MEXICO CITY –  Sam Smith began celebrating his 32nd birthday with the most anticipated concert of the night at Mexico City’s Tecate Emblema festival, which drew more than 59,000 attendees Friday.

“I have to tell you, it’s my birthday in two days,” Smith said in one of his first interactions with the audience. “So please sing as loud as you can and let’s have fun, rain or shine, we’re going to enjoy ourselves.”

His words about the rain were in earnest, as his performance progressed the sprinkling turned into a welcome light rainstorm after weeks of intense heat in the city.

The London singer had several costume changes and just as the rain was at its peak he emerged on stage in a stunning black ball gown with a corseted waistline and wide skirt, as well as long green crystal earrings, which he showed off to the audience before dedicating a few words to them.

“This year marks a very special anniversary for me and a very special year for anyone who has been with me since day 1, it’s been 10 years since my first album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ came out and there are songs from that album that I’ve never sung live and I decided that this year I wanted to sing this one,” she said. “I wrote it when I was so young and I was so heartbroken and it was so dramatic, and now every time I sing it I feel a little sorry for myself, but it’s so special to share it with you,” he added before performing “Good Thing.”

“Stay With Me,” “I’m Not The Only One” and “Lay Me Down” were other songs from her debut album that she performed on the night. His hit with Disclosure “Latch” and other of his most popular songs such as “Too Good At Goodbyes” and “Diamonds” were not to be missed either.

Smith closed his performance with a stunning rendition of his 2023 Grammy Award-winning hit with Kim Petras “Unholy,” for which his corps de ballet and himself dramatically performed the song in costumes that included black corsets and veils, in a mix of cabaret and gothic motifs.

“It must be my lucky two years, because we were just in Mexico City last year and I promise you, seriously, this is my favorite place to come on tour, I’ve had the best concerts of my life here,” he said.

Other of the most anticipated artists of the night were the Italians from Måneskin, who managed to ignite the audience by inviting fans to the stage to sing “Kool Kids”, but also disconcerted them by having a rather long pause immediately after, when there were still about 20 minutes left for their concert to end, according to the festival’s schedule.

Many people started to leave, thinking the concert was over, when suddenly their guitarist Thomas Raggi reappeared for an explosive solo and then vocalist Damiano David, bassist Victoria De Angelis and drummer Thomas Raggi joined in. Although they came back, they were not so convincing, as in this encore they repeated “I Wanna Be Your Slave”, which they had sung before.

On the other hand, a group that people don’t seem to get tired of so far is Belanova. The Mexican electropop band drew a large part of the festival’s audience to the KIA stage, the second largest at the Emblema, about two months after another stellar performance at the Vive Latino Festival in Mexico City. On this occasion they had Paty Cantú as their guest, who hours before had performed at the festival, for “Tus ojos”. Belanova, who, more than two decades after their founding and after some years away from the public, have experienced a great comeback thanks to the popularity of their music on TikTok, already has two dates scheduled for the end of the year at the Palacio de los Deportes.

Earlier in the day, Bu Cuarón, the daughter of Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón had her Mexican debut with a concert featuring songs from her EP “Drop By When You Drop Dead”. As expected, Cuarón was present at the concert, as was Bu’s mother, Italian actress Annalisa Bugliani. But they were not alone, Bu was accompanied on stage by his brother Olmo on guitar and his cousin Mateo on synthesizers. Among the audience were Enrique and Joselo Rangel of Café Tacvba, actor Diego Boneta, Mexican DJ and producer Camilo Lara, cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki and filmmaker Carlos Cuarón, Bu’s uncle and Mateo’s father.

Other artists who performed on the day were the Venezuelan-American Elena Rose and Nicole Zignago, daughter of Peruvian singer-songwriter Gian Marco. Nicole took the main stage by storm with an evening concert and celebrated being at the festival for the first time a year after going as an audience to see Camilo, one of her favorite artists.

To close the night, U.S. DJ Marshmello presented a different set than what he has been accustomed to lately to Mexican audiences, after hits with Latin rhythm tracks such as “El merengue” with Manuel Turizo and “Harley Quinn” with the regional Mexican music group Fuerza Regida. Instead, this was a night of dubstep, trap, techno and other heavy electronic music mixes. Marshmello took the opportunity to premiere two tracks he had just finished. The crowd danced with him until the end.

Emblema will continue on Saturday with performances by Anitta, Nicki Nicole, Lali, Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilera and Calvin Harris.

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