Gloria Estefan shines, connects with audience during personal performance

It was a night to remember for all those who attended Gloria Estefan’s concert as part of Festival Miami. The concert showcased songs from her new album, “The Standards,” which features hit classics like “What a Wonderful World” and “Smile” that she brought back; this time with her own spin.

As soon as the lights dimmed in Gusman Hall and the show was about to begin, you could feel the energy from the excited crowd. A Grammy-winning, internationally recognized alumna was about to take the stage.

Estefan opened up the concert with a slower song, choosing “Good Morning Heartache,” a jazzy classic with emotional lyrics, for her grand entrance. Estefan’s incredible vocals combined with her passion, and the orchestra’s complimenting talent had the crowd immediately captivated.

The concert integrated Estefan’s personal life and achievements into the performances as she discussed how the songs were significant to her and why they were chosen to be on the record.

One of the most emotional songs performed was “Embraceable You.” At first, it seemed like a love song with a nice rhythm describing an irreplaceable love in life, until Shelly Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music, shared that he connected the song with his mother’s passing. Estefan explained that the song’s meaning can be different for everyone, but that’s what makes it so unique; everyone can interpret it differently, but connect with it all the same.

Before performing one of the most memorable songs of the evening, “The Day You Say You Love Me,” a romantic tune with a soothing melody, Estefan shared that the song was her and husband Emilio’s wedding song 35 years ago, which the same year she graduated from UM.

Estefan’s effort to interact with the audience was appreciated, and it created a connection with everyone in the crowd. Not only did she and Berg have casual conversations about the songs, but she even set aside time in the middle of the show to have a question and answer session with the audience.

Throughout the performances, videos and picture slideshows were shown of Estefan and Berg working in the studio, Estefan with her family, her wedding day, and other special moments throughout her career. It was a unique touch to the concert that gave the audience a glimpse into the studio and into Estefan’s personal life.

The concert featured songs ranging from slow and romantic to upbeat and energetic. There was an incredible energy present throughout the entire show. Estefan’s vocals were impeccable, the lighting complimented the songs, and the orchestra was phenomenal.

Estefan made a tremendous effort in connecting with the audience, and from the very beginning, she made the 600-seat venue feel intimate. By the end of the show, she had everyone on their feet, singing and dancing along to her hit “Conga.”