Bob and I just made it home from tonight's show up in Phoenix, so I
thought I'd share our joy with you all at how wonderful it was
despite Canut's absence. Driving up there was pure drudgery -- I
always hate the 2-hour trip on this deadly stretch of I-10 anyway,
but doing it without A/C in 100+ temps through a dust storm is not
something we do unless there's a pot of gold at the other end.
(Don't get me started on why the Hummer doesn't have functioning
A/C) But a pot of gold there was.
Dodge Theatre, is a brand-new state-of-the-art venue in otherwise icky downtown Phoenix. Great acoustics, comfy seats, and the usual lively crowd. We had seats in the 10th row to extreme house left - very odd for us to be so far back but a nice change from the usual first or second row seats. Acoustics are much better further back and the bimbo factor is significantly lower back there, even though it's a trade off for lack of eye contact with the GK. But we just wanted to slide in and slide out this year. And it was much easier to write down the playlist and notes that way ;)
I was surprised that neither Paco nor Georges were there. But the rest of the lineup made up for it. Pablo, a much thinner Andre, Nicolas, Tonino, Patchai and Diego were the front players with Titi (Patchai's son for those who don't know) playing with the backup band. Pacheco was extraordinary as always, Dominique is back and the new drummer and bass player whose names I don't know are much much better than last year's replacements for Negrito and Gerard.
Playlist, etc: (deciphering the notes I scribbled in the dark)
Nicolas' voice was as strong and moving as ever throughout the concert. And this year he played guitar more than usual. Great to see him back in full force. During Un Amor, for my taste, there way way too much echo and when the audience started applauding his tremelos two seconds after he sang them I couldn't help but make the snide comment (I am a snide bitch after all) to Bob "What are they applauding? The echo?"
Sabroso was the vehicle to showcase the new backup band and to give Pacheco his solo moment and it rocked (using "rock" figuratively of course). The new drummer and bass player are excellent.
Patchai is sounding better and better and it's nice to see both him and Andre carrying more of the show. Andre's voice has always been wonderfully haunting to me and this year he seemed to hit those high notes that eluded him last year.
For us, the highlight, after 23 concerts, was to finally hear them do Viento live. Riveting is the only word I can find to describe it. And if for no other reason, I wish we were going to another concert this year, so we could hear it again.
It seems that with Canut's sudden absence, they have pulled out some of their old music, which is a dream come true for us. Once again -- and I think I've said this about many many concerts, I don't understand why Salsa de Noche doesn't bring the crowd to its feet. Certainly the crowd loved it, applauded it, but no one ever gets up and dances to it. It's the one song that I just can't sit still for. That wall of jamming guitars is just too energetic.
A Tu Vera with Andre and Patchai was great. Maybe it's because we were sitting further back this time, but I enjoyed this version more than I've ever enjoyed it before. Usually sitting so close to the stage I always find the throbbing crowd around me opressive and never really enjoy it as much as I did tonight. Although, I still would love to hear it done more acoustically.
Since we had a two-hour drive home, we deciced that if the encore was Volare, we would jam at the first "vo...." but were pleasantly surprised to hear Pena Penita instead. ("Oh, no. Not Volare again!") But we were spared.
The only thing I can add to Lauren's excellent review is a personal note. When they played "La Doņa", it did not give me goosebumps like it used to (I think it's because that was the first vocal on the Live CD which brought home to me that fact that I'm actually seeing them live in concert). This made me think that, after 23 or 24 concerts, the excitement might be wearing off. THEN, when they played "Viento del Arena", it made tears stream from my eyes and run down my face. This was the ONE song I've always wanted to see them play live, but never had. If I could have made one request, that would have been it. My GK concert experience is now complete!!!