Costa Rica is inarguably one of the most peaceful countries on Earth. There’s no army, everyone seems to follow the “pura vida” state of mind and even anti-government protests are handled with utmost politeness by the authorities.
Truth be told, few things seem to irk Costa Ricans. Yet all you have to do is mention to someone that Shakira was chosen as the opening act for the new National Stadium and all hell breaks loose.
The Colombian superstar was announced late last year as the artist who would have this honor; after names like Coldplay, U2 and even Madonna had been thrown around as possibilities.
This caused an immediate reaction from the media with some calling it an embarrassing choice while others praised the fact that they had gone with Hispanic talent.
A Facebook group called “We don’t want Shakira in the National Stadium”, was created a few hours after an official statement was made and so far has acquired almost five thousand members.
Most comments in the group are from young people who have gone as far as suggesting that protests should be made in order for concert organizers to find someone “better”.
“[I wouldn’t go] even if someone gave me a ticket!” says one of the group members, while others proclaim that Shakira represents how third world Costa Rica still is. One of the group members says that the concert is a totalitarian strategy meant to perpetuate the right wing values the stadium represents (the stadium itself came with some controversy as it was a gift from China to the Costa Rican government).
What remains interesting though is the choices non-fans suggest: artists ranging from David Bowie and The Rolling Stones to AC/DC and Black Eyed Peas are mentioned as better options than Shakira. The fact that not a single Costa Rican option is mentioned as a replacement must be saying something about the discrepancy between what these people say and the way they act.
Shakira is currently one of the biggest musical icons: her World Cup song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” was the most popular worldwide single of 2010, despite controversy surrounding how she acquired the rights to use a sample in it. Locally, she’s one of the only “Latin bomb era” artists who managed to remain relevant after the fever died early during the last decade and her world tours are real blockbusters.
What’s more, her lack of popularity in Costa Rica, should be taken with a grain of salt given that tickets for her concert sold out in a day.
Tickets began selling at 12:01 AM on February 7th and by the next day, 80% were sold. It’s interesting to take note that the most popular tickets were the VIP ones priced at 63,000 colones (about $125). These aren’t numbered seats but could land you a chance to be right under Shakira’s hips.
With failures in the online selling system, fans waited in line for hours. Tickets were restricted to one per ID number and attendance is expected to include people from all over the region (this is the only tour stop Shakira will be taking in Central America).
Shakira was last seen in Costa Rica during the mid-90s and has since gone from a Latina Alanis Morrissette, to being a worldwide sensation. Some people who demanded bigger stars should’ve opened the stadium, seem to be forgetting that Shakira has appeared in such events as the Live 8 in 2005 and has headlined the FIFA World Cup concert not once, but three times (she performed twice during the 2010 tournament in Africa).
In the end though, it’s redundant, but necessary, to point out that regardless of how many people dislike her, Shakira will go down in Costa Rican history for as long as this stadium exists. For some it’ll always be a disappointing moment and will probably continue singing the praises of the Human Rights concert in the 80’s where superstars such as Sting and Bruce Springsteen appeared in San Jose.
To her devoted fans though, April 10th will probably be the biggest fiesta of their lives.
What is your stand on this controversial concert?
|Written by Jose Solis|
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