Bad Bunny Finally Comes Home & Closes His “Most Wanted” Tour With Stellar Puerto Rican Shows: Review

BYGabriel Bras Nevares5.3K Views
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Bad Bunny Most Wanted Tour - San Juan, PR
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - JUNE 7: Bad Bunny performs during his Most Wanted Tour at Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot on June 7, 2024 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Gladys Vega/Getty Images)
Out of Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio's many tours and hometown shows, this performance at El Choli was one of his most well-structured, impressive, and heartfelt to date.

San Juan, Puerto Rico's José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum had likely never seen as many cowboy hats before the night of Friday, June 7. Dozens of thousands of fans arrived at the first of three sold-out nights hosted by Bad Bunny, officially culminating his "Most Wanted" North American tour. This supported the superstar's latest album, 2023's nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana, and despite its distinct Western theme, it's also clear that this is the rollout most overtly dedicated to his home since the X100PRE days, and even that's a stretch. Sure, he always reps Boricua culture, and that obviously translates swimmingly to the most well-equipped crowd in the world to sing along with him. But PR heard nadie sabe first with a listening party, and culminating its tour by coming back home makes that pride all the more potent.

Furthermore, one of the most viral quotes from this three-night stay at "El Choli" is an accurate assessment: if you've seen Bad Bunny perform, but haven't seen a Puerto Rico show, you haven't seen him perform at all (speaking selfishly, let's keep it that way if you're not Boricua). With an extra hour of runtime compared to his other "Most Wanted" dates, more special guests, and PR-specific embellishments and set-ups, the leader of "La Nueva Religión" went all out... what else is new? This writer's seen BadBo about six times, from sweaty PR high school homecoming parties in 2016 all the way to headlining Philadelphia's Made In America festival in 2022. While a lot of what made this San Juan show on June 7 so great is par the course for him, many factors cemented this among his most successful performance runs yet.

Bad Bunny's Evolution As A Performer

Bad Bunny's growth behind the mic and amid a spotlit stage paid off in dividends with this "Most Wanted" opening show in Puerto Rico. He hits his high notes more consistently, rips through his verses with more energy, seems entirely self-aware and calm when it comes to his body language and stage awareness, and remained consistently engaged with crowd energies. Sometimes, Benito fell victim to audio syncing and mic volume issues that have plagued previous PR shows. But with each whack at this curveball throughout his career, he's gotten better at checking himself and mitigating the situation on the spot. Most importantly, the 30-year-old gave the crowd heart-to-heart moments, albeit less than usual. He spoke on his insecurities as a global titan, thanking his day ones (or day zeros, as he often refers to Boricuas), and inspiring and supporting the youth.

Furthermore, Bad Bunny's stage presence and set-up for this show surely captivated many first-time concert-goers in attendance. Two small stages held most of the action: one was at one extreme of the coliseum, and the other was about two-thirds of the way to the other side, leaving the general admission crowd in the middle. Above them was a massive railway that rotated so that he could walk out and be closer to many different parts of the venue. The Vega Bajeño always ensures maximum engagement across all price points and altitude levels. With fireworks, psychedelic and nimble lighting, multi-faceted choreography with around 20 dancers, Jumbotron visual effects, and live musical performance elements we'll get to soon, you are just as prone to falling into a trance whether you're in the front row or "cambiando bombillas" in the nosebleeds.

Benito's Most Cohesive Setlist

Bad Bunny, the madman that he is, ran through 49 songs on June 7 and still missed so many of his biggest hits. But what felt different about this "Most Wanted" tour stop was how deliberate, cohesive, and thematically structured the run of tracks felt. First off, the Philharmonic Orchestra Project, directed by Colombian musician Carlitos Lopez, played the Puerto Rican national anthem and three other pieces before B.B. emerged with "NADIE SABE." The nadie sabe focus persisted until these classic Latin trap-inspired cuts transitioned into... you guessed it: El Conejo Malo's classic Latin trap.

Some more nadie sabe records followed, then an acoustic rendition of many of his sadder and more love-centric songs with pianist Tiffany Román, and finally, a collection of his reggaetón bangers and Boricua-pride-themed anthems. A "batucada" (percussive ensemble) walked out onstage and ended the night with a rendition of "El Apagón" alongside Bad Bunny, complete with "cabezudos" and a dancer waving the Puerto Rican flag with a Palestinian one painted on.

Special guests on June 7 included some of PR's new and old leaders: Young Miko, Mora, Bryant Myers, De La Ghetto, Ñengo Flow, and Arcángel. Yet they didn't overshadow the significance that this setlist structure offered. Rather than stick to the script and go to this album's hits, then this one's, and so on, Bad Bunny outlined a more nuanced and emotionally progressive view of his artistry and its many facets compared to setlists of years past. There were also particularly impressive remixes of certain tracks, such as killer bass and strings on "MR. OCTOBER," a particularly gorgeous "Si Estuviésemos Juntos" take, and an absolutely nasty and industrial electronic outro for "BATICANO."

"Ahora Estoy En Mi Prime"

This electric and satisfying setlist was also bolstered by some visual elements, namely two short videos. A compilation of previous concert footage, horseback riding, Boricua views and citizens, and narration from Bad Bunny himself provided a reflection on how he chose to end the "Most Wanted" tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico because this excitement to play at home was what fueled his travels in the rest of North America. This played at the beginning, and another horse-backed clip about halfway through emphasized the loneliness that his fame and status created in him, not just in relation to the wider pop culture and celebrity sphere worldwide, but in PR itself. After all, attendees were notified before the show started that they would probably appear in the concert taping that most Puerto Rican movie theaters played live on Friday and Saturday night.

With so many shows under Benito's belt, so much global success, and such a proud Puerto Rican identity, it can feel like he's at a disconnect with his roots, his career, and his personal life no matter what he does. It's the celebrity machine eating away at the spirit that blew us away with "Tu No Vive Asi," "Diles," and many more SoundCloud standards almost a decade ago. But more so than he did overseas, Bad Bunny backed up his impassioned professions of love and gratitude for the archipelago, its people, and his loved ones with a performance worthy of that emotion, perhaps the worthiest on a technical level since his ascent. There's a well-worn rawness and familiarity to his PR shows that wasn't lost here, a repetitive but inexplicably special quality that his superstardom should never take for granted.

About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.