A sea of women screamed and sang dotingly as Puerto Rican star Chayanne gyrated his way through a catalogue of his greatest hits during an almost two-hour set at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax on Friday night. His swooping black hair, chiseled jaw line and toothy grin captivated the cheering audience, which spanned multiple generations.
Not bad for a guy who’s 47.
He didn’t move any differently than when he was younger, either, as he flew across the stage and strutted to songs from the 21 albums he has released.
Many of his admirers have watched Chayanne since his preteen days in the boy band Los Chicos, a rival to the legendary Menudo. They’ve followed his career through Grammy nominations and chart-topping singles such as “Provócame,” “Dejaría Todo” and the quinceañera must-play, “Tiempo de Vals.”
This is also an audience that appreciates a little nostalgia. Latin pop charts today are constantly dotted with new releases from ’80s and ’90s big-timers such as Marc Anthony, Thalia and Mana — all artists who are older than 40. Chayanne falls happily into that camp. His newest album, “En Todo Estaré,” shows that age hasn’t loosened his hold on the airwaves and that his mix of ballads and dance tunes can still get the fan girls and fan aunties swooning.
He’s an earlier make of Latin pop star — the clean-cut, consummately coiffed leading man of the ’90s whose allure is more about flowers, cards and candy romance than the swag and seduction of the guys entering the industry today. It was clear Friday that Chayanne is not going for gimmicks for the new generation. His original formula of being the sentimental, albeit insipid, charmer is foolproof, and he has it down to a science. He has memorized the precise second to activate his ear-to-ear smile, which, paired with an outstretched hand, makes every woman feel as though the lyrics in songs such as “Atado a Tu Amor” are just for her.
Still, doing two decades of this kind of show can make for manufactured energy. The lights would predictably dim when Chayanne was getting romantic, and his nine-piece band and eight dancers would quickly crank up the crowd with a more kinetic arrangement just as the googly eyes began to wear off.
Before a short encore, Chayanne rounded out the evening with “Madre Tierra (Oye),” one of his newest releases. The upbeat anthem hints at the very appeal of Chayanne: It’s the right amount of innocuous, feel-good energy for moms, 15-year-olds and abuelas alike.
Lopez is a freelance writer.