U.S. Tour '99
September 3, 1999
Pier Six Concert Pavilion
Even though everyone's been talking about Atlantic City all week there WAS a concert at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore Friday night and I had a great time (no encounters, just listening to the music), against all odds. I hope someone else (Efren? Ulis?) was there, because I'm far from the best person to write a review, but I'll give it a try and hope someone will fill in the blanks/make corrections.
I'd never even heard of Pier Six, had trouble getting through to buy tickets and had no idea how good my seats were, since there was no web site with seating chart, THEN had to listen all week to people tell me I'd never make it from Reston to Baltimore on time because the Ravens & Orioles were playing, there was a Springsteen concert and it was the beginning of Labor Day weekend and everyone would be headed for the beach. Plus I had to make a detour to pick up a friend before the concert. I was resigned to missing the first set.
I think the interstate had been closed because of a wreck then reopened just as we got on our way -- we got there an hour early! The pavilion is sort of a smaller, makeshift Wolftrap, an open-air stage by the harbor with some covered seating, some lawn. Our seats turned out to be seventh row, directly facing Canut!!! But that also meant I couldn't see the other end of the stage too well, especially since I'm very nearsighted (my friend is even more so), so I can't be too detailed about a lot of things despite being fairly close to the stage. I couldn't even swear that it was Andre between Paul (that silver hair) and Nicolas (unmistakable), I just assume the lineup was as has been reported for this leg of the tour. I am also one of those people who can't tell one instrumental from the other, so I'm not sure which ones they played except Recuerdo Apasionado -- I listened to Compas today and am SURE that was one of them, I'm just not sure about the position, so I put it where it was on gam's Raleigh play list. I had a "cheat sheet" that included a couple of this year's play lists and I took notes, some of which I can actually read, so here's what I CAN report.
Observations of a nearsighted (but not deaf) fan:
At least near me, people seemed to be either fans or ready to get into the music, so the atmosphere was good. No one danced at first, but when Patchai motioned for people to get up at the beginning of the third song, many did. After that, the crowd was up and down, dancing and clapping, and stayed up for the end of the second set (beginning with Patchai's rockin' song).
People dancing in the aisles (a lot during the second set) were pushed back to their seats by staff and NO ONE that I could see got on stage, which was fine by me. Some people, including the couple in front of me, danced during Montaña, which annoyed me because I like to sit and listen and watch Canut during that song, but I have to admit the way it was sung the slow-dancing was kind of appropriate.
Nicolas sounded good though possibly restrained. Different from when he did most of the singing and every note seemed to come from deep inside him, but I like the new setup of sharing the lead singing duties more--and this year I could HEAR him. Overall, the sound was better than I expected (didn't use the earplugs I'd brought) and didn't drown out the singers completely like it did last year at Merriweather. However, there was one song in the second set where it actually sounded like they were out of tune for a while -- it was startling.
Canut had on a big smile as they came out and got into place and seemed very up. Patchai was full of energy and moved around some, at one point in the second set briefly moving over right next to Nicolas, and was quite the cheerleader. They encouraged the crowd to acknowledge individual efforts; Canut smiled and bowed to acknowledge applause after singing Djobi Djoba.
Nicolas stood offstage during Todos Olé and I thought that Tonino was offstage at some point in the second set, but Patchai was blocking my view. Is this possible? Does Tonino ever rest? Late in the second set others (Georges? Someone else young but I guess not Michael --Doume?) came forward. It was VERY hard for me to see the stage at this point because of all the people raising their arms -- but that's good -- the crowd was really responsive.
The band was dressed mostly in black/gray, with two exceptions. For the first set, Patchai wore a BRIGHT pink/red shirt, unbuttoned halfway down -- very hot. He toned down (the clothes) for the second set, but Canut wore a shiny green shirt with gold stripes -- maybe wanted to stand out more for Montaña and A Tu Vera?
Can't report anything about the backup band, except there was lots of applause and cheering when the spotlight was on Pacheco and Negrito individually for a bit during Poco a Poco.
-The Play List-
It seemed to take longer to get the band back for an encore than it has in the past, but the crowd kept up the noise and they finally came back out and did Volare, sung by Nicolas. After, despite being close to the side where they were exiting, Nicolas was the last to leave the stage, waiting to say "Buenas Noches" to the crowd.
All in all, a fabulous night -- I can't wait to tell the people at work who predicted I'd spend the evening stuck in traffic on the Capital Beltway. My friend wants to know more about the GK and kept asking me questions about how they're all related, so I'm sending her the link to the GKML web site and Krishna's web site. And now on to Wolftrap, which I'm sure will be reviewed by experts gam, Efren, et al.
Thanks for your review of the Pier Six concert, Susan. I'm also Susan and I was at the other end (Paul's end) in the front row!! A great night! That unnamed instrumental between Djobi Djoba and Un Amor was Galaxia (one of my favorites?) How did you know the names to the new songs (thanks for that info).
My friend Diane thought that Tonino broke a guitar string somewhere in the first set ?? I don't know, I saw him kind of pull a face. Maybe it was just the everpresent sound problems. Before that, when they first came out, he was all smiles (a rare treat, the Tonino smiles).
I agree with others that Nicolas sounds great this year (and also looks great). Diane and I got some nods from him for our dancing. He left the stage frequently; at one point Georges stepped up front to take his place. Though I was right below Paul and Andre, it was hard to see or relate to them too well as the stage lights were right in our faces. Paul looked a little more restrained than in past years, though at one point he launched into some fancy flamenco stepping.
Susan in Baltimore
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