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U.S. Tour '99

Austin, Texas
June 17, 1999

The Backyard

Dear Amigos Gitanos,

This is to tell you about my first Gipsy Kings concert ever. I am not well versed in Gipsy Kings lore, so please forgive that lack. I first heard of the Kings last Fall in Huntsville, Texas, when my philosophy professor played them on his guitar, and sang them, for his Aesthetics class. I fell in love with both him, and the Gipsy Kings at the same time. (Alas, for me, though, for I am a married woman!) We became friends and often listened to the Gipsy Kings together, both on CD and video, and he played them himself for me often. When I graduated, I gave myself a gift (To: me, From: me, Love, me) of Gipsy Kings tickets for the both of us for the San Antonio (my hometown) venue. We drove to Austin the day before on other matters, but as it was late in the afternoon, with nothing else to do, we checked out The Backyard where the Kings were performing that evening. Then we decided, "What the hell? Let's try to get tickets for tonight--what could be a better thing to do than that?" I'll have to admit, I was uncertain, due to the expense, but I have never regretted it since! We got two general tickets, which allowed us to sit ANYWHERE right in front of the stage. Of course, once the Kings came out, we were no longer sitting! For the first half of the show, I was in a kind of state of shock and awe. During the break, it was fun visiting with all the other enthusiastic Gipsy lovers. During the 2nd half, as I've mentioned elsewhere, there was a beautiful gipsy young man featured on his own handheld drum. I have since found out it was a local performer of whom the Kings became fond. I was spellbound during that entire (new) song. Much drumming. Michael and Pacheco, I believe, also played quite a bit on stage that night. The whole evening was enchanting, like a dream. It was quite "Phrygian" (from Aristotle's Treatise on Music: It means "wild and exuberant" and is pronounced, quite aptly, "friggin"). Well, that sums up my Austin story. The next night... San Antonio.

Kathy Dowell, from Texas, now residing in Georgia.

The Austin show was very good! I got there early and waited in line so I could be right up front by the stage as I was last year. While I waited to get in, I got to listen to the sound check and could see them through a little window in the wall. It was wonderful to hear each one taking turns singing songs that aren't on any CD's. There were several songs I didn't recognize. The concert was great. I had a real smile-fest going with Nicolas. I think he recognized me from seeing them in Florida, Austin and San Antonio last year. I wish I had remembered to bring the picture I had taken of us together last year for him to sign! I didn't really try to get backstage-had several other people with me and we had a long drive back home. I was happy just seeing Nicolas's beautiful smile coming my way from time to time. By the way, Titi came out for the encore of Bamboleo-he is a cutie!! And the guy who came out and did the drum solo looked like an Indian to me, not American Indian. I have lost track of a lot of the Austin music scene since I moved about an hour and a half away from there so I wasn't familiar with him. But he was very, very good!

Katie Hefter

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