U.S. Tour 2000
New York, New York
September 13, 2000
Radio City Music Hall
My birthday is coming up before too long, and these concerts were my present to myself. I got a whole lot more than I could ever have expected, and did I ever party!!! I was really psyched for the concert (6th in 3 years), open to whatever was going to happen, and was going to have a positive outlook, regardless.
Dropped Sarah off a block from the theater after spending a couple of hours on the road, and at least another half an hour getting through the Lincoln Tunnel. Got parked ($30? No problem!) and into the theater by about 7:30 or so. Our seats were stage center, about 20 rows back. Went out to the lobby with 2 nametags on, one that said "GKML" and another with "DEREK" on it, and we met Cin from the list. Bought a couple of t-shirts (one for Fernando to get it signed) and had to get a couple of keychains, of course.
It turned out that Natalia was 2 rows behind us on the aisle, and Frances McKenzie was on the aisle about 10 rows in front of us.
When the band came out and Nicolas said "Buenas noches" I could tell he was one sick puppy. To the uninitiated or less discriminating listener he probably sounded fine (at least he put up a good front: the show must go on!), but he was really hurting.
Initially the crowd was dead. Yes, it's polite to stay in your seat for La Dona and Llevame Compas, but when Tonino is scorching Galaxia, how is it possible to stay in your seat? I don't recall hearing about Paul playing a rhythmic guitar riff near the beginning of Galaxia, but he did and it was great. I yelled out the "Olé!"s and pumped my arm in the air, and Patchai seemed to notice. Djobi, Djoba, then Un Amor, with the dancer striding out at the very beginning. (Owain, is his actual name Peter, because that's what I heard him tell someone later.) This was very different from a PB getting up on stage (which happened both nights. I think we're going to have to have a new category to describe these people, IPB: invited PB. BTW, Patchai did all the inviting.) He got a pretty good reaction from the crowd. He is not a flamenco dancer, and his dancing had more of a ballet feel to it IMHO. Campana Suena had the crowd on its feet (although Paul and/or Patchai may have had to motion first). Georges was doing the reporting bit after each new song ("Campana Suena, a new song." - in English). I really enjoyed Majoui (sp?). Paul, Nicolas and Canut walked offstage before Tonino's new jazzy ballad (name?), which was nice. Wonder what influenced him on this one? Baila Me ended the first set, which went by all too quickly.
During the intermission I went out and stood in the lobby, but nobody came up to me. (Frank and Carlos, we'll have to meet next year!) Towards the end of the intermission I went to talk with Natalia and Frances. Frances lives near Albany, NY, and told me she had seen them perform at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center many years ago when they were first getting started. SPAC is an outdoor amphitheater much like Wolftrap in Washington DC and would be an ideal place to see them. I seriously doubt they will ever perform there again, however.
Fandango, Salsa de Noche, Montaña (a guy somewhere behind me wanted to sing along so badly he false-started 3 times before Canut actually started! And then he jumped the gun for "No puedo viviiiiiiir"), Todos Olé (with me shouting out the olés and throwing up my arms), Recuerdo Apasionado. Then there was something I hadn't heard about before. Los Nuevos (my name for the new backup band) kept repeating a jazzy riff and taking a little solo while Nicolas introduced them! Poco a Poco, A Tu Vera, Bamboleo, and the Tiki song for an encore. The dancer came out again for Bamboleo, barechested except for a vest which he tried to take off with a flourish at the end, but it didn't quite work because he was too sweaty, so he ended up peeling it off. During the encore, Patchai walked up to the front of the stage and invited a buxom young woman from the first row onto the stage. She had on tight red leather pants (I guess there aren't any other kind), a red top, and a full head of black curls. She could definitely shake
Well, that's what happened during the show, and you'll have to wait for the next exciting installment to find out what Canut had for dinner and whether they will play in England next year or not!
Other comments about the show: As I was approaching the theater, I decided I'd see if anybody was hanging out by the stage door. Nobody was, but I could see someone was leaning out one of the dressing room windows. As I got closer, I could see it was Nicolas, smoking a cigarette. He was just kind of staring out. So when I got right below him, I called up to say hi. He looked down, startled, and waved at me. I told him I'd try to see him after the show.
Not everyone in the audience was catatonic. There was a young lady right behind us who wanted to dance all night long. If I wasn't dancing enough in her opinion, she'd grab my shoulders and wiggle them!
About midway through the encore, Patchai went over to the stage-right wing and was trying to drag somebody out onto the stage! Maybe it was Max!
