San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ricky Martin thrills patient fans at Saprissa Stadium

Rain fell and doubts rose Wednesday night at Ricardo Saprissa Stadium in the northern San José district of Tibás, where thousands of fans gathered to see the Costa Rica installment of Ricky Martin’s Música+Alma+Sexo (MAS) world tour. Rumors of cancellation swirled before Martin opened the show with “Será Será” (“What Will Be Will Be”) – an appropriate opening for fans who waited more than an hour to see the Puerto Rican superstar.

Stage crews continuously mopped the stage in preparation for the show, which included more than 60 dancers performing flamenco, swing, ballet and, of course, salsa.

Some of the show’s more provocative dance numbers and Martin’s personal life have prompted officials in Honduras to consider not allowing fans under 15 to enter the scheduled Oct. 16 show in Tegucigalpa. Martin said via Twitter that this will not be the case, adding, “There has never been a moment of my show censored, all are welcome!” Previously, on Oct. 3, Honduran religious officials petitioned the government to deny Martin a visa, claiming that his sexuality and nontraditional family would threaten the laws and values of traditional Honduran society. Martin fathered twins via surrogate pregnancy in 2008 and is raising them in Miami.

As fans wait to see the outcome of the Honduras show, the Costa Rica show welcomed fans of all ages to enjoy a variety of songs in English and Spanish. Martin performed his English-language crossover hits “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” “She Bangs” and “Shake Your Bon-Bon” in succession to a restless crowd who proved they preferred Spanish sing-along ballads like “Vuelve” and dance hits like “La Bomba,” the salsa-infused homage to Puerto Rico.

The show never stopped or slowed down, even for wardrobe and set changes. Martin used these transitions as an opportunity to feature dancers and musical soloists. Most of these mini-performances included messages of tolerance and triumph. Martin also thanked fans throughout the show.

“Thanks to the fans who chose to stay,” Martin said. “This rain is crazy, but everyone knows the party is here!”

Other highlights included the song “Frío,” which featured leather-clad dancers incorporating whips into their burlesque routine. The show’s crescendo followed when the stadium transformed into a giant salsa party with Puerto Rican flags waving on video screens.

Martin left the crowd wanting more as the lights went out and he exited the stage. After a few minutes of uncertainty, he returned wearing a shirt that said “You=Me, Tú=Yo.” He closed the evening with a low-key performance of the chart-topping “Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tú.” The song, which has an English version titled “The Best Thing About Me Is You,” received a 2011 Latin Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.

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