The Latin heartthrob had the team running — literally — to keep up with him as he leaped off the stage and into the audience.
Not once. Or twice. But numerous times, including a jaunt out to the lawn.
Those are the cheap seats — although at $65 a pop an argument can be made that they weren't so cheap. That's the crane-your-neck spot, where you have to squint to see the action or fix your eyes on the giant screens boxing the stage.
But on Saturday night, Iglesias, the 41-year-old son of Latin crooner Julio Iglesias, popped out to join them. Flanked by a half-dozen security guards and surrounded by a handful of casino employees keeping the folks in the reserved seats from crowding the singer, Iglesias performed "Hero" to a crowd that couldn't believe its good fortune. They oohed. They aahhed. They went absolutely nuts.
The security detail kept a tight circle around Iglesias, warding off a couple unwelcome advances from eager female fans who wanted to touch the singer, see if he was real. Because it's not often when you're in the lawn that the artist goes through the trouble to join you.
We'd like to say it was a makeup gesture of sorts, mea culpas for skipping us since the late 1990s, which was possibly his one and only Tucson concert. But Sonia Guillen and her Enrique Iglesias posse will tell you that the star treats all his audiences that way.
Which is why Guillen and her friends drove down from Phoenix for the show. Two of her friends — Roberto Barraza of San Francisco and Karla Trejo of Las Vegas — drove a bit further. But a trip to Arizona to see Iglesias is nothing for these guys, who planted themselves in the front row Saturday night. They have traveled as far as France, Spain and England over the past 20 years just to see Iglesias on stage. And each time they get backstage to meet with the singer, steal a photo op and, in Guillen's case, a hug and kiss.
At one point Saturday night, Iglesias pulled Guillen's brother Julio up on stage to sing a cover of "Stand By Me." Julio stood on the AVA stage pointing to his sister below and told Iglesias several times how much his sister loved him. When the singer turned the mic on the fan, who said he was the son of Mexican immigrants, Julio's voice cracked and squeaked, which didn't seem to bother the audience packed into the 5,000-capacity amphitheater. What's a little vocal hiccups among friends.
Throughout the 90-minute show, Iglesias mostly addressed the audience in English. He alternated between singing in Spanish — "Esto No Me Gusta," "El Perdedor," "Loco" — and English — "Be With You," "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" and "I Know You Want Me" — hitting all the high notes of a career that bypassed Tucson except on the radio and TV.
Early in the show, he jumped into the front row, which set the tempo for the night. A few minutes later when he was in the middle of a song, he bent down to kiss a woman in the audience — Iglesias is known for smooching fans during his live shows.
And while several of his early career hits drew big applause, the biggest came for one of his most recent hits, "Bailando," which came near the end of the night when the entire amphitheater was on its feet. They waved their hands in the air and sang along so loudly that at times their collective voices carried in the breezeless night like a unified choir.
Hopefully Iglesias will remember that moment when he puts together his next big concert tour and will swing by our way again. But if we have to wait another five, 10 or 20 years until we see him once again on a Tucson stage, you can bet Iglesias will make it worth our wait.