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U.S. Tour '99

Raleigh, North Carolina
August 22, 1999
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

I got the scare of my life on the way to the Raleigh, NC concert last night -- the guys at the Burger King we stopped at thought the concert had been cancelled! Fortunately, they were wrong!

Wow! What a night! I was in heaven! I met Derek Janszen and his wife there, and they helped me with everyone's names. I'm sure he'll give a better review than I could, since he's more up on the subject, but I couldn't have asked for a better concert. I mean, this was my first concert in years, anyway, and my first time on the front row, AND my first GK concert all at the same time. The music was wonderful, fabulous, etc. etc. etc. They seemed to be having a good time, too. Of course they asked people to dance, and everyone around ME complied happily, of course. No dance Nazis that I saw, but I was more in to what was happening in front of me than around me. Of course, this IS Raleigh. The place was FAR from packed. However small the crowd may have been though, it made up for it in enthusiasm.

I kinda missed the opening wailing thing that I read so much about before my trip, as Miguel/Michael wasn't there. I still can't figure out what Georges (I think it was Georges, anyway) was doing with the microphone, either. I think he was just being silly, personally. He was constantly shouting stuff into it, but whenever I could catch exactly what he was saying, it was usually unimportant or didn't make sense. Once he shouted that they would play a "new song", but the others seemed to override him, and they played something familiar (I'm trying to keep the order right, it may have been Montaña at that point), instead. Nicolas disappeared after the first set, too, which was weird.

Oh, the cutest one up there? Patchai, definitely!

Last thing... there was a photographer there blocking our view a bit during Ami Wa Wa. I talked to her just before the show started, and she said that she was there taking pictures for the company that makes the cymbals the band uses, and that they were going to get a picture for an ad for the cymbals to be placed in a drumming magazine. Now I'll have to peruse the newstands for the next year to see if I can find it. Any drummers out there that could tell me which magazines to look for? I couldn't read the name on the cymbals, either. What are they? Of course, I felt sorry for the photographer. With the whole line up front during that first song, she had a difficult time getting a shot, and she was gone when the perfect shot appeared: First song of the second set. Three up front with plenty of space to see the drummer. Bright purple background offsetting the sparkling green drums perfectly, and the cymbals gold from the gold lights spotlighting them. It was a beautiful shot! Wish I had had my camera, but I'm one of those people who won't sneak one in if the rules say not to...

I eagerly await your review, Derek!


All I can say is:


In more ways than one.

This is a review of the show, and there may be more as I recollect things, but I wanted to get this out, particularly because apparently there are no reviews yet of the Atlanta concerts.

Alltel Pavilion (aka Walnut Creek) is an outdoor amphitheater. The seats and stage are covered, and there's a lawn area that rises up behind the seats. Desert Sky in Phoenix (?) sounds similar. If people had bought lawn tickets they could have sat in the regular seats if they wanted, but many sat on the hill. Raleigh has been in this heat wave the last several weeks, but the high temp yesterday was only (!) about 85, and it was pretty humid.

There were many surprises. I knew that listmember Melissa (Mouse) would be there, and we (my wife Sarah and I) unexpectedly met her and her husband early on. So we chatted a while, and then I wanted to meet GAM, who had told me she had lawn seats with some other family members. I think there was a niece or nephew she was planning to use to get backstage after the show! I went looking for her but no luck. So I did the next best thing. I plopped myself down where everybody had to go to get into the seating area, made a "Gipsy Kings Mailing List" sign on a piece of white vinyl with erasable marker I had brought for the occasion, and proceded to hand out the coupons I had made for last year's shows at Radio City! Got lots of takers, so there might be a swell in new listmembers. Never did see Gammie, so I don't know if she made it or not.

Our seats were in the second row, almost dead center but towards Canut's side. Dominique, Gerard, Negrito, Pacheco, and Georges came out and started playing some wailing kind of thing, then Pascal came out and did his thing, and then the rest of the band came out, but where was Michael doing his thing??? Surprise #1: HE WASN'T THERE. BUT PACO WAS!!!!! Between Canut and Patchai. Wow! The band looked absolutely great. Canut has lost a considerable amount of weight. So here's the first set playlist as I remember it:

  1. Ami WaWa
  2. there may have been one in here but I don't recall
  3. Djobi Djoba
  4. Tonino instrumental (new)
  5. Un Amor - very passionate and slow
  6. La Negra (Ama Bei Bei Bei)
  7. Baila Me
  8. Recuerdo Apasionado
  9. Todos Olé
  10. Poro Pompero

The reason I don't remember on #2 is that Patchai came forward at the start of Djobi Djoba and motioned everyone to get up, and I'm pretty sure it was the third song. The crowd had been very enthusiastic prior to that, but needed that little encouragement that it was OK to go crazy.

