By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com

As the Hollywood Bowl continues to celebrate its 100th year in operation this past weekend, Puerto Rico’s world-renowned performer made their debut in Southern California’s premier concert venue. On an unseasonably cool Saturday night in the Hollywood Hills, the widely regarded King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin, partnered with the LA Phil to continue the recently renovated Hollywood Bowls centennial celebration for concertgoers.

As a member of the young Latin boy group Menudo, Martin got his start in the business at the ripe age of 12. Martin spent five years with the boy band before going solo and eventually selling over 70 million albums. Although I am not Latino, I was eager to see Martin in concert because his dance move was supposedly legendary, he has catchy tunes, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. 

The combination of one of the most influential Latin artists of all time, Ricky Martin, and the LA Phil acoustically was audibly breathtaking. On the second night of back-to-back shows, the large Latino crowd in the audience joined Ricky Martin in singing his opening song in Spanish. He followed that song up with his smash hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

Though Martin boasts of living in Los Angeles, I’m not sure the Saturday night crowd got the same dancing effort from Martin as the Friday night audience. I expected electrifying dance moves from Martin, as I thought this is what he was widely known for, though I was tremendously underwhelmed with his dancing performance. Without the accompaniment of his dancers, Martin stayed at the center of the stage with minimal movement. Not at all what I was expecting to see from him. I noticed this after the fourth song and initially thought he was pacing himself.

Once again, the combination of the building acoustics, Martin, and the LA Phil was invigorating for anyone’s ears. Whether he sang in English or Spanish, no one can deny Martin’s uncanny ability to capture the audience with his stage presence. Fortunately for me, he rotated his songs in English and Spanish, allowing even me to follow along. 

Having been to several concert venues here in Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl solidifies itself to me as one best venue for concerts in the market. The acoustics combined with the seating arrangement allows concert-goers to get fully immersed by the live instruments of the Los Angeles Philharmonic or whichever legendary band they have performing that night.

When planning a night at the Hollywood Bowl, guests can choose to eat at any of their three restaurants on site. Ann’s Wine Bar offers small plates and a vast array of wines for novice and experienced wine drinkers. The Backyard features grilled fish, chop, and steaks cooked on two giant wood-burning grills. The Lucques at the Circle provides a fine-dining experience highlighted by an exceptional wine list and a seasonal three-course, prix fixe menu for Pool Circle subscribers. As great as those options may be, what sets Hollywood Bowl apart from many other venues, is that you can bring in your choice of food and beverages inside, which helps to set the scene for a romantic evening or a fun night out with the girls and guys.

What’s the last concert you attended at the Hollywood Bowl; when’s the last time you heard the melodic sounds of the LA Phil? On the final Sunday of July, they are hosting the YOLA National Festival Concert and Celebration, which happens to be a free concert and the opportunity to explore the venue. The festival includes various activities, workshops, local food vendors, and featured performances from the YOLA National Festival Chamber and Symphony orchestras.

Kindly share your thoughts on Ricky Martin’s performance with the LA Phil if you saw it, and let me know your thoughts on the Hollywood Bowl itself by reaching out to me on Twitter @_voiceofthefans or email me at voiceofthefans@outlook.com. I also encourage you to forward suggestions on what angles or topics you would like to see discussed in the coming weeks.