If you were attending a music tour with the Spanish word for “golden” in its title, you’d expect to be in for something special. But, even Shakira couldn’t have imagined the ride in store when she embarked on her sixth world tour in support of her eleventh studio album, 2017’s El Dorado.
“This album and this tour are probably two of the things I’m most proud of, especially because of all the obstacles I had to overcome to make it happen,” the Colombian singer tells EW ahead of the theatrical release of the concert film Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour, which premieres in more than 2,000 theaters across 60 countries as a one-night event on November 13. The documentary-style film tracks the inception of the tour, its postponement, and eventual 54-show run which made stops in Europe, Asia, North America, and Latin America. “I think it was an important document for me to produce,” says Shakira, reflecting on the process. “There’s a lot in there that made it a memorable and irreplaceable tour — at least unforgettable to me.”
Those “unforgettable” moments weren’t all good. In late 2017, right before the tour was set to kick off, Shakira suffered a right vocal cord hemorrhage during her final rounds of rehearsals, forcing her to push the start date back to mid-2018. “There was a before and after with all of that,” she explains. “Every night on stage [after] was a gift and a miracle. Having lost my voice temporarily and doubting if I would ever sing again, recovering the joy of being back on stage was such an emotionally rich experience that I wanted to share with my fans, with my audience from all over. I wanted them to really get inside our world and everything that we had to do to make the show happen.”
Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour certainly makes fans feel involved in that process. Cutting between performances of iconic tracks that span a 30-year career (“Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” and “Ojos Así” to name a few), studio recording sessions, and backstage footage of the singer meticulously preparing every last aspect of the concert — from costumes to special effects to choreography — the resultant movie is an accurate documentation of the exhaustion and exhilaration of bringing a show of this magnitude to fruition — especially if you’re a perfectionist. “I’ve always been like that since day one,” says Shakira in regard to her involvement in the show’s production. “It’s just like putting together a big puzzle and it requires an enormous amount of effort. I never want to stop rehearsing, never want to stop polishing and making things better, and I never feel it’s good enough. I always think that they deserve better.”
Based on scenes of emotionally overwhelmed fans in the audience that are sprinkled throughout the movie, it’s clear her efforts are appreciated and that is what matters most to Shakira. “It’s funny because I feel like when you first make it big as an artist, you want to go on tour because you’re looking for that reaffirmation; you want to confirm that they like you and your music,” she says. “But this time, it wasn’t about that. It wasn’t about me. It was about them. The audience was the true protagonist and I just wanted to be close to them. I didn’t want anyone between me and my audience — I didn’t even want dancers! I just wanted to be able to use the energy in the room and respond to it with a margin for improvisation so I could really connect and build that unbreakable bridge between them and me.”
When the tour reached its climatic stop in Shakira’s native Colombia in late 2018, it was time for the singer to take a moment and get back to being a mother to her two sons with Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué. “Every time I go on tour, I have to put on hold so many things in my life because you’re just there for the fans,” she says. “It’s always a mission. I remember the bittersweet feeling of closing the tour in Bogota with my people and feeling relieved to an extent because it was like an obstacle race, but at the same time knowing I was going to miss it.”
With an upcoming performance at the closing ceremony of the Davis Cup finals in Madrid in November and then the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show alongside Jennifer Lopez in February in Miami, there’s not too much time for the pop star to miss the stage. “I know what amazing energy is generated around a sports event like this,” she says in regard to her decision to co-headline the 2020 event after many other singers turned down the opportunity citing the recent NFL backlash. “This time, it’s representing the Latinos who have struggled so much in the U.S. and who I think are going to find an important space now, feeling represented on that very important stage.”
Regardless of the stage or occasion, the globally-adored pop star cites one thing for the relentless energy and effort that she puts into her work, as evidenced by the concert film: “I have the most loyal fans in the world,” she says. “This concert and film were all about that communication and about that friendship with my fans from all over the world. They’re from different cultures and speak different languages, but we all understand each other through one thing. They have fulfilled the purpose of my music and my career and I just wanted to make sure that they got the message.”
Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour is in select theaters on November 13 (with encore screenings in select locations). Tickets are available here.
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