U.S. Tour '99
New York, New York
September 1, 1999
Theater at Madison Square Garden
Gipsy Kings Concert in New York City, Wednesday September 1, 1999 at the Madison Square Garden Theater
The concert started about 8:15 pm and ended about 10:20 pm. Here's the playlist (don't know the official titles for some of these):
I had soup and bread before the concert at Penn Station (Long Island Railroad concessions). Wore my Gipsy Kings black polo shirt with embroidered leaves and GK name. There was a wine tasting going on. They were collecting names for a drawing for backstage passes. However, what I think really happened was the guy with the passes just gave them to the "cute paya bimbos" who were "shaking it" up front.
I sat in the second row on stage left next to the bass speakers. The bass was so loud that every time Negrito pressed the drum pedal, the hairs on my arm were blown up by the sonar wind! (I hope my right ear recovers soon!)
The guys seemed a little unhappy during the first song, but they relaxed and started enjoying the concert. Every so often the lights panned down over the audience and I made sure I was smiling and "dancing" to encourage them. There were two girls sitting behind me who were "over excited" and wouldn't stop talking during Un Amor. Nicolas walked over from stage right to stage left and sang to me only about 12 feet away! I enjoyed the image of his gold necklaces nestled within his white chest hair.
Nicolas wore a navy loose shirt. The others wore mostly black except for Patchai and Canut who wore beautiful vibrant rose/fuschia shirts. I want one!
During the concert, girls kept putting little notes on stage that Patchai picked up. I wonder if they said "for a good time call xxx-xxxx"?
At the end of the concert during Bamboleo, Paul pulled up a woman from the audience. She was very tall and thin and dressed in a black "cat suit". She made her way to each member of the troupe, finishing behind Canut making snake arms behind him.
The audience must have clapped for 5 minutes after they walked off stage. Finally they came back for Volare, the full piece. The audience was on its feet quite a bit of the time and I think the boys really enjoyed the response.
Sarah and I were in the center of the entire theater. From the stage it's kind of fan-shaped with the seats rising up as you go to the back of the theater. The sound was really perfect from where we were.
What a weird crowd. There were all sorts. I think pretty much the entire crowd was seated for Ami Wawa and Lleva Me Compas, but a lot started getting up for Djobi Djoba and then everyone was pretty much on their own after that. Did not get encouragement from Patchai this time as in Raleigh. Sarah had warned a youngish couple directly in front of us that we would be noisy and hoped we wouldn't offend them. Well, I cannot figure out why these people even came because they sat in their seats unmoving for the entire show! So when the entire audience was up on their feet screaming, jumping, clapping later on, particularly at the end, here was this black hole in front of us! I guess they enjoyed looking at wiggling fannies in front of them or something. Finally, for the encore, they were so moved that they sat on the backs of their chairs!! At one point, 3 people that were 2 rows in front of us and a little to the side stood up to dance. People behind us were yelling at them to sit down. The guy turned around and motioned them to stand up! For a woman next to us, this was her first time. Her daughter had seen the GK at Radio City last year. So she and her husband had gone to Radio City last night, found it closed, and took a cab to Madison Square Garden! Her husband was really subdued for the whole show, but by the end, she was up and dancing.
Saw Olga and Bil at extreme stage left (Canut's side) in about the second row, right in front of some speakers (sounds like they were very close to Frances). Bil was up a lot and at one point an usher came to ask him to sit down I guess. Take a guess what kind of response that got!! Sarah and I went down to talk to them during the intermission.
The band might have been a little subdued when they started, but got into it right away. They were in fine form and were really enjoying themselves. Toninoites: El Maestro was absolutely great last night. Salsa de Noche and Recuerdo Apasionado were especially good. Played some very passionate and different licks the whole night. The song at the beginning of the second set is not a new song, but is Inspiration. The reason it sounds familiar is because it's on the first GK CD! Or, you might have heard it years ago when it was used on an episode of Miami Vice! All in all, a great, great performance by a truly gifted musician.
My take on Nicolas during Un Amor is that he was really hamming it up. Normally he just stays in his one spot. But last night he was walking around in front of the monitors waving his right arm around like he was crooning to the ladies. And he did walk clear over to Canut's side, but he was really singing to Olga!
Georges sang the wailing part at the very beginning. Don't know how it compared to Michael but it sounded good to me. He was constantly calling out to the crowd after each song. After Andre sang La Negra he called out "Oncle Andre" instead of Tio Andre like in Raleigh. Then later on it was Onkle Patchai and Onkle Canut!
We did get backstage, but only through persistence. I had gone to the head of security before the show started and asked about getting passes. He said to see him after the show. So when I did, he said to go over and wait with other people that did have passes. Sarah started talking with a young woman who was wearing a pass about how she had gotten it. Apparently she had flown in from somewhere just for the show, didn't have tickets, came to the Garden to try and get them (none available apparently) but while she walking on the street someone came up to her, gave her two tickets and 2 passes!!! Apparently, she was really interested in sticking around to see the band, and she gave her pass to Sarah!!!! So that's what we used to get in. It's very weird how these things work out, but somehow they do. Backstage was nothing like in Raleigh. After about 15 minutes we were all ushered up some incredibly narrow stairs to a room that was identified as Gipsy Kings Concessions. There was free beer and food but we didn't get any. We got daring, and tried to follow Olga and Bil when they left, but they disappeared around a corner. So we're hanging out inthe hall not knowing which way to go, and Titi appeared! So I told him we had met him in Raleigh, he remembered, and signed one of the red T-shirts Sarah had bought for the purpose. Then Patchai came out, signed the shirt. Eventually we went down some other stairs and got just outside the dressing rooms. Talked with Pacheco a little, then Pascal got very excited and was insisting that people get out of the way to the band could get out. So in a little bit Andre, Paul, Tonino and Negrito came by, all signed. Then Nicolas came out holding the hand of a woman I assume was his wife, but in reality have no idea. Never saw Canut. So that was our experience last night.
I gotta split. We've got a concert to go to.
A backstage pass
Gerard signs a shirt for Sarah
Back to Tour 99 Main Page