High-spirited Shakira's hips, voice don't lie

It's called the "Oral Fixation" tour, which sounds like something about sex.

Yet Shakira's jubilant, high-energy performance Wednesday at the TD Waterhouse Centre defied that narrow cliche. Let MTV reality shows capitalize on sex -- Shakira's charismatic stage presence is about something more.

Not that there wasn't extensive hip rolling, rump shaking and belly dancing, but this Colombian superstar's expressive voice and engaging facial expressions almost turned the gyrations into art.

It's worth mentioning that Shakira is drop-dead beautiful, with a radiant smile and beguiling eyes that blow the grading curve for other celebrity hotties. With a tilted eyebrow or some other subtle movement, she softens and humanizes the sexually charged choreography.

"Can you do one thing for me?" she asked early in the show. "Can you make a woman happy? . . . I want you to have fun tonight."

Shakira made that easy because it looked as if she was having fun. Other stars use crazy special effects to keep a crowd engaged, singing beneath indoor waterfalls or punctuating songs with fireworks or explosions.

Aside from her capable seven-piece band and a few strobe lights, Shakira carried the crowd along on the power of her personality. Taking the stage in a glittery midriff top and dark slacks, she opened with "Estoy Aqui," an anthemic song off the Pies Descalzos album.

The sexy dance moves were mixed with occasional robotic breaks and frenetic bouncing. She grabbed a sequined electric guitar for "Don't Bother" and actually played it! And you were expecting air guitar!? Opening act Wyclef Jean was a better guitar exhibitionist, picking his Stratocaster behind his back and with his teeth. His 30-minute set gained momentum quickly, after an odd entrance that featured a DJ spinning about 10 minutes of, um, Wyclef Jean songs.

When the real Wyclef appeared, he dashed through a Fugees flashback, revved-up Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and turned the mike over to sister Melky Jean for a simmering reggae version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."

It was a solid set, but Shakira's show made it look like the Jeans were in slow motion. With only a handful of costume changes, she rocked out ("Inevitable"), went "unplugged" ("Antologia"), embraced the beat ("La Tortura") and wrapped her voice around big ballads ("No"). She even played harmonica.

Of course, Jean returned for the obligatory finale of "Hips Don't Lie," but the title doesn't quite say it all:

If the hips belong to Shakira, they don't disappoint either.


taken from here

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