Still sexy at 70: Julio Iglesias gets hearts pounding in Dubai
Twenty four hours after his much-anticipated one-night-only concert at the Dubai World Trade Centre was called-off at the eleventh hour due to a technical glitch, legendary Latino singer Julio Iglesias stormed back on Friday night to charm the pants off a sell-out crowd with stellar renditions of some of the most beautiful love songs every written.
The Spanish heart-throb, who turns 70 this year, was in fine voice as he relied on his trademark light, lyric tenor and generous use of vibrato to deliver classics like ‘Crazy’, ‘Nathalie’, ‘Je n’ai pas change’, ‘Let It Be Me’, ‘When You Tell Me That Your Love Me’ and ‘To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before’.
With over 300 million albums sold Iglesias has a vast repertoire of music, which would take a lifetime to fully explore. So it was interesting to note that he depended, for the greater part, on his Spanish and French catalogue of hits to entertain his Middle Eastern fans at the two-hour concert.
“Tonight was going to be a very special night, because there are so many different nationalities at this concert,” he told his enthusiastic audience. “Hello to the people from India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Italy, France, Britain, Lebanon and Dubai.
“You are so lucky to be living here in this beautiful city among so many different nationalities. I once passed through Dubai many, many years ago, and somebody told me that one day something special was going to happen to Dubai. And it has, this is one of the most beautiful cities that I have seen.”
Iglesias made admirable use of his charm to keep the audience entertained all night with his infectious humour, illuminating anecdotes and sheer brilliance on the microphone. However, I would have to admit that the sound quality in parts of the Shaikh Rashid Auditorium truly let the singer down on the softer ballads only to be rescued during his trademark up-tempo flamenco-tinged chansons like the seventies hit Mammy Blue that has been covered by the likes of Demis Roussos, Celine Dion and Lara Fabian.
Despite his age Iglesias showed that he can still embrace a melody with a rare tenderness to have the women in his audience swooning in exaltation.
Cries of ‘we love you Julio’ frequently rent the air as male members on the audience made unsuccessful attempts to restrain their partners who seemed only to have eyes for the incredibly handsome man in the spotlight, who for the most part, stood almost motionless, holding the microphone his left hand and using his right hand to express a thought or emotion.
Particular highlights on the night included Iglesias’ version of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, from his 1970 multi-platinum selling triple album All Things Must Pass, an upbeat adaptation of the George Michael debut solo single Careless Whisper and his own monster hit Je n’ai pas change (I Haven’t Changed).
It was a mixed effort and Iglesias, who has an extraordinary ability to phrase a song, was on fairly sold ground. As a vocal stylist Iglesias showed that he is still capable of handling almost any kind of material, even if he does handle them pretty much the same way – exhibiting flawless technique and complete emotional involvement.
It was 43 years ago that he had his first single with the Eurovision song Gwendolyne, but Iglesias’ proved that his gifts have not diminished one bit.
By Leslie Wilson Jr