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U.S. Tour '99

Chicago, Illinois
August 24, 1999
Chicago Theater

Hola a todos,

Barbara and her husband, Dick, were exactly two seats aways from my family. It was great to finally meet them, they are wonderful!! Luckily the couple stuck between us were very sweet and big fans too. My daughter was sitting next to me and our son was on the other side of my hubby. We were sitting in the first row of the theater seating with four rows of orchestra seats in front of us. Nicolas was right in front of us. The Chicago Theater is a smiliar venue to the one they play at in Minneapolis. Historic, not too big, with balcony seating as well.

Barbara told me about Derek's post about Paco being back and that Michael was not there. I was very surprised. While it is nice to see an "old friend" I missed seeing Michael's fresh, young face. Paco did look great! I didn't watch his playing carefully enough though to notice him following Patchai or Canut. Canut was indeed trim, a big change from Las Vegas (Olga said it was because he started smoking again :-( )

I don't write down a song list as I like to be "in the moment". They did start out with "Ami Wa Wa" and Michael's canned intro. There were a few ommissions from the L.V. concert, no "Itana Mora", no "Amour d'un Dia" (I was hoping for that one in particular after reading about the Austin concert). Otherwise the play list was much if not the same as Derek reported. Tonino did about three solo songs, one was my favorite "Recuerdo Apasionado". That made my night!! He was having fun and played great the whole evening!! We made eye contact somewhere in the second song and I waved to him. Andre and Georges recognized me too. Paul was distracted by a pretty blonde who was enjoying herself dancing gypsy style. In fact, when they left the stage after the second half, he made a diving motion as if to dive into her arms. Needless to say she got back stage. Paul did notice my daughter dancing and smiled at her too!

Barbara and I got up right way only to have security politely tell us to sit down. Thank G-d for Patchai who gave us permission to dance. Georges was very enthusiastic too, as always. The crowd gladly went to their feet for all the faster songs and sat for the ballads. Patchai's new song is so HOT!! This song was preformed better last night than in L.V. Leave it to him to add the rock and roll element into the line-up. Andre also got a wonderful response to his new song. Canut and Patchai split duty on "Djobi Djoba". Nicolas stayed on stage for the whole concert, but does not sing as much and seems preoccupied. I see a big difference in his stage pressence from two years ago. He still wants to sing well, but is holding back, being very careful. When he did show some vocal dexterity, Patchai and others motioned for the audience to acknowledge his offering.

Canut did a nice preformance of "Montana" with Patchai, Nicolas and Andre helping with the last few notes. "A Tu Vera" was solo time for Negrito and Pacheco. They were great and the crowd loved them.

As usual the stage was stormed by an overly enthusiastic woman during "Bamboleo". She danced around Patchai and toweled him off a few times, then security removed her. No paya bimba this time, a real gitana from Chicago (Paul's blonde danced better though, score one for a paya!).

The encore was "Volare" and that was it! I could live without that one, I'd rather they did a fandango as an encore and send us off with duende. I associate "Volare" with that old car commercial.

I pointed out to Barbara where Olga was sitting and we introduced ourselves during intermission. I met her son Bil too. We chatted for a few moments and went back to our seats.

Barbara and I had talked with two security guys before the concert and told them that we had met them before and had a birthday present for Tonino. One guard was particulary helpful to the extent of his position. During intermission he pointed out his boss and told us to talk to him. The boss told us to give him the gift and card (I had made packages of photos from L.V. that are on the list for each band member too.) We wrote down our seat numbers too, he said he couldn't promise anything, it would depend on their response to our gift and photos. We waited after the show and the helpful guard tried his best to get us in, but no luck. He told us to wait at the stage door outside. Feeling a little disappointed, we headed outside and joined the small crowd. Two white vans waited. After 20 minutes or so the first of them came out. Nicolas was first and Barbara went up to him and stated talking. I had to walk around to the other side. Barbara asked him to come over and meet my kids and we got a photo with him. Tonino came out next and came over to talk to me. We kissed cheeks and I asked him if he remember me from L.V. (Derek, I didn't know at the time that you had showed them L.V. photos too, how sweet!!) I asked him if he got the CDs I gave him and the photos. He said yes and thanked me for the gift. Then we got a photo of him with my kids and me, and he boarded the van. Patchai came out and talked to fans at the other side and then went into the van. I didn't get a chance to talk to him. Canut went by without me noticing while I was talking to Tonino. The vans, apparently full, pulled away. We were still visiting with Barbara and Dick when Paul, Andre and Negrito came out without a van to take them with the others. We talked to Paul and got photos with the kids and then I talked to Andre. Although I never talked directly with him in L.V., he remembered me and we greeted each other with a kiss on both cheeks. Again, more photos with the kids. I got a photo of Barbara talking with Negrito (in English!) It was time to leave and I told Andre good night in French and the 6 of us walked away. I hope that they got picked up in a timely fashion. I felt funny leaving them hanging around the back.

I was relieved that they did get the photo packages I sent backstage and Tonino did get the CDs. I hope they enjoy the photos. I was disappointed that I didn't get a chance to ask Canut if he has used the sketchbook and supplies that we gave him in L.V. If anyone from the lists gets to meet them out east please remember to ask him, Victoria would like to know if he has enjoyed them!

Barbara and Dick are seeing the second concert as I write this. She will be able to add more and compare the two preformances.

I'm exhausted, 16 hours in the car in three days, YUCK!! To those of you waiting for your concert, have the best time!!

Rumba on,



I forgot to add that there were sound problems, lots of reverb, that persisted throughout the concert, worse at some times. The tech guy came out and adjusted some dials, but the problem continued with the band looking at each other for the cause. The vocals were hard to hear sitting close. When I've sat in the 15th row, the sound has always been better. It's a toss up, good sightlines vs. good sound.

A Paco ditty...after the intermission and they came back on stage, the tech guy came out and adjusted the hook-up to Paco's guitar and positioned his guitar strap so it lay flat across his shoulder. Paco seemed a little surprised by all the attention, he smiled to Patchai and Canut.

Ciao, Victoria

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