There is something to be said about renowned Latin artists making a stop, be it in Toronto, Montreal or any Canadian city, as they tour the world promoting their latest musical offering: Canadian Latin-music-loving audiences are so appreciative of these shows and the outpour of love and affection for their beloved artists is truly heartfelt. And artists do feel this love to their core, and respond accordingly. Such was the case of Shakira’s visit to Toronto this past Tuesday, as she continues her “El Dorado World Tour” promoting her latest album of the same name.

It’s only in the last few years that major Latin American acts have started to visit Canadian cities more frequently. For us hardcore fans, we would have to make the trek to the United States or elsewhere if we ever wanted to see artists of the caliber of Luis Miguel, Marc Anthony, Shakira and Maná (the latter have yet to visit Canadian soil, but I digress.) This is Shakira’s second visit to Canada and having witnessed her first show (the 2006 Oral Fixation tour stop in Toronto), I can only say her long absence from the stage, like a good wine, has only made her better, more charismatic and a more incredibly rounded performer. Just like the last time, Shakira owned that stage: no big production in terms of a multitude of dancers, props or any other performers. The big production items were more on the technical side, with amazing pyrotechnics and flawless sound. From the second she steps onto the stage, she commands it with her arabesque belly-dancing dance moves, her incredible powerhouse voice and this time around, also bringing the Shakira we fell in love with from the very first years in her career: Hard-Rocker Shakira.

The artist gave her most current fans what they came for: a lot of her new music, her reggaeton and pop music collaborations with artists like Maluma, Nick Jam and Carlos Vives. But she also gave in droves to her forever fans something we were craving: music from her humble beginnings— a lot of music, in fact from those early years with hits like Estoy Aqui, Donde Estás Corazón, Tú, Antología and Inevitable. “It’s good to be back. You guys have NO IDEA how much I missed you,” said Shakira at the beginning of the night, in reference, no doubt, to her long absence from touring since late 2011. The energy and enthusiasm as she danced and travelled the stage, mostly barefoot, giving every ounce of ther talent in every performance was more than proof that she had missed her audience as much as we had missed her.

This concert was so good that when as an audience member you come to the realization it’s about to end, you feel as if it’s the last little bite of your favourite dessert— a dessert that, mind you, you haven’t tasted in a long, long time and you are enjoying thoroughly— and you want to make the last bite last forever. With Shakira, given the extensive and incredible body of work she has released over the course of 11 albums (one better than the last), it’s no wonder that fans (myself included) would’ve wanted this night to continue forever. But alas, it ended. And it ended on a bit of a sour note, with the heavy and unexpected downpour that fell in Toronto that night. Was it worth it? Hell, yeah! The Colombian songstress gave it her all and we have no doubt every single audience member at the Scotiabank Arena fully enjoyed Shakira’s triumphant return to the stage on this tour.