J Balvin at The O2 Arena, 05/06/24

The Prince Of Reggaetón brings his extraterrestrial energy to The O2, annexing London for Columbia

Coming off the back of the most talked about performance at this year’s Coachella, in which “The Prince of Reggaetón” surprise revealed Will Smith for a rendition of ‘Men In Black’, the world-conquering Columbian superstar beams down to London’s O2 Arena for more extraterrestrial themed bacchanalia.

The show commences with a black and white faux 50s style news announcement, in which a grave reporter warns us of an impending alien invasion, and would you know it, the supreme leader of the cosmic race has just made contact with a pressing apocalyptic message, which subsequently flashes on the jumbo screens:


It’s been a long six years since J Balvin has performed on these shores, so London’s Latin contingent are more than ready to oblige. He emerges from the middle of a giant LED clad monolith to raucous reception at the opening sounds of mega hit, ‘Mi Gente’. He is accompanied by two MCs and a small troupe of Martian dancers who prowl the base of the monolith as their leader corrals his audience into a frenzy:

(In Spanish)

“And if the people want it – Reggaetón! Reggaetón!

I won’t deny it – Reggaetón! Reggaetón!”

It is abundantly clear that is precisely what the people want, and he provides it with aplomb. Unsurprisingly, the crowd’s majority is comprised of Latin Americans, and it is a wonderful sight to have these communities come together and celebrate in a city that is not particularly known for its Latin population (perhaps this is why it’s taken him so long to return). At one point he gives shout outs to individual South American countries, all to wild cheers, the biggest reserved for his native Columbia of course. He has made a point to only release Spanish language albums, so as to not court crossover success, rather, to allow his music to achieve the success it deserves on its own terms. An admirable cause and his fans adore him for it. As a non-Spanish speaker though, little is lost in terms of the driving energy of the music and the massive spectacle. Vibes are very important to J Balvin and he ensures they are keenly felt, no matter who is in his presence.

Polvo de tu Vida Trailer

After a breakbeat interlude, to which he re-emerges in sparkling galactic attire, the hits keep coming. His big collabs include ‘La Canción’ with Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny, ‘I Like It’ with Cardi B, and ‘No Me Conoce’ with Jhayco, which are all met with rapturous energy. For an artist who has spent most of his career extolling the virtues of collaboration, you might expect there to be a guest appearance or two, particularly as there is an album with a certain Ed Sheeran soon to be released. However, there is no love lost and no real need, as he is as skilled and charismatic a performer as the best of them. 

For the encore finale, giant inflatable alien hands reach out towards the audience in embrace. New song ‘Polvo de tu Vida’ is debuted and there is a brief cover of Italian Eurodance outfit Corona’s ‘Rhythm Of The Night’, originally performed by Brazillian singer Olga Maria de Souza. A fitting finale for someone who has spent his career building connection and bridging the distances between worlds.

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Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images