Ozuna has returned to Israel, this time bringing with him even more Afro-Carribean vibes from his native Puerto Rico to the Live Park stage in Rishon Lezion. The reggaeton star took to the stage with a big smile, repeatedly telling the audience of his love for Tel Aviv. Playing for an hour and a quarter, the artist went through all his hits and paid the crowd a lot of attention. He gave birthday shout-outs, jumped down onto the ground to be at eye-level with fans, and poured his heart out in song throughout the Monday evening.
With four more years under his belt and a load of fresh collaborations with artists like Shakira, Selena Gomez, Cardi B., Bad Bunny, and Daddy Yankee, Ozuna has grown into a true professional since his last Israel performance in 2019. The 31-year-old packed out the house with few tickets left available, unlike his last show which was well-attended, but nothing like this.
This go-around, Ozuna took to the stage with a full backup crew of Afro-Latina women dressed in bold colors, reminding the faithful fans that Puerto Rico may be a Latin island, but it has an enormous African influence. The dancers’ energy went into interacting with the crowd as well as into their choreographed routines.
Getting a new respect for Ozuna
The modest costume choices gave me a new level of respect for Ozuna, who is married and has one child. In a world of Latin music where women are often on stage to be eye candy, Ozuna brings integrity to the music, the lyrics, and the dance. He also, unlike many artists who come to Israel, gave plenty of press passes so that Israeli journalists could come to experience his show. I understand from organizers that these decisions come from the top down.
Ozuna waved and even draped himself in an Israeli flag toward the end of the show, telling the crowd he loved them. It was a bold move in the anti-Israel atmosphere that has currently seeped its way into Hollywood and the music industry.
Juan Carlos Ozuna’s songs touched the crowd with excellent vocal work that could actually be heard in the outdoor arena while his stage name, Ozuna, billowed across the stage’s display.
Ozuna performed almost entirely on the “island” stage which was a platform that extended out into the theater where he was able to reach and make eye contact with fans. On the main stage, he would have been lit by colorful displays, but been further from the people.
Occasionally, fire came up from the floor, but Ozuna did not need it, he lit up Rishon on his own, with a range of modern Latin music. His works have a deep range of party beats, Caribbean vibes, and soul. The audience felt all of that as they danced and swayed in the evening brisa (“breeze”).
Ozuna gave a touching rendition of the song “Ibiza,” and “El Farsante” in addition to belting out “Se Preparo,” another original Ozuna hit. Those originals stood out as his shining moments, as illustrated by audience members singing along in a language they probably did not even under stand. Ozuna, staying true to his brand, spoke to the audience in Spanish. It delighted the many Colombians and Latinos in the country who certainly assembled from all four corners to get a fix of their hometown taste.
Ozuna ended the night with “Taki Taki.” It’s not his best song, but it’s the one that has gained him the most popularity around the globe. The hit took over the radio when it was released in 2019 with huge stars like Cardi B., Selena Gomez, and DJ Snake. After his popping, dancing, and upbeat finale, Ozuna exited the stage quickly, leaving the audience confused over whether the concert was truly over. He did not return to the stage despite some weak and confused claps and calls for an encore.
Ozuna played a show for thousands, but I felt like the entire concert was executed just for me. His devotion to the songs and boyish smiles that naturally crept up along the way were all indicators to me that this artist truly loves what he does. It left the crowd inspired and excited.
Many stayed after the show ended just to continue dancing to popular music that a DJ played. People in Israel went home with an island breeze, some movement in their hips, and a lot of love from Puerto Rico.