World TOUR 2008

Chicago, Illinois - March 6
The Chicago show was amazing! After a day off at a Florida beach the guys were rested and spot on the entire show. The show started with Rumba Tec!! The rest are not in order: Llevas Me Compas, Un Amor, Pharaon, Montana, the Tiki song (Canut), Djobi Djoba, Tristessa (Andre). Second set: La Dona (Andre), Camargue (duet Andre and Nicolas alone on stage), Si Tu Me Quieres, Pueblo, Sabroso (solos for back up band), Pena Penita (Andre), Sol y Luna and a couple of others. They sang Volare at end the second set. Encore was Bamboleo and one other, I can't remember now.

The theater was not sold out but the crowd was on their feet early which was great. Canut wagged his finger at people taking photos and at one point walked to the side of the stage to ask for more security up front. Within a couple of minutes a huge guy was standing next to me in the aisle. Even with all this commotion, the guys didn't miss a beat or let the disruptions affect their playing. At the end of the concert, Pablo invited one pretty Latina up to dance. This concert more than made up for the flat performance at Wolftrap last summer.

We met up with them at the hotel right after the show. Alberto, the Chicago area musician who had recently traveled to the Fete, arrived with his family, friends, and a couple of guitars. Alberto and a friend played while Tonino, Nicolas, Andre and Canut listened encouragingly. Pacheco was there too sitting in the back. After a time Andre took one guitar and didn't give it up for the next 2 hours! Playing either with Alberto or Canut, Andre sang almost every other GK song recorded. Mixed in were a few popular Cuban and French songs, and Manzanita's "Quiero Verde." After finishing the song, Andre made reference to the song in Saura's film, !Flamenco! and the last performance of Ketama and Manzanita with all the kids dancing, he thought that was superb. They even had some fun with with Roy Obison's "Pretty Woman" although they giggled through most of the lyrics other than the chorus and didn't quite finish the song. People made song suggestions to Andre and he would begin singing. Canut would walk in and out, occasionally sitting down to play and sing. He started to sing "Chan Chan" but Andre was messing with him by playing faster and faster which made Canut mess up the words. Canut started laughing and covered his face with a jacket. Canut and Andre also played some instrumentals that showed much more of their toque than we ever see in the concerts. I think Andre would have played longer if Alberto didn't have to get his family and friends home. With Alberto, went the guitars. :-(

I can't really find the words for those 2+ hours. Andre was having having a blast. He was so generous with his time and talent. Canut and Pacheco rounded out the night. But a big cheer goes to Alberto for providing the opportunity for this to happen. I admire his pluck. I'd be too self-conscious to play in front of any GK band member. And even though is probably the third time I've seen him play in the lobby after a show, this was the first time that I witnessed the GK regarding him as more of a musical colleague. I don't know Alberto personally, but he must have gone home with a heart full of pride.

This was a once in a lifetime experience!


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