Perhaps it’s difficult to understand the magnitude of El Alfa’s sold-out concert last night in Santo Domingo’s Palacio de los Deportes. The full house was all the more significant given the most recent episode in the history of attempted government censorship of urban genres. In June, the Comisión Nacional de Espectáculos Públicos y Radiofonía that regulates the DR’s radio and TV communications banned eight songs, including “Lo Que Diga Yo,” El Alfa’s collaboration with Bad Bunny, Miky Woodz, and fellow Dominican artist Jon Z. Agency president JM Hildago gave as justification for the ban, “The high volume of sexual and obscene content, and encouragement of death, suicide, and the use of banned substances are being used in a thoughtless way in songs today.”
But just two months later, Jon Z joined El Jefe on stage for a show that turned out more than 8,000 urbano fans and drew the attendance of some of the DR’s most recognizable celebrities, underlining his work and his genre’s importance for the island’s population. Those who were in the building, both backstage and in the stands went all out for the show — El Alfa’s first major concert event — which journalist Juan Carlos Jiménez says had the arena packed at 6:30 p.m. for the 9 p.m. start. We compiled a list of highlights in case you weren’t lucky enough to catch the vibe in person.
The First Ever
This fact alone should clarify the hype surrounding the evening; the show was the first solo concert by a Dominican úrbano artist in a major arena in their own country. El Alfa managed to silence those who doubted that he’d be able to fill the 8,337-seat arena with the power of solidarity. Sites like Alofoke who have been supporting DR urban from the jump, and urbano artists like Mozart La Para activated their networks to ensure the event went off and seats were full. That’s a feat that not even Maluma was able to pull off at his show at the arena a few weeks ago.
Flying Us To The Moon
Among the special effects of the evening was El Jefe rising to the stage amid pyrotechnics in a Neil Armstrong suit. The ‘fit was a reference to his stratospheric trajectory in the music business — first man on the moon, first Dominican to fill the Palacio de los Deportes.
Uniting The Urbano Scene
Sure, it was a solo show, but that doesn’t mean El Alfa was on his lonesome up in front of those lights. Joining him onstage was Farruko, Mark B, Liro Shaq, Bryant Myers, J Álvarez, La Manta, DJ Mariposa, Carolina, Mozart La Para, Shelow Shaq, El Nene Amenazzy, Tito El Bambino, Noriel, and Jon Z. Notably absent was longtime rival of El Alfa, El Mayor. There had been hopes that the two would squash their long-running beef for the glittering moment but … well, maybe next time. Up until the final champagne shower, El Alfa made it clear that this was an accomplishment not just for him, but for the many artists in his country who had built up the scene to this point.
The unity comes just in time — in eight days Alofoke’s Santiago Matias is set to drop his Un Solo Movimiento, a collection of 25+ songs courtesy of artists from the DR, New York, and Puerto Rico scenes.
Big Papi Came Through
It would not have been an A-list Dominican moment though, had not David “Big Papi” Ortiz graced the Palacio with his presence. After several photo ops with fans, the MLB designated hitter was invited up to the stage. “No one does it like El Alfa,” he said, going on to shower praise on the man of the hour, who looked positively diminutive next to Big Papi’s stature.
And Now There's A Cardi B Collab In The Works
Perhaps one of the night’s most exciting moments for the rapper came long after his crew had fled the crowded arena and settled into a yacht for an epic after party. In between IG stories of dancing to Drake on the deck, El Alfa posted a momentous screenshot for the DR scene — a conversation between Cardi B and himself forecasting a future collaboration. “If we do something, the Dominican Republic will make you president,” he tells her. “I’m excited!” she answers back. Sirens!