlanta faithful just as much a part of the show as the headliner. Basically speaking, Residente runs the pageant, but everyone partakes.
All said and done, Residente is a man of his people. A bonafide show-runner and quite the character. Whether the man has you gently waving your arms side-to-side to “Vuleta Al Mundo,” head-bobbing to his new material, or boogieing to classic “Atrevete-te-te,” Residente is a real deal virtuoso. An artist that works his crowd with several aces up his sleeve — and we are just happy to be there when he uses them. Cheers!