Puerto Rican salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa
There simply isn’t anyone else like him. So gentle. So elegant. So vocally talented. So charismatic on stage. So romantically and tropically sound. And yet so humble.
That’s the one-and-only Gilberto Santa Rosa, the acclaimed 52-year-old salsa singing gem out of Puerto Rico who performed to a sold-out crowd at The Belasco on Thursday, Feb. 19 in downtown Los Angeles.
It was 11:30 p.m. and the fans eagerly awaiting his arrival. Santa Rosa, dressed in a fine custom made grey suit, soon appeared and right from the get-go his presence was felt throughout the venue with “La Agarro Bajando.” This uptempo, catchy track is always a fan favorite when delivered live and last night was no different. Everyone in attendance loved it, as evident from their sing-along of “Todo lo que sube tiene que caer.”
The rather loving “Un Montón de Estrellas” (off of Viceversa) followed to the delight of many before “Yo No Te Pido” and “Derroche” came and went. “Derroche” seemed to have a significant impact on people because they all shouted “Besos, ternura, qué derroche de amor, cuánta locura.” That there was one of the many highlights of the night.
Santa Rosa, who in 2014 released his latest studio album in Necesito Un Bolero, proceeded to sing a true classic in “Que Manera de Quererte.” The opening piano segment on it is simply beautiful, lyrics are beyond superb, and Santa Rosa’s way of portraying it comes to near perfection.
Three tunes after “El Caballero de la Salsa” (The Gentleman of Salsa), to the request of some in attendance, sang “Conteo Regresivo” – the massive hit off of Contraste. In 2008 “Conteo Regresivo” spent several weeks in first place among Billboard’s tropical list.
“Amor Mio No Te Vayas,” “Vivir Sin Ella,” “No Quiero Na’ Regalao,” “Perdoname,” and a ballad version of “Que Alguien Me Diga” followed before his finale with the infectious “Déjate Querer.”
Over the years, Santa Rosa has performed in the greater L.A. on a regular basis – at times even having 2-3 shows per year. He loves L.A. and L.A. loves him, particularly for his passionate salsa dance moves, tender voice, and gentleman-like demeanor.