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Gloria Estefan

Estefan -- an artist who clearly has evolved during the half-decade -- mostly plodded through an uneven set of Spanish tracks and top 10 hits while surprisingly lacking the enthusiasm of a touring artist seemingly in her element. Huge video screens that flanked the stage remained focused on Estefan, but she still failed to make even the slightest connection with the crowd, most of whom remained firmly seated.

With:
Band: Jorge Casas, Clay Ostwald, Tim Mitchell, Rene Toledo, Edwin Bonilla, Daniel Lopez, Olbin Burgos, Randy Barlow, Teddy Mulet, Kenny Anderson, Tom Timko, Doug Michaels, Rita Quintero, Donna Allen, Juan Quinonez, Jorge Noriega, Filpa Torres, Isidro Oliva, Santos Gonzalez, Julian Nieves, Luis Rodriguez.

Estefan — an artist who clearly has evolved during the half-decade — mostly plodded through an uneven set of Spanish tracks and top 10 hits while surprisingly lacking the enthusiasm of a touring artist seemingly in her element. Huge video screens that flanked the stage remained focused on Estefan, but she still failed to make even the slightest connection with the crowd, most of whom remained firmly seated.

The singer’s recent Epic Records release “Destiny” which the tour is supporting, is similarly reflective of an evolving artist with tunes such as “Along Came You,” a paean to Estefan’s 19-month-old daughter, and the inspirational “Reach”– notables of both the show and disc. Estefan’s last two offerings, “Mi Tierra” and “Abriendo Puertas,” were Spanish-language offerings.

Estefan’s support crew of musicians, dancers and backing singers also lacked any standouts, in contrast to earlier performances that boasted a then-unknown singer named Jon Secada whose charisma and vocal prowess consistently wowed the crowd as part of the evening’s efforts.

Even a midset effort by Estefan’s quartet of backup singers, who engaged in some impressive vocal gymnastics on such nuggets as Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade” and a roaring working of the Temptations classic “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”– while Estefan changed clothes offstage — mostly failed to ignite.

But Estefan was smooth throughout the show, as her vocals always nailed the high notes and showed no signs of yielding to the rigors of a multicity tour. The sound quality was unusually pristine for the cavernous venue. (She plays the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim on Tuesday).

Gloria Estefan

Production: Gloria Estefan (Forum; 18,135 seats; $ 65 top) Promoted by Avalon Presents and Nederlander Concerts. Reviewed Aug. 8, 1996. With all the precision and spontaneity of a Space Shuttle launch, Gloria Estefan and her mammoth roadshow rolled into the Forum on Thursday and glided through more than 2 1/2 hours of her bilingual repertoire. While the sold-out light and sound extravaganza supporting the diminutive singer was viscerally and aurally engaging, and her repertoire has expanded, her show offered little new in its presentation since her last Southland visit in 1991.

With: Band: Jorge Casas, Clay Ostwald, Tim Mitchell, Rene Toledo, Edwin Bonilla, Daniel Lopez, Olbin Burgos, Randy Barlow, Teddy Mulet, Kenny Anderson, Tom Timko, Doug Michaels, Rita Quintero, Donna Allen, Juan Quinonez, Jorge Noriega, Filpa Torres, Isidro Oliva, Santos Gonzalez, Julian Nieves, Luis Rodriguez.

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