Friday, December 24, 2010

Supporting Shakira: A Truly Surreal Story

So a few weeks on Twitter I joking asked if the legions of hip music types looking for Arcade Fire could get me one for Shakira. I was painfully excited about her incoming Dublin gig (her first time performing here) and didn't have the funds for a ticket. Suddenly I ended up on the guest list courtesy of Brian Spollen and considered myself the luckiest Shakira fan in the world. Then something amazing happened, Brian asked me if I would DJ before Shakira. That's right. I played it cool on the phone (I still can't believe how cool) but inside this was my face:

(photo courtesy of Peter Fingleton at

Anyway, before I know it I'm at the 02 waiting to DJ before Shakira. It was a surreal moment, hanging around one of the biggest venues in the country and trying not to freak out. Before I knew it I'm on stage in front of thousands of people. NO BIG DEAL. It was great fun although I wasn't my usual "raving behind the decks self" due to my crippling nerves. Still, the crowd were lovely and suitably enthusiastic. In case I had forgotten both Dynamite by Taio Cruz and Firework by Katy Perry make people go absolutely mental when you play them. Always good to know.

Shakira herself was suitably brilliant. I've been a fan for years so getting to see her perform was a real treat. She is clearly made for the stage. The stage set up was quite minimal but you wouldn't have noticed so busy was Shakira flying around the place.  She threw herself about the stage, bouncing over to enthusiastic audience members, gyrating in a manner that would put most starlets to shame and also gleefully moving between big hits and album cuts.

Shakira is clearly a star who has engaged with the English speaking territories on her own terms. Sure she wheels out the hits that we all know but the mixed, up for it audience went just as crazy for tracks like La Tortura and new tunes like Gordita (from her recent album Sale El Sol). The show was perfectly judged, starting with the star walking through the crowd and ending on a triumphant note with fans joining her on stage to perform the Waka Waka. In between you could see the potent mix of sexuality, business saavy, showmanship and songwriting craft that have made her on the most successful artists in the world.

I could go on but needless to say the evening was pretty incredible and a week later I still can't believe it happened. Big thank you to Brian and all at MCD for giving me the opportunity. And if you ever get the chance to see Shakira live, do not miss it!

Big big thank you to photographer Ruth Medjber for taking the shots of me playing and for letting me use them here. Check out Ruth's work on her blog and in Hot Press.

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