SHAKIRA SECC, GLASGOW ***
IN THE increasingly homogenised world of pop music, this show was a cut above the competition. It was also unashamedly commercial, as the branding of Shakira's car manufacturer sponsors on the side of the articulated lorry at the venue's entrance made explicit, but at least the performance was inventive and impassioned. Given that many of the sassy Colombian singer's greatest hits are Spanish-language numbers unknown in the UK, there was also a surprise or two in store.
The snowy conditions outside threatened to make a mockery of the tour's The Sun Comes Out subtitle and possibly contributed to a reduced turn-out, but things brightened up from the moment the blonde Shakira, appeared at the edge of the stage's long catwalk crooning the slow ballad Pienso En Ti in a head-to-toe pink lace dress, pressing hands on the way. Once up on stage, though, the dress was ripped off to reveal tight black trousers and a metallic gold top, the better for grinding her way through Why Wait and pole-dancing to the soft rock of Te Dejo Madrid.
The low points were probably the bits we knew, including the lame ballad Underneath Your Clothes and the by-the-numbers World Cup anthem Waka Waka. Whenever Wherever did benefit from a segue into EMF's Unbelievable and a girly booty-shakin' lesson for four girls from the crowd, but it was an acoustic cover of Metallica's Nothing Else Matters in Spanish, the odd hip-hop of Gordita and Las de la Intuicion's neon-flared electro beat which impressed most.