MONTREAL -- The Bell Centre was packed and popping Friday night for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began as Ricky Martin and Erique Iglesias took the stage.

The ongoing COVID-19 risk of infection didn't stop the thousands of screaming fans from Living La Vida Loca after showing proof of vaccination and promising to wear a mask.

"Are you ready to have a good time Montreal?" Martin said from the stage. "Let's do this."

Wearing a mask and flashing a VaxiCode vaccine passport was a small price to pay for many who took in the latin superstars.

"I'm so excited chikka-bomb-bomb, chikka-bomb-bomb, woooo!" said one woman before heading in.

The concert, however, almost didn't happen. Organizer Evenko almost cancelled the show, but on Thursday Health Minister Christian Dube announced changes to public health rules allowing theatres, cinemas and sports venues with assigned seating to operate at full capacity.

Some think the change in policy may not be the best course of action.

"Personally, I think it might be a bit premature right now to be doing that," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Donald Vinh. "I think we have not mastered or controlled the fourth wave. We are starting to see a slight decrease in community cases but we still have a high number of hospitalized cases including in ICU where 50 per cent of the capacity is devoted to COVID patients, so I'm not sure the relinquishing of social public health measures, not sure this is the right time."

For those taking in the show, however, it was safe and time to party.

"Two years ago maybe, not now," said one woman before the show. "Now it's fine. We're fully vaccinated."

Friday's performance was a test run at the Bell Centre, as Habs fans get ready to flood the arena for the Montreal Canadiens' home opener next Saturday against the New York Rangers.