Marc Anthony spiced with salsa the second night of the Viña del Mar International Song Festival and set the evening on fire with a tremendous burst of Caribbean rhythms, wild dancing and an outreach to the crowd too warm, friendly and personal to be nothing but an act.
The New York-born salsa star, who came onstage at 1:27 a.m. Friday following the Mexican trio Camila, came down from the platform where his band took their place and in his dark aviator glasses posed looking very serious before the scenic background of the Quinta Vergara park, where the festival is being held.
But any hint of seriousness evaporated as he lifted his voice and launched a tsunami of hip-swinging dance moves and glances of "you-know-what-I-mean" complicity with the 15,000 spectators packed into the arena.
Leaving his dreamier songs for some other time and place, the artist, dressed in black and with his shirt slightly open, rolled out a repertoire seasoned with salsa for all tastes that got fans to their feet and made a cold night of the Southern Hemisphere summer hot.
"Hubo Alguien" (There Was Someone), "Tengo Tanto Miedo de Perderte" (I'm So Afraid of Losing You), "Hasta Ayer" (Until Yesterday) and the popular "Valio la Pena" (It Was Worth It) turned the show into a party with Marc Anthony as the master of ceremonies in perfect harmony with the audience and with his band.
But the most emotional moment of the night came with the singing of "Y Como Es El" (And the Way He Is) by Spain's Jose Luis Perales, who was in the front row of the audience as a member of the festival's International and Folk Music Jury.
Cheered on by the audience, Jose Luis Perales went up onstage and vocalized the number together with Marc Anthony.
The Spaniard, filled with pride, and an equally moved Marc Anthony hugged and bowed to one another, as fans went wild over the improvised duet.
After an hour and a half of the show, Marc Anthony chose "Tu Amor Me Hace Bien" (Your Love Does Me Good) to wind up his performance, take home the prizes he had been awarded in the competition, and leave the feeling that when something good is presented with devotion and dedication, it's going to be twice as good.