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U.S. Tour '99

San Diego, California
June 6, 1999

They performed last night (Sunday, June 6) at the Coors Ampitheater in San Diego.

Ami Wow Wow! What a great concert. Finally I got to hear them with good sound quality. IMHO the bass was a little too loud and was drowning out the rest, but the sound in general was far superior to the last two years.

I printed out Bob's playlist and brought it with me so I could compare and contrast. The first half of the playlists were identical, but there were a few differences towards the end. Here's my playlist, edited from Bob's:

  • Intro (new, different, very Arabian)
  • "Ami Wa Wa"
  • New Song #1
  • "Djobi Djoba" (with Canut singing lead)
  • New Song #2 (an instrumental)
  • "Un Amor"
  • "Ama Bei Bei Bei", Andre sang lead
  • "Baila Me"
  • "Recuerdo Apasionado"
  • "Todos Ole" (Last year they played strains of "Tequila" intermixed with this. Fortunately, this year they omitted that part. Also, last year Patchai sang lead. This year it was Canut.)
  • New Song #3 (Canut sang lead. The chorus was something like, "Ba Dum Poi Poi")

    - --break--

  • New Song #4 (instrumental)
  • "Quiero Libertad" (I want freedom). Nicolas sang lead. BEAUTIFUL!
  • New Song #6 "Senorita, senorita, la campana va a sonar" ("The bell is going to ring." Later, it does ring)
  • "Montana"
  • "Salsa de Noche"
  • "Mira La Gitana Mora" (Bob and Lauren heard "Sueno de Noche" here)
  • New Song #7 (Andre and Patchai sang lead)
  • "A Tu Vera" (One girl danced on stage)
  • New Song #8 (Nicolas sang lead. Arabic sounding. Bob and Lauren heard one where Patchai sang lead)
  • "Bamboleo" (a different girl danced on stage but was pulled in the middle due to lack of enthusiasm)
  • encore: "Ba Dum Poi Poi"

True, some of our favorites were missing, but it was well worth the trade to hear all the new wonderful music. I believe my hope has been realized that the GK are not going to continue down the road where "Compas" was taking them. The songs I heard were more in line with their traditional style. I NEED that new CD NOW!!

I think Lauren is right -- Nicolas is playing much less of a role in the concerts. I think Canut actually sings lead more often than Nicolas. Canutians will love this concert but I'm sad to see the transition.

As others mentioned, some of the band members looked a little older than last year. I was shocked to see how much weight Nicolas and Canut had gained. In addition, Canut's pony tail was much shorter than last year. Patchai was still thin, but did not have nearly the hair volume of last year. With his new hair style, a couple of times when the camera caught him at a certain angle, he reminded me a lot of Charlie Callas. I was waiting for him to bug out his eyes and stick out his tongue.

While the Coors Ampitheater is a nice place with good sound quality, I felt less a part of the concert than last year. Part of that was due to my large distance from the stage (I bought tickets way late because I thought I was going to Las Vegas instead). I watched most of it on the two screens on either side of the stage. It was much less personal than last year. "Un Amor" only put a lump in my throat this time.

Yes, Andre's song "Ama Bei Bei Bei" was the same as last year. They were showing a close-up of his face while he was singing. Reading his lips you could see that he wasn't saying "Bem, Bem, Bem". I asked my (Mexican-born-and-raised) wife if she could understand anything he was saying. She said that she couldn't. She said that it was like listening to Michael Bolton.

I think they're still having a little trouble with a couple of their new songs. There were a couple times when they were not all rythmically together. At one point Tonino actually expressed an emotion on his face. Unfortunately, it was when they were out of rhythm and he seemed a little annoyed.

Another place where the camera caught a near-mistake was when Canut was singing "Ba Dum Poi Poi". He took a deep breath and was about to belt out the final lyrics when he heard the fake trumpet part and realized he was 2 measures early. He smiled and looked at the others. Apparently it wasn't the first time he had trouble performing it.

But those were pretty minor problems. All together it was a great experience and I really envy the rest of you who have all this ahead of them.

Jeff Wrobel

I second Jeff's opinion, that was definitively a magic night, and it was Canut's night. If you saw or heard GKs for the first time in your life you would be sure that he is a leader of the band. He even manifested that by being dressed differently from the rest of the band. He was sporting this green silky shirt worn loosely over the extra pounds he gained since last year while the rest of the group was dressed rather uniformly in darker shirts and vests. Seems like Paul lost some weight and looked very nice and trim.

To me the highlights of the concert were: Mira La Gitana Mora performed perfectly by the band, it was amazing how they achieved the instrumentals exactly like on CD, and A Tu Vera where Canut added some extra twists and curves to his interpretation which made it sound very fresh and original. He seemed to have trouble hitting high notes in Montana though.

Nice thing about Coors Ampitheater was, like Jeff mentioned, two big screens on both sides of the stage. During instrumentals they showed close ups of Tonino's guitar and his finger's work. This guy is truly amazing.

People in Las Vegas! You are up for big treat.


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