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U.S. Tour '99

Phoenix, Arizona
June 2, 1999

Desert Sky Pavilion

It was fantastic! I counted EIGHT new songs! Great ones, too! Rumor has it that the new CD will be released in August, and it will be an outstanding one, indeed!

Same lineup as last year: (house left to right) Paul, Andre, Nicolas, Tonino, Patchai, Georges and Canut. Same backup band, including Michael.

Here's the playlist:

  • Intro (new, different, very Arabian)
  • Ami Wa Wa
  • New Song #1
  • Djobi Djoba (with Canut singing lead)
  • New Song #2 (an instrumental)
  • Un Amor
  • Not sure of this one, Andre sang lead
  • Baila Me
  • Recuerdo Apasionado
  • Todos Ole
  • New Song #3

  • New Song #4 (instrumental)
  • New Song #5
  • New Song #6 (had familiar strains)
  • Montana
  • Salsa de Noche
  • Sueno de Noche
  • New Song #7 (Andre sang lead)
  • New Song #8 (Patchai sang lead)
  • A Tu Vera (three girls danced on stage)
  • Bamboleo (more girls danced on stage)

  • encore: One of the new songs, very uptempo

This show sounded like all the ones that came before it should have. No distortion, the sound was actually quite excellent!

There are the facts. Now it's Lauren's turn.


Amigos and cousins -

It was a fabulous first nite on the GK tour - they sounded great, played enthusiastically and introduced some new rumba/arabic material that had a familiar feel to it. Traditional Gypsy folk music modernized for Tour '99 perhaps?

The song that Andre sang lead on, but - we can't come up with a title, has the lyric "Amor Bem Bem Bem, ...." Anyone have a clue? It's a very familiar song but even perusing our CDs, I can't take a guess.

GK look great. Michael and Georges, of course, thrill the hearts of the younger girls. Nicolas is letting the natural grey show in his hair. Canut's pony tail is getting longer.

The woman behind me asked me to sit down (I was on my feet from the first note) and I had to shoot her that "you gotta be kidding" look. I noticed she was talking on a cellphone during the concert. What was she doing there?

One down, four to go.......................LP

Anybody who ever visits Maricopa County in the months that don't end in an "r" come away with a definite impression that the word "hot" could also be spelled P-H-O-E-N-I-X. And it was with this in mind that we left beautiful Flagstaff yesterday to head for the desert and the Gipsy Kings' US debut for their 1999 tour. Boy, were we pleasantly surprised!

Pleasant to the tune of a temperature only in the 70's or 80's, with a gentle breeze blowing through the excellent venue, Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavillion. This was the group's first appearance in that venue, having previously packed the Mesa Amphitheater to the gills in years past. When we arrived,(Bob, Lauren, Logan, Carrie, Suzanne and myself) during the soundcheck, it seemed that the sound was a bit pushed, distorted, and we thought we would see a repeat of almost every other venue's main problem: soundboards pushing the limits of human endurance.

Ah, but when the boys came out, everything was grand! And different, too, from the past! First, they were on time! Yes! Eight o'clock really meant 8:00! I was impressed. Second, the sound was nothing short of excellent. The group was playing new guitars, or at least different from what they used last year, and the sound pickup was absolutely expert!

Did I say different? Oh man! Canut was smiling! He was even joking around, especially at the start of la Montana, when the crowd went wild knowing he would belt out those tunes we all enjoy so well. He laughed at the others with a look on his face like, "Yuk, yuk! Do they REALLY like this song or what?! Oh well, guess I'd better sing it, then!" He danced around during some of the other tunes, and in general was not the usual moody sort he presents himself to be! Wow!

Different? I figured there was about an extra 140 pounds of weight gain amongst the 7 main guitarists...

Different? The new songs left me breathless! We heard the US debut of more new songs than we even knew what to do with. The style of their new tunes is VERY Gypsy-folk, and goes way way back to some traditional roots, as best I could tell. Where "Compas" was more "pop" influenced, I felt like I was witnessing their return to the more traditional campfire and caravan-influenced music that caught my ear way back in the first place, way back in '89. If any of their new stuff is on the upcoming CD, guys, be prepared! You're gonna LOVE this stuff!

Different? Yep, but still a group that will chill you to the very bone with their stunning guitar mastery, their haunting vocals (including Patchai and Andre on leads of their own, in addition to the tried-and-true Nicolas and Canut), and their ability to get a crowd on their feet faster than a Disneyland fire...

You folks who will see upcoming concerts are really gonna like what you see! As for now, this moment, all I can do is wait FOR LAS VEGAS!!!


One more comment on last night's show: they seemed to rotate the spotlight. First, they'd play a song with Nicolas singing lead, after which the spotlight would be on him and the others would extend their hands toward him as he took a few bows. Then Canut would sing one and it would be his turn in the spotlight. Then an instrumental, Tonino's turn. Then Andre, Patchai, back to Nicolas, another instrumental, and so on.


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