REVIEW: Anitta Brings First Headlining North America Tour ‘Baile Funk Experience’ to MGM Music Hall at Fenway

It’s hard to believe Anitta had never headlined in North America before this year. Her debut ‘Baile Funk Experience’ at Boston’s MGM Music Hall last week was nothing short of electric. 

For those less acquainted with the genre, Brazilian funk is a true sensory feast. Also known as “favela funk” or “funk carioca,” crispy cymbals, kick drums, and uncensored lyrics characterize its signature sound. What began in the 1970s with superstar groups like Kool & The Gang and Sly & The Family Stone soon transformed the cultural fabric of favelas — the dense, hillside working-class neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, home to over 11 million people. This is the essence of Brazilian funk, a genre born in the neighborhoods where residents have faced discrimination and exploitation simply for living there. Favela life is marked by stark realities, including rampant drug sales controlled by local gangs and nightly parties where social classes converge. Classic “Funk carioca” doesn’t shy away from these truths; it embraces them, offering an unfiltered glimpse into the lives of musicians who grew up there or live there to this day. Anitta was born and raised in one of these neighborhoods: Honório Gurgel, north of Rio de Janeiro. 

After a brief DJ set, Anitta graced the stage exactly at 8:30 PM, jumping right into “Funk Rave” from her latest album Funk Generation — also her third trilingual record. The set, framed by tall chain-linked fences, replicated her “Double Team” music video with Bad Gyal, alongside her dance troupe dressed in matching red and black leather. It’s impressive how much energy every performer had. 

The crowd at MGM was so vibrant! From Brazilian soccer jerseys to full sequined outfits, Anitta’s fans truly go all out. And they didn’t just watch the performance; they eventually became part of it with each new song (off a 31-song set list, by the way) igniting dance circles or chants in unison — in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. The most excitement came from her biggest hits “Fria,” “Envolver,” “Bellakeo,” and “Downtown,” with Anitta turning the mic towards the audience during each chorus. 

The rhythm, choreography, and Anitta’s undeniable stage presence undoubtedly brought a small, but powerful, piece of Brazilian culture to Boston. 

Grab your tickets here to experience ‘Baile Funk.’