U.S./World TOUR 2005

Santa Fe, NM - August 22

Santa Fe in late August is one of God's gifts to the world! Absolutely beautiful weather in an absolutely beautiful place, nothing less. One of the prettiest spots around happens to be where the Gipsy Kings played Monday night, August 22--the Santa Fe Opera. Suzanne and I managed to score a pair of front row tickets, right in front of Paco and Canut.

After enduring a long line of slow moving concert traffic--hey, who said things are supposed to move fast in New Mexico?--we finally got to our seats. The first thing we noticed is how big the stage is, and how far back the band was set up. So even though our front row tickets were right there, the band was quite a distance back from the audience. The next thing was the annoying moat (of sorts) bordering the front of the stage. I suppose that's to keep the audience from climbing on stage, but hey, this is an opera venue, and just who in the audience ever jumps on stage during The Valkyrie, anyway? As it turns out, the pseudo-moat didn't work.

The introduction was different from what we've seen--very heavy on the synthesizer, some artificial fog, Pacheco on percussion, and the ever-faithful "are you ready for the gypsy fiesta? Live from Arles and Montpelier in the south of France.........the Gipsy Kings!" When the boys came out, they were right on their game, but it took awhile before the sound booth realized the synthesizer needed to be brought down, way down, to allow the guitarists to show their stuff.

The playlsit was pretty much what's already been described. I thought it was a nice mix of their traditional hits with some newer releases from Roots. One of my favorites from Somos Gitanos, Poquito a Poco, was dead on straight..."su cara tan bonita, su cuerpo me fascina..." At this point, Canut tried to get Suzanne to come up and dance, but thanks to the burly bouncer-dude next to us, she didn't manage to pull it off. Suzanne, by the way, does a mean flamenco dance, and had already been up on stage at this point, ignoring the pseudo-moat. Unfortunately, a few jazzercise bimbos also ignored--or rather, encountered--the moat and got up there to do--what else?--a jazzercise routine. That was pretty sorry, but the jazzercise unfortunately looked better than what appeared to be a highly myopic atomic researcher from Los Alamos who got up there and (I'm not joking) promptly did his version of the "headless chicken strut," pocket protector and all. Ah, Santa Fe, you're just not the same anymore.

I'd say the most energetic of the boys was definitely Andre, who was really having his own juerga off on his side. He was dancing, strumming, smiling and really having a great time. Patchai was pretty much next, and was apparently the designated cheerleader, judging from how many times he got in front of the crowd to give them a wave of encouragement.

Afterward, we walked off in the cool evening air of my old capitol, Santa Fe, where the red is hotter than the green, where old adobe is more expensive than new construction, and where rumba flamenco really does seem like it just belongs.