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Ricky Martin at the Hammersmith Appollo.

The Latin Lothario goes hell for leather.


Ricky Martin's opening video before bounding on stage was of him pretty much naked, tied up in chains, writhing. A clubby warm up song pounded out, sampling Relax by Franky Goes To Hollywood. From that moment, right until the very end of the show when someone threw a rainbow flag onto the stage (which he put round his shoulders) we think it's safe to say that Ricky has come to terms with his sexuality. Big time.

All the hits were spunked out early in the show, with no regard for taste or sophistication, it was one cheesy but thoroughly entertaining number after another. From his leather clad biker boy jailhouse rocking, to showstopping 20s Chicago inspired outfits and routines, the whole show was slickly run together, never dwelling too long on the ballads. Apart from the surreal sections of mini-theatre (Theatre-In-Education Style - think Legz Akimbo from The League of Gentlemen) which dealt with just two issues: RACE and SEXUALITY. They were admirable messages to send out, but we could barely laugh for cringing. And really, all that to cover a costume change - we prayed for drag - and he came out in a grey vest? Anyway, these awkwardly memorable asides didn't distract from THE HITS, littered as they were with a mum-friendly orgy scenes, girls with whips, spanglish street scenes, which were all light hearted and as subversive as popping into Anna Summers on your lunchbreak.

Which is exactly what people want from a proper pop star, all hand clapping and a bit of safe titilation. What was quite cute was the way the crowd - verging on an even gender split, weighed more towards very vocal females - would roar into applause every time Ricky kissed, touched or got near one of his male dancers.

If you've any doubt about how gay the whole thing was, check out the opening don't-be-afraid-to-be-yourself number:



At one point Ricky preached to everyone about letting go and enjoying themselves. "Literally, fuck it for a minute", he said. Well, we will. We saw Ricky Martin last night and we loved it. There. We said it.




And wouldn't you know it, he has a new Greatest Hits out.

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