Second set:

  1. Surprise #2: Inspiration - unbelievable!! Have no idea if this was played in Atlanta, but it was one of my fantasies to hear this. Tonino was accompanied by Negrito on drums, and Andre and Georges playing guitar on either side. Everybody had changed shirts: Andre and Georges had on the red T-shirts that wre being sold, Tonino in a black T. When the rest of the band came out after this, they all had on the red Ts, except for Canut who was in black!!
  2. Quiero Libertad
  3. Campana Suena - started out with a short, slow duet-kind of thing with Paul and Andre, then Andre took the lead when it sped up. I think I've heard this on the Manitas de Plata CD Olé. Canut really got into it by doing a little dance, then Patchai picked it up and really went to town dancing. Michael Jackson, look out! When I saw Patchai after the show, I told him he had to teach me how to dance like that!!! He laughed at that.
  4. Montaña - di di di dis at end of song sung by Andre.
  5. Salsa de Noche
  6. Poco a Poco - sung by Patchai. Nicolas had left the stage prior to Montaña and didn't return for the rest of the show. Pascal later told me that he was really exhausted, that it was 4 AM for him. After all, he'd flown in 3 days earlier and was still suffering jet lag.
  7. A Tu Vera - when Pacheco took his solo, he got so into it that his cap came off. He caught it before it hit the floor and was banging his drums with it!! Patchai was really up for this and was coming in with background harmonies at the wrong times, but who cared? Everyone was having a grand time!
  8. Bamboleo - well, if Nicolas wasn't there, who was going to sing it? Canut? NO!! Surprise #3: ANDRE!!!!! Patchai moved over to Nicolas' mike and shouted out the "Ustedes!" at the appropriate times.
  9. Encore - La Quiero, sung by Canut. Tonino came out smoking a cigarette! After the song, Canut shook his head to the others, that he couldn't do anymore, so there was no second encore.

What a great, great night. Looking at Bob's playlist from Las Vegas, it's obvious they left some songs out, but it didn't detract one bit from the show. Everybody was having a lot of fun: us, crowd, band. There was energy galore. I have no idea what the seating capacity at Walnut Creek is, but it was nowhere near full. Including the people on the lawn, maybe half-full. What the crowd lacked in size, it made up for in enthusiasm. Some of the best was yet to come, but I'll have to save that for later. But here's some teasers:

Surprise #4: Met Olga and Bil! They are VERY nice people. Tonino remembered many of you from the Hard Rock in Las Vegas: Victoria, Georgia, Bob, Lauren (well, at least the ones I showed him pictures of). Canut is a very, very gracious person. He also likes to kid around alot, as they all do. I just wish I'd been able to get a picture of him pretending to eat a bar of soap...


I won't add too much more right now. But first & foremost. Announcement time: since no one's really mentioned him so far, unless I missed something... PACO's BACK baby!!! Lookin' tight & fresh! teehee! He was so cute too, whenever he got lost he'd follow Canut or Patchai. But damn, I was too bloody far back!!! They didn't get much crowd interaction at first-maybe a little Southern Gentility. I KNOW it would have been nice to see a familiar face [ahem... mine, especially...] ; ) heehee! So at first we started out on the lawn-"we" were my friend Dominique, her husband & baby, her mother, a cousin, my brother & me -- nice little group. We had din-din at this AWESOME Jamaican restaurant in Cary, NC - "Ben's Jamaica", earlier and after some curried goat, callalloo & rice & peas, etc... [I swear it was like they snatched my mother & had her working back in the kitchen...] caravanned to Walnut Creek- it's kinda small compared to a few others I've been to & not packed at all- little bit of a bummer, but after everyone got over the "shyness" [almost like NC was on a blind date with the GK!! HA!] the crowd warmed right up & became quite the slut [in the good way.... ; } Security was tight as a drum tho, again being a new relationship, I guess no one really knew what to expect. In between what I'm assuming was the orchestra area were table-clothed reserved tables for some sort of local copy company.... HA! that area was roped off with a "Walnut Creek Centurion" at each aisle point ...had a run-in that I won't speak of here.... oops! tee!

Yeah, George was def. the life of the party last night... I didn't see Michael, but I just thought it was due to my crappy seats. Who did the beginning wail with Pacheco & Negrito tho? I don't think George can get that high- was it Andre? it sounded just like Michael... it wasn't piped in was it?!?! ooh the horror! Nick sure did get outta there quickly... very frustrated that I didn't get to talk to anyone. So much to ask... [sigh]

I kinda dug the funky background lights used mostly in the second set. It was like being at an Orb show or at a rave... GK at a rave- one can only dream about that scenario... lots of psychedelic swirls & floating suns-- trippy colors. Also after intermission everyone but Canut & Tonino who were wearing black GK t-shirts, came out in matching red GK t-shirts-- large rose emblem across the chest, so cute over their paunches... tee hee. Speaking of Canut, can a man get more beautiful?? He's lost almost all his gained weight that we saw in June & his hair wasn't so tightly pulled back.

