Hammerstein Ballroom

New York, New York - August 22, 2002


Here's our "unique" view from the floor standing up so close to them!!! The Gipsy Kings concert at the Hammerstein was unbelievably awesome!!!!!! It was so like a private party!!! It was very intimate... drinks and dancing, lots of eye contact. The Hammerstein is a beautiful venue with a domed ceiling and balcony seating only, but standing on the floor was the place to be!!!! We were oblivious to what was going on behind us. The sound at times could have stood some improvement. The set list was the same. During Bamboleo, a lady went onstage to dance and she did a great job. We went backstage, met the guys, they signed our postcards and we saw them again outside. We expressed our concern and wishes for Canut's speedy recovery to each and every one. We were invited to a private party at the China Club afterwards, but passed.

The Ballroom is a small venue, about 3000 capacity max, it is located on 34th street 8th and 9th avenue. All of you familiar with NYC, it is 2 avenues from Macys. The show started at 9 pm,the doors open at about 8 or so. Oh yes one more thing that I though was a classy move either by the Ballroom people,or some one else, they were accepting the cancelled shows tickets for that nite!!..I thought it was very nice.

The play list was the same as mentioned from the concert in VA, and here I will stand corrected, it got everyone going from beginning to end!! (I still would have liked Serrana, Rumba de Nicola, A ti A ti, but they did just fine, we were close enough to see that they were having a great time playing for the audience, who was mainly very young and very female ;)and never stopped dancing. The sound was a bit distorted at times,but not fault of theirs, I have seen the criticism about the place before on other concert reviews.

This show was different from other NYC shows: a venue nobody knew anything about, the show didn't start until 9, the show the previous night had been cancelled, so it was the kind of thing you just had to go with the flow - probably a good idea under any circumstance ;-))

We were to meet a friend on the corner of 34th St. and 8th Avenue, which was about half a block from Hammerstein Ballroom. I dropped off Sarah and went to look for parking. Got back to her about 15 min later, when she told me that Tonino and David had walked by and she had chatted with them, just a couple of minutes after I dropped her off!!!! WAAAAAHHHHH!!! The tickets were just general admission: you either had tickets for the ballroom, where you stood for the entire time or you had tickets for the mezzanines, which had first-come-first-served seating. I had tickets for both nights: mezz on Wednesday, ballroom on Thursday. I decided to go with the seats. We ended up in the first mezzanine, 3rd row slightly stage right, on an aisle. Forgot the binoculars, por supuesto (GRRR!!). The seats were jammed together as close as possible. Plus, as we were to discover later, standing was ABSOLUTELY VERBOTEN!

The entire ballroom is smallish, maybe about a third as large as Radio City (Carlos, que piensas?), so it's more intimate in that regard. It appeared to me as if people were right against the stage. But you had to be one of the first people on line to get one of those coveted spots. And if you've got the stamina for standing for a long time, then you wouldn't mind it. I'm guessing that there were maybe 2000 people altogether. No wonder they cancelled the first night!! I mean, they have had no problem practically selling out Radio City 2 nights in a row, and that's got to be 2000+ per night.

On to the show! The music was really excellent, but for me an important element was missing: NO DANCING!!! That's right. For all the people who had seats, if they tried to stand up to dance, a security goon would come over and tell them to sit down. If somebody tried to lean up against a pillar or tried to sit on the aisle stairs, the sit police (yes, and them, too) would shoo them away. Fortunately, because of how our seats were located, we had some extra room, so I managed to wriggle around a lot!

Now I really can't say what it was like on the ballroom floor, but here's what it looked like to me: people packed in like sardines all moving up and down to the same beat. If people wanted to clap along, they had to put their arms up in the air. Carlos or someone else will have to fill in what it was like on the floor.

The band looked great. It looks as though everyone has lost some weight. Everybody, especially Nicholas, sounded great, and the band was in a good mood. They started out with Recuerdo Apasionado, and took off from there. (Play order may have been a little different from DC, but pretty much the same. I think Efren said they had started with Sabroso.) The new drummer and bass player are really excellent. Towards the end of the first set, they played Sabroso, and both the drummer and bassist really wailed on their solos. I'm really glad they got Dominique back, too.

The second set opened with Bossa Nuevo, from Tonino's album (that's the one Efren couldn't remember the name of), and when the rest of the band came out they launched into an incredibly powerful Viento del Arena, Nicholas in full force. Absolutely awesome. And Canto a Brasil was a breath of fresh air.

I've been going to at least 2 GK shows a year for 6 years now. Here's my take on what it's like to be a devoted fan: you'll probably hear a lot of the same songs over and over, but there's always the chance that something magical will happen, and when it does, you definitely want to be there. I haven't been disappointed yet.

