Review: Eight years later, Shakira makes a San Diego comeback, and it was worth the wait

Grammy-winning Colombian singer Shakira performs during the Los Angeles stop of her El Dorado world tour at the Forum.
Grammy-winning Colombian singer Shakira performs during the Los Angeles stop of her El Dorado world tour at the Forum.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

She plays the keyboard. She plays the electric guitar to the rhythm of heavy rock. She plays the drums. And she dances — wow, how she dances. She moves her hips, and those hips definitely don’t lie.

On Wednesday night, before more than 15,000 at the Valley View Casino Center, the 41-year-old Colombian singer ran from one side of the stage to the other, climbed up staircases and, in between, danced and shook her hips.

All with precision and energy.

Shakira was finally back on stage again in San Diego. It was hard to beat the last concert she gave on this stage in October of 2010, but what she brought on Wednesday definitely did that.

Shakira’s energy didn’t stop throughout her 90-minute concert in San Diego, a stop that’s part of the El Dorado Tour, her sixth world tour that’s in support of her 11th studio album, 2017’s “El Dorado.”

Several things have changed in eight years. Shakira now lives in Europe, and for several years, she has considerably slowed the pace of her career to care for her two children — ages 5 and 3 — with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué.

The audience, mostly Hispanics of several generations, applauded everything, and all night couldn’t help but and take pictures, video and selfies with their phones. In the elaborate show that included, among other surprises, laser lights, confetti cannon shots and fireworks, Shakira served up a good balance of songs, mostly rhythmic and all danceable.

Those who came to see Shakira move her hips were not disappointed: the Colombian danced with her characteristic moves. Taken as a whole, Wednesday night’s concert, even with all the dancing, showcased why Shakira continues to be one of the most versatile singers and songwriters of the Latin-pop genre.

On Wednesday night, Shakira delivered 26 songs — a combination of great hits such as “Si Te Vas,” “Inevitable,” “La Tortura,” and more recent songs such as “Perro Fiel,” “Me Enamoré,” “Amarillo” and “Chantaje.”

Despite all those songs — dug deep from a catalog that dates back to 1988 — her concert Wednesday did have less singing than in past performances. Instead, she paused several times to let the audience sing along to her greatest hits. But still, there was passion, and Shakira, in her gestures and the ways she connected with the audience, showed great maturity. (Reminder: The singer had to suspend her tour originally scheduled for February because she had vocal cord problems.)

At one point during the concert, the native of Barranquilla and now a resident of Barcelona, thanked the audience for their support and said it was a “miracle” to be on tour. Her voice is still there, and her moves filled the stage with her trademark dancing, complemented by good musicians who know their instruments.

The result: a polished show that kept the audience alert and entertained — an audience that came from near and far. “I came from Minnesota,” one girl said.

The El Dorado tour began on June 3 in Europe and traveled to Turkey and Lebanon before reaching the United States. There’s one more stop in California — in San Jose — today. On Oct. 11, the tour continues on to Mexico and several South American countries before ending Nov. 3 in Colombia.

Tickets for the San Diego concert went on sale more than a year ago, and then the concert was delayed another seven months. But at the end of the night Wednesday, there was no doubt: It was totally worth the wait.

O’Hara is the editorial director of Hoy San Diego.