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U.S. Tour '99

Detroit, Michigan
August 28, 1999

Pine Knob Amphitheatre

August 28, 1999
Pine Knob Music Theater

Primos gitanos,

Well, I'm a GK virgin no longer, and what's more, my first time was incredible! My three wishes were fulfilled: 1) that the crowd be responsive; 2) that the show be good (for those performing and those attending; 3) that there be no "Dance Nazis". I had good seats (14th row, centre). They were closer than I thought they would be. This made up for my lost first row Dayton tickets.

I was worried for a while, though. They came out a half hour after they were supposed to start. The crowd was still filing in. When they began to play, the seats were about 1/2 to 3/4 filled. By about the second or third song, everyone who wanted to be there was in their seats. The band came out and the only person smiling was André. Nicolas and Patchai seemed to be down right frowning. During Amiwawa the crowd was cheering and a few people were dancing. The crowd was wild with applause at the end of the song. Patchai seemed to lighten up, but not Nicolas.

Sometime during Lleva Me Compas Patchai told the crowd to "Baila" and about half the place responded. YES! Nicolas did a great job and even started to smile. At the end of the song Nicolas and Patchai seemed to exchange a nod and a glance that said "hey, the voice is holding up well".

Nicolas left the stage for Djobi Djoba. Almost everyone was on their feet by now. Everyone in the band looked more happy and relaxed. Paul was already flirting with and dancing for everyone in front of him. Canut was marvelous of course, but a bit too serious. He didn't seem to be overly enjoying himself, but at least he wasn't frowning.

Next was Tonino's new instrumental. Nice, but not an unforgettable melody.

Nicolas was back out for Un Amor and was incredible. He did some wonderful vocal work. He smiled when the crowd showed its appreciation after the song and smiled for the rest of the evening. Yeah!

La Negra was André's turn. Much of the crowd was on its feet but when Nicolas stared Baila Me, the house was rockin'! It was so nice to see the whole place on its feet. The band appeared very happy.

Next was Recuerdo Apasionado. The crowd, again, showed great enthusiasm for Tonino's playing.

Patchai sang Todos Olé with Canut doing some echoing, singing like only Canut can. The crowd loved it. Many were up dancing.

Everyone was up for Poro Pompero. Canut and Nicolas sang. I think a lot of people recognized this tune because the crowd seemed to be singing along with the chorus.

Break time.

Tonino, André and George came out to play the second new instrumental. I liked this one, but it seemed to have a very familiar sound, almost like I knew the lyrics.

Nicolas sang Quiero Libertad beautifully, followed by André singing Campana Sueña. The crowd loved this one and was up yet again.

Montaña had the crowd mesmerized. Nicolas came in at the end of the song and added some beautiful vocalizations.

Salsa de Noche was awesome and the crowd was appreciative.

Andre and Patchai shared the next new song and I couldn't figure out what the chorus was, but it was a catchy number.

Immediately following this song was A Tu Vera and it was rocking. WOW! I have to say that this was my favourite moment of the evening. Very cool and very fun. This is where we got to see Pacheco and Negrito do their thing. Everyone was on their feet.

Everyone remained up as they broke into Bamboleo (a very sad song for me because I knew it was soon to end). A real dancer appeared on stage and was dancing beautifully. Tonino, in particular, seemed to be enjoying her. By the end of the song there were six or seven other women from the crowd on the stage. They were all well-behaved and so were not removed. The band seemed to enjoy it. They even let one girl grab one of the percussion instruments and play it the whole time. This was nice for these women, but I found annoying because there were so many of them. They took away from my enjoyment of the song. The girls got lots of hugs from Nicolas, Paul, Andre and George. They took final bows and left the stage.

After what seemed an eternity they came back for their only encore - Volare. The crowd loved it, me included. Despite the car commercials, I love this song. It's fun and happy and puts me in a great mood every time I hear it (GK version only, of course).

At the end of this song it was obvious that they had no intention of doing a second encore. Nicolas said "Muchas Gracias, Tank You", and that was it.

I know this is not much of a review and simply and song by song account. I don't feel that I can comment much on the quality of the show, as this was my first GK concert. I'm afraid that anything would have made me happy (except Nicolas frowning all night). The music must have been a bit over-powering at times because twice I saw Canut cover his ears at the ends of songs (when everyone was jamming fast and hard). The vocals could have been louder, but there were no technical problems that I could detect. The crowd was quite a range of ages from babies to people in their 70s. I liked that.

One of the best things about the night was that I got to dance through it all. My legs were like jello by the end. The other was, of course, Canut. Simply put, he is beautiful.

Another enjoyable moment was meeting Sandra Friedman, our resident linguist, and her boyfriend Jonathan. I told Sandra what I'd be wearing and where I'd be sitting. I heard my name being called and when I found out where it was coming from and saw their smiles I knew it had to be them. They are very nice people and I'm so glad I got to meet someone from the list.

Sorry, but no personal encounters, which was fine by me. I saw some of the "ladies" that Patchai had hand picked to get backstage passes. I'll leave it at that.

Well, there's my account, for what it's worth. If I have any decent pictures I'll send them along.


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