Maluma is just about delayed , between fifteen and twenty minutes, when Dirty Diana starts thundering from the speakers and the countdown in neon-green numbers starts. Michael Jackson is Maluma's great role model, and although he may never become the king of pop, he is at least the prince of reggaeton.
His mix of just reggaeton, salsa, latin trap and pop, his eye-catching and poster boy qualities and collaborations with stars like Ricky Martin, Shakira, Madonna and Steve Aoki has given him a host of mega hits, Grammy nominations and more Instagram followers than Lady Gaga .
When he finally comes out on the Globe stage , smiling from ear to ear, the cheer knows no bounds. The stands swing from the first drum and thousands of mobile phones are raised against the sky. Ten years ago, a Colombian artist had not even thought of such a large Swedish arena, but post-Despacito, after Latinopop's victory train around the world, ticket sellers have every reason to be optimistic. Singing in English is no longer a requirement to become a world star.
But if Maluma's music is trendy, his stage show is astonishingly outdated. Of course, pyro, smoke and laser never go out of time. But as soon as Maluma managed to push up the mood in the ceiling with just fire and grenades and hits like Vente pa 'ca or Borro cassette, the party is killed by various bland middle acts. Acoustic music from the band for several minutes, long electric guitar solos from which the salsa lovers can hardly be impressed, or - worst of all - several parts from an animated sci-fi movie starring Maluma. Think spaceships, sunglasses, star wars music and zero action.
The female background dancers are skilled and perfectly in sync, but unfortunately they have received a murderous uninspired strip club choreography drained of all the joy that only gives the impression of women's bodies as props.
Fortunately, there is the audience. Young boys and older ladies - it dances everywhere. The salsa pros and the reggaeton gnomes on the floor and up among the rows of chairs offer a show that is rarely seen, with a love for the music that fades in tempo.
Not only are Latinos in the Globe , but they are many. Maluma raises the volume to max when he asks: "Are there any Chileans in the house, can I hear the Peruvians, hay colombianos en la casa?". As he sets out on the stage's long tongue, fans throw up his various flags to him and he carries them, to their great delight, around his neck. A beautiful picture of how much he means to many Swedish exillatinos: their mega star who, despite being so big, still sings exclusively in Spanish.
Even more boring then, that it is precisely the song that is missing most of all. It is not until almost halfway in, on the slow, sobbing hit at 11 PM, that we hear that he can actually sing. Otherwise, there is a constant blurry echo over the microphone that makes his voice almost completely disappear. And far too often he surrenders the singing totally to the background singers and the audience.
Cuatro babys, his most controversial song accused of sexism and misogyny, ignores Maluma in the Stockholm play. However, we hear Felice los 4, his summer pop gem with reggaeton drums about a happy infidelity situation where all four are happy and happy (!). Then he flexes the vocal cords again and lets the hit slip into a magical salsa version. A glimpse of how good he can be, if he just wants to.