Two nights ago (Sep. 13), New York City was the place to be when Karol G brought her electrifying $trip Love Tour to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden. With fun pre-show activities, special celebrity guests, and a dance contest with a hefty cash prize, La Bichota pulled all the stops to make her MSG debut an unforgettable night.
“Today, 10 years after writing it down in my list of dreams, I’m going to sing at Madison Square Garden in New York!” shared the Colombian singer on her Twitter account prior to the show.
It’s almost hard to believe that less than a year ago, Karol G performed at the smaller, albeit sold-out, Hulu Theater below The Garden as part of her 2021 Bichota Tour. Since then, Karol G has performed at Coachella, traded in her signature blue hair for a fiery new red bundle, and continued dominating streaming charts.
It’s worth mentioning that the $trip Love Tour isn’t in support of a new studio album, and Karol G only released a string of hit singles since her last stateside shows. The $trip Love Tour is a brand-new large-scale spectacle built for arenas. From the more than 20,000 fans of all backgrounds and creeds that stood to their feet for the entire show on Tuesday night, it’s abundantly clear why Karol G graduated to larger venues in 2022.
The immersion into Karol G’s world began before we even set foot into the building, as Madison Square Garden was lit up in the colors of the Colombian flag. Fans waiting outside the arena were properly dressed for an all-night party, donning Bichota-inspired looks and Karol G merchandise. Of course, there was no shortage of red and blue hair amongst this crowd. Past the gates, ticketholders received wristbands that would light up during different parts of the show.
In partnership with the singer, AT&T was on site to provide fans with some unique pre-show experiences to document the concert. In the lower concourse, the Karol G Photo Booth had concertgoers lining up to pose with La Bichota for a virtually personalized photo. The “Music Video” booth had even more fans ready for their close-ups. With colorful lights and a professional camera operator, fans brought the action. After showing off their best moves, they received a fully produced 10-second music video clip. These fun digital mementos were sent immediately to the fan’s mobile devices to share on social media or with the group chat. Fans could also scan a QR code to take selfies with an exclusive Karol G filter.
Inside the arena, Agueldo 888 got the crowd pumped up with an energetic reggaeton DJ set. At 9 p.m., the lights dimmed, and the crowd leaped to their feet as Karol G made her grand entrance inside a barbed wire heart to the opening chords of “GATÚBELA” while flames encircled beneath her. La Bichota then sang through a marathon of hits accompanied by her enthusiastic legion of fans. Whether she was flying through the crowd in a Ferrari while singing “Makinon” or hitting choreography with her pack of dancers, the crowd was eating the entire show up. You could feel how The Garden was packed to the brim by the ovation alone.
To get the crowd even more riled up, Karol G brought out Ozuna as a surprise guest, and they performed their “Caramelo” remix together for the first time, followed by the monster hit “China.”
For the second surprise of the night, rapper Maldy came out for a reprise of “GATÚBELA,” which also marked their first time performing the single together.
An unexpected and touching moment during the show was when Karol G told the crowd about the time she almost quit music and how playing Madison Square Garden is a dream come true: “In 2012, I said I didn’t want to do music anymore because it’s a tough industry. No one wanted to listen to my songs, and no one wanted to give me an opportunity. So I moved to New York, and I started to study English at a school in Manhattan.”
She recounted how she used to sit down on some benches outside Madison Square Garden to practice her English with the people she encountered, but also to dream. “To dream about what could have been if I stayed in music and if I sang at Madison Square Garden. I swear to God, I’m not saying things just to say them or to rile you up. My only intention is to tell you that I started in 2006. It’s now 2022, and it’s the first time I’m selling out this place with a capacity like this. Asi que, sí se puede!”
Another highlight was the concert’s dance contest, where a few lucky fans get picked from the crowd to have a dance-off for a $1,000 cash prize. While this competition is held nightly on tour, Karol G upped the anty to mark the special occasion of playing her bucket list venue and revealed a whopping $10,000 cash prize. “10 thousand for whoever gets up here and tears up the Bichota’s stage,” she said.
Even as the show began to wind down, there were no signs of the fans letting up. After a brindis with “200 COPAS,” the crowd was relentless during hits like “PROVENZA” and “TUSA” through the very end when Karol closed out the show with “MAMIII.”
It’s no longer a question if Karol G has the star power and command to hold it down at larger venues like her male contemporaries do. As she demonstrated last night through her triumphant MSG debut, this is Karol G’s world, and we’re all just living in it. So grab a red wig and join the party.
The $trip Love Tour will continue to play U.S. cities through Nov.