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Luis Fonsi brings ‘Despacito’ to Las Vegas

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Luis Fonsi is big on Vegas: “What better place to kick it off?”
Photo: Omar Cruz

It seems everyone in the music world has been analyzing “Despacito,” Luis Fonsi’s reggaeton mega-hit featuring Daddy Yankee (and Justin Bieber on the remixed version), trying to figure out exactly how the catchy track became the most-streamed song and most-viewed YouTube video of all time.

“It’s very strange,” Fonsi says from Argentina. “On one hand it’s very cool that these really smart people are figuring out the magic behind it, because they know what they’re talking about. On the other hand, this is just a song I wrote on my guitar. I love to write complicated and intricate melodies and harmonies, but at the end of the day I want to create something people will be able to sing along to after the first time they hear it.”

“Despacito” is so huge, Fonsi launched a summer tour ahead of releasing a new album, trekking through Europe and South America en route to his first stop in the States—at the Pearl in Las Vegas. “What better place to kick it off? Vegas is a great way to get the energy going for September, when we’re touring all throughout the U.S.,” Fonsi says. “And I’m a Vegas guy. I go there quite a bit. It’s such a dynamic city culturally, with people from everywhere. It’s a great audience.”

Fonsi was a well-established artist before the “Despacito” phenomenon, with eight studio albums—the ninth will arrive in early 2018—to his credit along with a Latin Grammy in 2009. Still, no matter which city he’s playing, he knows what the audience wants most.

“It’s been great to be touring and literally living in the moment that the song is blowing up,” he says. “From the first song of the show, you can feel that buzz that everyone can’t wait for the moment when the guitar plays that first lick. When that song hits, it’s a big moment, so we make sure people enjoy it.” Luis Fonsi at the Pearl at the Palms, September 8.

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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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