The Last Don: Live
Issued a little less than a year after The Last Don, no doubt in response to the overwhelming embrace of that album as a pillar for the emerging reggaeton movement, The Last Don: Live might seem on the surface like a typical cash-in release. After all, that's exactly what Daddy Yankee's Ahora Le Toca al Cangri! Live was -- a poor-quality, outdated cash-in release issued a little less than a year after Barrio Fino, no doubt in response to that album's wildfire success. But unlike Daddy Yankee's live release, Don Omar's is worthwhile. In fact, it's quite impressive, not only in terms of sound quality, which is crystal-clear here, but also in terms of song selection, as it's up to date and features all of Omar's most popular songs to date, including some of his hard to find early singles. In a word, The Last Don: Live is epic, sprawling across two discs (22 songs, plus three new studio recordings tacked onto the end) and incorporating a bit of a narrative, with Omar framed as "The Immigrant" in the opening introduction, which features, of course, the theme music from The Godfather. It's a shrewd move, but it works well, giving this live performance a bit of a cinematic sense (most apparent on the DVD edition). From there Omar launches into one of his biggest hits, "Dale Don Dale," and then a few of his earliest singles, before keeping the energy level high with a few medleys. The show then slows a bit until Omar begins firing off more crowd favorites toward the show's close. This is the best part of The Last Don: Live, as Omar performs some of his best songs and the crowd often sings along with him. As previously mentioned, there are a few studio recordings tacked onto the end -- "Pobre Diablo," "Carte a un Amigo," and a salsa version of "Carte a un Amigo" -- and they're valuable additions, the first one in particular. Overall, The Last Don: Live is yet more evidence that Omar is far and away one of reggaeton's leading practitioners, earning his stripes as a live performer here, in addition to the accolades he earned with his debut studio album a year prior and the crossover success he'd earn a year later when "Reggaeton Latino" took America by storm during summer 2005.