Thursday, March 24, 2016 | 2 a.m.
A screaming audience of flag-waving, Latin dancing fans welcomed Colombian Reggaeton artist Maluma to the Embassy nightclub stage late Sunday evening/early Monday morning as the 22-year-old rising star opened with his hit single “Borro Cassette” (“Clearing Your Mind”) to roaring applause just after 1:30 a.m.
“These are true fans, right here, who pack the house on a Sunday night,” Maluma told the crowd in Spanish. “This is it! We’re in Las Vegas!”
The ovation from the nearly sold-out house of about 800 fans, the large majority of which were women, was the loudest Maluma would receive for his hourlong Embassy show until the end, when he played “Borro Cassette” for an encore.
Standing on a center stage among the dancing and shouting Las Vegas fans, Maluma wore a black shirt and black jeans with a gold medallion chain, gold watch and matching, all-gold Reebok sneakers as he shimmied, spun and danced through songs from his 2015 sophomore album, “Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy.”
The album reached the top spot on Billboard’s Latin Albums chart in October. Of his 15-song setlist, “El Tiki” (“The Tiki”), “El Perdedor” (“The Loser”) and 2016 radio hit “Desde Esa Noche” (“Since That Night”) kept the crowd engaged.
Other songs, like “La Misma Moneda” (“The Same Token”), “Carnaval” (“Carnival”) and “La Curiosidad” (“The Curiosity”) were not as loudly received.
Forty-five minutes into the Embassy show, Maluma, lifting a glass of pink champagne, asked the crowd, perhaps rhetorically, if they wanted more music.
After nearly a dozen Colombian flags were raised from the cheering crowd, he performed for another 20 minutes before an encore, then disappeared backstage just after 2:40 a.m.
While most of the Embassy crowd for the Maluma show, which opened late Sunday night with local opening acts, stood on the floor level, about 100 fans lined staircases seeking an aerial view of the stage.
Nearly 100 others sat smoking hookah and dancing salsa from an upper-level section in a fusion of Middle Eastern and Latin American cultures.
“The Latin and Middle Eastern communities are close because our cultures are very similar at their core,” said Zaher Fakih, Embassy’s founder and president who hails from Lebanon. “We learn from each other, and this is music we all enjoy.”