Review of singer Julio Iglesias at the O2 in Dublin
In the wake of last week's Eurovision, a distinguished performer who once represented Spain in Europe's premier song contest called “bearded lady” Conchita Wurst “a super singer”.
The artist singing Conchita’s praises was none other than the legendary Lothario Julio Iglesias.
Unfortunately, there is precious little about Iglesias' Dublin stopover to get similarly excited about. For such a flamboyant personality, who has reportedly sold a staggering 300 million albums, the opening segment of his show is curiously incongruous and shockingly low key.
Iglesias shuffles onstage after support act Alexander Kogan and uses the same band. There is no razzmatazz, flashing lights or grand entrance. The production is probably the most basic ever staged in the O2, which regularly facilitates all sorts of jaw-dropping tricks.
An enthusiastic contingent camped up near the front proudly wave a large
Spanish flag. Unless you’re seated in amongst them, Iglesias’ chatter between songs is almost indistinguishable.
Some punters rush to the exits, but plenty of others choose not only just to stay but to give him a standing ovation.
It admittedly isn’t an abysmally terrible show, contrary to some reports, but it certainly isn’t a particularly good one.
The inclusion of ‘Careless Whisper’ by Wham! conjures the impression of landing in a random cocktail bar in Lanzarote rather than taking in a premier league act in the O2. When Iglesias sings Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, it is a genuinely touching moment. His voice gives the old classic a personal touch of gravitas and experience.
The only problem is that the backing music is dreadful. A synthesiser is so unnecessarily syrupy it is in danger of congealing. A guitar solo is so histrionic it would probably be rejected for a shampoo advert.
One realises why Iglesias’ music was reportedly used to torture prisoners under the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime.
There are a few heckles of “sack the sound man” and Iglesias himself says “you’re fired” to a stagehand who takes away a faulty microphone. At one juncture, Julio coughs repeatedly and you momentarily fear for his welfare.
Iglesias recovers enough to delight many but appears to disappoint many more. In a day and age where live performance has been elevated to a slick art, this drab and shabby show can’t even be saved by one of the most famous voices in light entertainment.