Songs: As usual, the set list is never enough... def 1 new one I didn't hear out west. Canut's Djobi Djoba rocked. They also did the one that sounds kinda reggae-ish that Patchai leads, the fast one that Canut does where they almost stop in the middle & "break it down" LOVE IT!! Oh god! can't wait till A/C!!!! A Tu Vera kicked ass! Ay Canut... baby's back! [like he went anywhere... ; )] Tonino even did the James Bond theme riff, tee! and during the drum solos, Pacheco's hat fell off & he improvised/ smacked his conga with it a bunch of times-- that was cool. No Amour d'Un Jour this time No Gitano Soy... didn't write anything down-shoreee... Patchai danced alot! Seemed like he was looking out in the audience for someone tho... someone he just couldn't find... hmmm... HAHAHAHA!! ; } thank god he didn't see her, tho cuz the NC humidity grabbed hold & mangled my hair something fierce! think wet chubby rat -- yikes.... heehee

Interesting tho, the sound level increased double-fold after the intermission. I thought it was great & guys sounded so "on". Although we were way back, and while still smiling & bouncing, but looking a tad confused, Dom's little 6-month old munchkin began to cover her ears so she was whisked away by her mom for a walk around the back areas. That is one happy baby. She has her moments & already knows what buttons to push, but loves life- so cool... petite gitane in the making. I was worried that Dom's husband wouldn't dig the GK-he's a big ex-jock-basketball/football, very R&B, slow jams kinda guy, but she said he actually fell asleep babbling about how awesome they were: "wow, they played their own instruments... zzzzzzz... what was that song with the senorita senorita? zzzzzzzz... man that was so good... zzzzzzzz" No doubt we all had guitar dreams last night.... [le sigh]


Oh, one more thing about the concert on the 22nd in Raleigh.

It sounds NOTHING like the venue of the 21st. At Walnut Creek you aren't even allowed to bring in real lawn chairs, just flat chairs and blankets. No bringing in of your own food, either, although you can pay $4 for some EXTREMELY stale nachos and such out in the concession area... They are so tight that they charge you $6 to PARK ON GRAVEL!!!! I mean, even at an amusement park like Carowinds, where the cost is ALSO $6, you get to park on ASPHALT!!!! Geez! You get an armband to wear to prove you can drink, but if you go to the backstage bar, you get a different colored one on a different arm, then you have to go get a new one on the other arm when you re-enter the pavillion. Yep, screwed completely up....


So we got in the door to this VIP lounge area and were just sitting around waiting for someone to come out or something to happen. After a few minutes, Andre and Patchai came out, there was clapping, and they wandered around a little, talking to some people they recognized. Somebody else came out (maybe Pascal? Don't remember.), Sarah spoke with him, and he led her to the back to see the other band members, with me right behind. So we walked around the corner, out of sight of everyone else, and there, sitting in the middle of this wide deck-like walkway, was Canut with Johnna sitting next to him, and 2 other people were standing. I didn't know who they were, but it turned out to be Olga and Bil! So Sarah started talking with him in Spanish (it's worse than mine, Gourmet, so I guess that means everybody understood her better than me!!!), that she had made it and wanted to give it to him and everybody else in the band for presents, etc. I started speaking for her, explaining we had given Tonino some last year, that we were going to see them again in NY in 10 days. He was more or less repeating what I said back to us, so it was clear he understood what was being said. So he thanked us, shook our hands, called out to Pascal as he went by that the soap was for everyone in the band, and told us to go into the rooms where the rest of the band was. I think it was at about this point that the woman who was standing there asked me if I was a member of the mailing list, I said I was, and she introduced herself as Olga.

Sarah had the camera and I don't know if she was taking pictures yet or not. But Tonino came out of one of the rooms so I went over to him and started having a long talk with him, asking if he remembered about us giving him the soap last year in NY, and he was thinking and then said Oh, sí, sí, en Radio City. So I told him we had more for everybody, get some, etc. Then I started showing him a few pictures that I had printed from this year's Hard Rock escapades, and after a moment he said he remembered, particularly meeting people out by the pool. While all this was going on, I noticed Canut was going through the bag of soap, picking out different bars (probably based on color), sniffing them, handing them to Johnna.

I can't remember exactly what happened after this, but Sarah will be able to help me out. She went into the room Nicolas was in and talked with him and got pictures, but I never saw him. But I did talk a little with Georges (showed him the Hard Rock pictures I had), saw Titi walking around (he's married and has 2 kids!), spoke with Patchai about dancing, talked with Pascal and asked if Nicolas was OK (that's when he told me he was exhausted, and said I should go in to talk with him).

Then (Carolyn, get ready!) Negrito came out of another room so I introduced myself and started talking with him, showing him pics, get some soap, etc. I was speaking in Spanish (and yes, Gourmet, he understood me completely!!!) but he was responding in English! Then he looked at me quizzically and said "Aren't you the one who held up the sign that said 'Bienvenidos'?" I said it was. (After about the second song, Sarah and I had held up this sign I had previously printed on the white vinyl. Don't know who else in the band saw it.) I think Sarah got a picture of us together, so we'll make that available. Pacheco and Dominique also came out after that.

I have got to run now, but there will be more once I talk to Sarah and find out what happened with Nicolas. We talked a very long time with Olga and Bil and got chased out of the theater by security!!


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