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November 18, 2017

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Takeaways from Carlos Vives’ Pearl at the Palms concert May 5

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Carlos Vives performs at the Pearl at the Palms on May 5, 2017

Vallenato signer Carlos Vives became a household name in his home country of Colombia for his acting in the 1980s, and won his first Grammy Award in 2002. Now a 13-time Grammy winner (11 Latin Grammys, Two Grammys), Vives is basking in the success of his latest hit, “La Bicicleta,” which took home “Song of the Year” and “Record of the Year” at last year’s Latin Grammys in Las Vegas.

Exuding an unwavering vibrancy from the second he walked on the Pearl at the Palms stage last Friday, the 55-year-old had the sold-out crowd of 2,000 on its feet in his first Vegas show since last November at T-Mobile Arena. Assisted by accordion-strumming second-man Christian Camilo, the black T-shirt and matching black pants-clad Vives shimmied, stepped, salsa-ed and sometimes rode a bicycle on stage through crowd-favorite songs like “Fruta Fresca,” “La Gota Fria,” “Al Filo De Tu Amor,” and “Volvi A Nacer.” Vives’ 21-song setlist lasting nearly 90 minutes felt more like 45, thanks to its spontaneity and the crowd’s constant involvement. It included two separate performances of “La Bicicleta” – one to open the show and another to conclude a three-song encore – with the lyrics of co-writer Shakira splashed on a jumbo screen behind Vives.

The only thing that would have made the otherwise flawless Las Vegas show Friday even better would have been the presence of Shakira, who also missed Vives’ Latin Grammys performance for “personal reasons.”

Before her, and other Colombian stars like J. Balvin, Maluma and Juanes, it was Vives leading Colombia’s charge to the top of the Spanish-speaking music world. And nearly three decades into his singing career, the decorated musician showed Friday he’s still at his peak.

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