Succeeding where so many of her contemporaries in the Latin American music scene have failed, Shakira has fully achieved mainstream pop success without ever losing her ethnic identity. Having moved over 60 million CDs worldwide (and counting), Shakira hasn't sold out -- she's simply crossed over, effortlessly melding her trademark Colombian rhythms with elements of pop, rock, jazz and R&B. While other artists like Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin often seem desperate in their tongue-wagging quest for world domination, Shakira is the real deal.
Following her multi-platinum two-CD assault of "Fijación Oral Vol. 1" and "Oral Fixation Vol. 2," Shakira embarked on her marathon Oral Fixation Tour. Spanning one hundred dates over nearly 14 months, the jaunt saw her selling out arenas worldwide and performing a stageshow filled with song, costume and dance that easily ranks up there with the concert extravaganzas put on by Madonna, Cher and Celine. Performing new songs and older hits alike, Shakira belted out a 17-strong track list that kept the audience on their feet for nearly the entire two-hour show.
As a live performer, where Shakira excels above even her fiercest pop peers is in her multi-instrumental skills and charming enthusiasm for exhibitionism. Whether she's running around barefoot, jamming on the harmonica like a distaff Bob Dylan, or letting it rip on a guitar as if she wants to be the next heavy metal rock god, she beams from ear to ear. She's like the little girl down the block who dreamed of being a pop star in front of the mirror and actually got her wish, but lost none of her child-like enthusiasm along the way. Simply put, her spirit is infectious.
As has become the standard over the years since Madonna launched the Blonde Ambition tour back in 1991, female artists must now merge theatrics with the music, and throw in a bit of Cirque Du Soleil for good measure. Shakira doesn't skimp here, either, bringing a cavalcade of dancers and musicians together to create quite the spectacle. Although all the hip-shaking grows a bit tiresome by the end of the concert, and the musical nods to multiculturalism sometimes feel a bit forced, Shakira is still one of the few pop stars out there who doesn't seem to be merely pandering as she blends her influences together seamlessly, with top-flight production and professionalism throughout. Whether you like her music or not, there's no denying that this is one pop star who has her act together.
The 17-song tracklist is as follows:
02. Estoy Aqui
03. Te Dejo Madrid
04. Don't Bother
06. Hey You
08. Si Te Vas
09. La Tartura
11. Whenever, Wherever
12. La Pared
13. Underneath Your Clothes
14. Pies Descalzos
15. Ciega, Sordomuda
16. Ojos Asi
17. Hips Don't Lie
Sony BMG brings 'Shakira: Oral Fixation Tour' to Blu-ray in a lovely 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer (1.78:1). Captured entirely with high-def cameras, Shakira certainly knows how to put a visual spectacular, and every last glitter bead on her costumes comes through here with excellent clarity.
Typical of shot-on-HD material, detail and depth are excellent. Boasting the full "picture-window" effect, watching 'Oral Fixation,' it's easy to imagine that you're sitting in the front row of the concert itself. Color reproduction is first rate, with even the toughest hues (such as deep reds and purples) absolutely rock sold and free of bleeding. The presentation maintains perfect sharpness as well, with the nicely balanced contrast keeping even the brightest areas from blowing out. Immaculately produced, there are very few instances where the image appears underlit, and I noted no instances of intrusive noise or edginess. A fantastic transfer.
Continuing to support high-res audio on their Blu-ray releases, Sony BMG offers uncompressed PCM 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo options (both 48kHz/24-bit), plus a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The PCM 5.1 track is the way to go, with a presentation that's dynamic enough that they could have changed the name of this disc to 'Aural Fixation.'
Expertly recorded, clarity and timbre across the entire frequency spectrum is quite realistic. The front soundstage creates a very pleasing and forceful wall of sound that's particularly impressive when the volume is cranked up high. Surrounds are only a tad disappointing, as they're largely reserved for crowd noise (I've heard better direction of specific instruments on other live concert discs). Dynamic range compression also feels bumped up a bit too high at times, which gives the mix great power but sacrifices subtlety (it's all peaks and few valleys, which can grow tiresome to the ears). Still, these nitpicks aside, this is certainly a winning soundtrack.
'Oral Fixation Tour' comes to Blu-ray with a very well-rounded supplements package that mirrors the standard-def DVD release. Not one but two documentaries are included, plus the obligatory bonus tracks, music video and still gallery. There's even a bonus CD of additional audio-only tracks included to sweeten the deal.
With the 'Oral Fixation Tour,' Shakira proves she really has her act together, with sharp pop songs, a terrific production and enough dancers for a Broadway show. This Blu-ray is a great document of the tour, with top-tier video and audio, and some nifty supplements, too. If you're a Shakira fan, don't even hestitate to pick this one up.