U.S. Tour 2003
Red Bank, New Jersy
Count Basie Theatre
May 2, 2003
Red Bank, NJ is a small town north of Asbury Park (home to Bruce Springsteen). The Count Basie Theatre looks like the movie theaters of about 40 years ago. Now people like Tony Bennett perform there. In other words, it's smallish and more intimate than, say, Radio City. A great place to hear the Gipsy Kings!!
So Sarah and I got there early, like Maja. And as we were driving up towards the theater, there was an intersection with a traffic light, and it looks like everybody's on the corner waiting to cross! So I'm the first car stopped at the light, the light turns green, and Patchai starts sauntering across the street by himself, ignoring that a white minivan (me) is bearing down on him! So as I got up to him, I rolled down the window and said "Hola Patchai! Sabes donde estas?" [Hey, Patchai, do you know where you are?] He was so startled that somebody knew who he was in this little town, that he immediately came down off his swagger, looked at me, recognized me, and said "Hey, how ya doin? Come see us after the show!!" So as I drove in front of the theater, there was Nicholas, and I called to him, he said Hi!, I said We're coming to the show!, and he motioned and said to be sure to come see them after the show. So this may have been just before Maja saw them come out of the restaurant around the corner from the theater. I imagine they were checking it out, with Pascal setting up a reservation for after the show.
So we met Maja in this little bar not more than a block from the theater that had sushi and tapas. She was there with her daughter, Illisa (sp?) who had been initiated into the world of GK performances lst year at the Hammerstein ballroom in NYC, and another listmember Wanda, from Connecticut, who was there with her sister Aida, from Virginia. Now Wanda is a serious GK junky. She's going to see them in Denver and Las Vegas as well!! And I would imagine at least one of the Virginia shows, since her sister lives there.
So on to the show. As I said, the place was small (relatively speaking). Backup band: Pacheco, Dominique (in a blue fedora-type hat and a blue print shirt), and the same drummer and bass as last year. Don't know the drummer's name, but he's tall, thin, got a crewcut with some gray in it. The bass's name is Xavier (Fernando Xavier Padilla Delgado). He looks a little like Canut in my opinion (tall, long dark hair), and plays a great fretless bass. The band (stage R to L): Paul, Andres, Nicholas, Patchai, and Titi. Yes, I'm sorry to say no Canut, but in talking with several people afterwards, he just felt he wasn't ready to perform, although Pacheco did say that his arm was healed and looked good, but with a severe burn, it can heal on the surface, but it takes a long time for the nerves to re-establish, etc., particularly to be able to strum vigorously the way he can. I asked about whether he'd be on the second leg, and there was a Don't know, maybe response from whoever I asked.
First set playlist:
Second set playlist:
By the end of the second set, the place was really jumping. There was about a 10' area between the first row and the stage, and it was jam-packed with people dancing, as were the aisles. Our seats were in the second row of the balcony, so it was great to look down on this seething mass of people having an absolutely great time.
IMHO, Nicholas sounded great, but I think he may have overdone it a bit. He sang 5 songs, but they were very intense songs, and clearly he gave it everything he had. Listmember Roger found out he'd had a bad flight on the way over, so if anyone at later shows thinks he's not sounding that great, that may have something to do with it.
After the show, I met listmember Frank, who sets up the sound equipment for the show. He informed me that he liked the theater because he could achieve 95db with no distortion! I thought everything sounded great (I may be slightly biased!). I tried to see if there was any way to get backstage, but as far as I could tell, no one had passes. I did talk to one of security guys, who informed me the band would be coming out the back of the theater. So I went around, just walked into the theater, and there was Pacheco and Xavier. Pacheco and I chatted a bit, then I saw David, who started to ask me where everyone was, but then they started coming out, Nicholas and Andres first. So I had this new digital camera, and David told them to stop so I could get a picture. So I did, and the others came out, I got some pics of them.
In the restaurant (Buona Sera, a very nice Italian place with excellent food) Sarah and I somehow got a table right next to their big table, so we got to visit a little bit. But they didn't stay around very long, because they had about an hour drive into Manhattan to get to their hotel, and it was after midnight. Paul was the last to leave, because he was doing some drawings of guitars, on the back of the sign that Maja had given to Nicholas!! So I got a picture of him holding his drawing!
So that was our experience on the opening night of this year's tour. I'll get out a review of the Radio City show, which included a rare treat, as soon as I can.
I am still savoring every moment from last night's concert.
One memorable experience after another.
The evening started off with my sighting of the GK on the corner of the theater, coming out of an Italian restaurant. They seemed so relaxed and comfortable as they strolled over to the Count Basie Theater. If only I had found a parking spot sooner! Next, I was fortunate to meet other list members. Thank you Frank, Blanca, Aida and Derek for your friendship and companionship last night. Hope we all keep in touch.
I brought a small sign to the concert (which thanks to the internet, I was able to write out in French). Just said: Thanks for your beautiful music. I held it up and Nicholas acknowledged it with a beautiful smile. I wish I could be specific with the song list, but, sorry, I was too wrapped up with the show. Canut was not present and Andre sang the encore "Volare". Of course, we heard "Un Amor" and "Bamboleo".
They all looked well and healthy. Nicholas' voice a little strained. I guess that may be why he didn't sing the encore number. Finally, I am still on cloud nine due to actually getting to meet, and hug Nicholas. After the show they returned to the same restaurant. We were there when they entered. I said a quick hello to Andre and Nicholas as they made their way past the crowd. I realized I had the sign I made and handed it to Nicholas. He was so gracious and said thank you to me.
Guess going to a smaller venue is the way to go! The show was fabulous and most important they seemed very relaxed and comfortable. The entire audience was up and singing & dancing. This was my 10th concert and I have never seen such a diverse and active audience!
Now, I must come back down to earth. I will have to wait another whole year for my next concert, so please, keep me posted with the latest concert reviews and news.
Again, thanks to all my new friends from last night!
Maja (Mary Ann)
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