Ricky Martin during the Jazz Festival, taking place at Media City, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Ricky Martin brought an unabashedly Latin flavour to the final night of the three-day Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival on Friday. The Puerto Rican singer, 46, showcased energy that would put a gym instructor to shame and costume changes that would rival any Jennifer Lopez concert — even if they were a series of sleeveless T-shirts in various shades.

Perhaps it was because it was his first ever performance in the UAE, and considering that all his contemporaries — from Lopez to Enrique Iglesias — have performed here multiple times, Martin seemed determined to make up for lost time at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. And what fans got was an endless showcase of high-energy, non-stop music that showcased his undeniable appeal as a performer.

Taking to the stage a little after 10.30pm in a black suit, accompanied by a group of dancers and musicians, Martin opened the show with Mr Put It Down, his 2015 single featuring Pitbull, and sent fans into a frenzy.

By the time the third song played — Shake Your Bon-Bon from his breakthrough 1999 self-titled album — the crowds were grooving. Many grabbed the opportunity to show off their salsa moves.

“Dubai, are you ready to have a good time?” Martin asked his fans, now in a black sleeveless shirt, showing off his toned arms decorated with henna. “This is my first time performing in Dubai and I’m going to leave my soul on stage tonight.”

With many of his top hits, from Livin’ La Vida Loca to She Bangs and his 2001 duet with Christina Aguilera Nobody Wants to be Lonely (she was projected on screen), Martin interspersed his performance with his Spanish hits, each delivered with non-stop energy that brought the amphitheatre alive. By the time he got to Maria, his first international hit from 1995, the venue reached fever pitch. But Martin took it higher, performing his own version of Luis Fonsi’s global phenomenon Despacito.

In an earlier interview with Gulf News tabloid!, he had spoken about how proud he was of Fonsi, who he referred to as “my friend”, and Latin American representation in the mainstream.

During a rendition of It’s Alright, from his 2006 album Life, Martin and his male dancers dressed in skirts, and the fans lapped it up. He also debuted his new single Fiebre (Fever), which was broadcast live from the Dubai stage to his social media network and fans around the world.

After indulging in some audience interaction, Martin quickly disappeared, but not for long, and returned, in an all-white ensemble, to perform his 1998 hit The Cup of Life, that became the anthem of football that year, and one of his biggest hits ever. It was the song that introduced Martin to the world, and the perfect song to end what was 90 minutes of pure musical passion that rippled through the diverse Dubai crowd.