I saw Da boyz for the first time in NYC and they were phenomenal. I stood right in front. It was loud and a little istorted but hey, I'll trade that in a heart beat to see The smiles on Pablo's and Andre's faces. Nicolas sounded wonderful. Heck, they all did for that matter. And Well, what can I say about Tonino?? He is the Maestro!! They all looked like they were having a blast..Which to me just added to the magic of the evening. I did, however, miss Canut and I do want to add to the well wishes that are being sent to him. I didn't get to go back stage or meet them I just had a wonderful time dancin and singin my brains out.. BAMBOLEO!!!!!! tee hee

Hi I also made it to the Hammerstein and stood three rows in front of Nicolas mike, everybody in the group is looking very slim especially Nico, which was having fun with this wierd looking cowboy lookalike that was standing first row. Anyway it was an awsome show and I'm glad to see Tonino do a couple of songs from his cd and happy a gipsy dancer on stage this time instead of women from the crowd. I've been a member for years but only write after I go to their shows, maybe that will change.

I have been a fan for about 7 or 8 years now. I even had a bumper sticker made for my car! Hey, I want everyone to know how talented they are! I have been fortunate to attend each concert in the NY, NJ area for the last 5 years. Nothing comes close to the thrill of being part of a GK concert. Last year, I saw them at NJPAC in Newark. Our seats in the balcony were okay, but, I longed to be one of those lucky ones standing up in front of the stage. I brought along my 26 yr old son, whose only experience with the Gipsy Kings had been when he was home and I would be playing the CDs hour after hour. Well, he enjoyed the show to the point that he made his way up to the front. I decided to give it a try. Figured I had nothing to lose. Wrong! I was stopped each time until finally they gave in and let me walk up during the last song. That was a thrill until...this year!

The concert this year was heaven on earth for me! I am still not over it!

I managed to convince my husband and daughter who is 23 to get there real early. We were one of the first in line. When I walked into the Hammerstein Ballroom I found behind and above me balcony seats and a pretty large open area in front of the stage. Could this be possible??? I walked right up to the stage, smack in the middle and decided this can't be real..Is someone is going to tell me I can't stand here? Soon, I realized it was for real and the wait was well worth it! After a while, the room began to fill. I met Carlos. Anyone else ever meet Carlos?? Some of you may know him since he is a devoted fan that came prepared with his tambourine and maracas. What a great person. We were so busy talking Gipsy Kings, that before we knew it the show was starting.

My first impression was how wonderful and relaxed they all looked and that Canut was missing. Oh well, guess we won't be hearing one of my favorites-"Montana". Nicholas looked 10yrs younger than last year. Most of the concerts I have been to have been enjoyable but I always felt they weren't into it. I concluded that this was because NY area was at the end of the series and maybe they just had enough. This concert was totally different. They were interacting with the audience, especially to Carlos next to me, who was shouting things out to them in Spanish. They would turn, smile and wave. Since I was next to him (and by this time had the maracas) each time they would glance over, I froze!!! When I finally did turn away from the stage, I couldn't believe my eyes. The entire ballroom was filled with everyone dancing and having a great time. If you need to know the program or other details, you'll have to read elsewhere. I was entranced the entire time. Now, I will have to wait until next year. Until then, I have this wonderful memory.

This is what was played in NY:

  1. Caravan Road - background music for when Pascal comes out
  2. Recuerdo Apasionado
  3. Tristessa
  4. Llevame el Compas
  5. Djobi Djoba
  6. Un Amor
  7. Solo Diré (Una Campana Suena)
  8. Sabroso - from Tonino's CD. Awesome drum and bass solos
  9. La Dona
  10. Todos Olé

  11. Bossa Nuevo - from Tonino's CD. This is the one that everyone thinks is Sueno de Noche.
  12. Fandango
  13. Viento del Arena - as Bob has said, worth the price of admission just to hear it!!
  14. Canto a Brasil - at the end, Tonino played "and many moooore"
  15. Salsa de Noche - this is where everyone gathers around Tonino at the end and they speed up
  16. Poquito a Poco
  17. A Tu Vera
  18. Bimboleo - sorry, I just had to say that. A woman dressed in a black leotard and a black skirt with yellow and red trim came out from offstage and was swirling around Andres and Nicholas. At least she didn't drape herself over them like others have done in the past. Definitely not a family member, I doubt that she's gitana, possibly/probably just a pretty fan who has managed to get up on stage and dance at previous concerts.

  19. Encore: Pena Penita - although apparently in Toronto they did Volare (I wouldn't mind if they retired that song from their repertoire)

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