So after the show we went around to the stage door, with me lugging a bag containing soap Sarah had made to give to the band members (well, it worked last year in Raleigh!). There were about 30 people with passes waiting to go upstairs, but no one could get in because this security bully wouldn't let anybody in! Supposedly there were too many people upstairs (which I later found out was not true!). We started talking with a woman named Ana who had a backstage pass and said she was a family friend of the Reyes. She told us enough that it was apparent she had known them a while. (No, I'm not going to repeat any stories. Besides, no importa.) We told her what we had done last year in Raleigh and that we were trying again, and then she said, "Stick with me. I'll get you in." WHOA! So we were waiting outside, and after a few minutes Ana decided she was going to go in and find out what was going on. So we went right behind her, but we didn't get very far, just inside the stage door, where it was cooler than being
Nobody was going to get past this one security guy, mainly because he was large enough that he completely blocked this narrow hallway you had to go through to get upstairs! On the other side of him was the dancer, and I heard him say to someone that his name was Peter, that he'd never done anything like this before, he was really excited, etc. Very American, BTW. Then the bass player, Gildas, was there, trying to get 2 of his friends upstairs. No way. He said to Mr. Bully, "But I'm the bass player" and Mr. B said, "I don't care who you are, nobody can go upstairs!" Somehow this was resolved after we were forced out. I don't believe that anyone who had a pass and was waiting by the stage door got to go upstairs. After about another 10 minutes, the band started coming out. We could see Tonino was waiting inside where we had been, so we just walked in to see him. He extended his hand as a look of recognition came over his face! I had him sign the shirt I'd gotten for Fernando, and then he had to go. We gave the from smaller tables. Ana went up and spoke with Nicolas, and eventually she and Sarah and I settled into a booth that was nearby. Pacheco was the closest to us, and he was using the table as his congas, playing along with the piped-in music, and others were tapping along on their water glasses with silverware. This stopped after a little while, and there wasn't any more playing and no singing during the rest of the night. I think everybody was pretty tired and just wanted to eat and go to bed.
Ana had made a present for Canut, and she asked me to go get him so she could give it to him. I said, "But he doesn't even know me!" and she explained that in their culture it would not be proper for a woman to walk up to a man to give him something. Oh. So I went up to the booth he was in (he was eating something that looked like an antipasto of pepperoni spread around on a large plate with some kind of vegetables), and asked him in Spanish, "Excuse me. Would you please come with me? There's a friend of yours that would like to give you a present." And he got up and came with me to the booth, and was pleasantly surprised to see Ana. He sat down across from her (next to me) and they chatted for a while. She gave him her present, which he appreciated. Sarah asked him what he was going to do with it, and he put on a little show of holding it to his heart, like he would treasure it for always. Then he took out a large pen, cleared the table in front of him, and started drawing a picture on the paper tablecover! Then David stood up on the table and said something in the same vein, so I guess Marcello was being praised for something! After that, things got really quiet, and it was late, maybe close to 1, and we needed to leave. But I decided I would go ask Pascal something. So I went up to him, told him I had met him last year in Raleigh, and then told him it had been 6 years or so since the band had played in England, and was there any possibility of them playing there soon? He said, "Not until next year. Maybe next year." Now maybe that's his stock answer to everything, but to all the Euro-listmembers, you need to take this with a grain of salt. He was definitely tired and may not remember what he said, but maybe I've planted some sort of seed. I tried, and was thinking of you guys.
So that was MY after-concert adventure, and I loved it. We only got a few pictures because the cameras didn't have much film left, but will post pictures when they're available. If I am lucky enough to get backstage passes next year, I know *not* to go to the stage door, but to get backstage through the theater. Besides, who cares about being in a packed room for half an hour when you can have dinner with the Gipsy Kings?
The bottom line: IT WAS JUST PLAIN FUN!!!!
OK, OK, all the other shows have been great, but when you're in the FRONT ROW and you get to interact with the band while they're performing, WHOA! (Tip for next year: I didn't get seats until after they'd been on sale for about 4 weeks. Decided to see what would happen if I requested 1 from TicketMaster instead of 2. Front row! On the aisle! In front of Canut and Patchai! Sarah preferred being a little further back but she was closer than the night before because we only needed another single seat. After I purchased them, I decided to see what would happen if I requested another single seat. Front row again, but on the other side in front of Paul! So if you don't have to be together, consider this option for next year!)
I was negligent about doing my lobby thing before the show and during intermission. I didn't think that anyone from the list was coming to the last show of the tour. I'd forgotten that Laura Haines had told me she would be there. Sorry, Laura, I screwed up. I suspect that there may have been other listmembers, but they chose not to post to the list. For example, I met Roger and his wife Diana during intermission, but only because they happened to have seats next to Sarah! PEOPLE!! Meeting other members at the concerts is part of the fun!
The marquis said this show was sold out. When I got to my seat, there was a security guy there - I guess to prevent people from climbing up on stage. He was there the entire night. He told me the seating capacity was 6000. Now I know there were empty seats, but maybe only a couple of hundred or so. After I was there a few minutes, a photographer with a press pass came into the pit. The security pit boss (SPB) came over and told him he could only stay for 2 songs. It turned out he was from the New York Post! So I proceeded to tell him a little bit about the band and its history. Don't know if that's what the review that Lauren got from her cousin was based on or even if he was the reporter, but hey, I can fantasize ;-) Eventually the SPB came over and said specifically to the people in the front row, "You can dance, but you need to consider that there are people behind you." Yeah, right. Well at least the lady behind me was willing to dance all night, too! The first security guy had also said he didn't care.
So eventually the concert started, about half an hour late. Pascal did his thing (the Giiiiiiiiipsy Kings!) and when the band came out, they were all in black shirts and black pants. Had never seen that before. Nicolas had a black and white kerchief tied around his neck, maybe to keep it warm. The big question was, what was his voice like? If it had been in bad shape the night before, it was toast now. They opened with Bem Bem Maria, which has more of a chorus when he could lay back, than La Dona, when he's on lead the entire time. The rest of the first set was the same as the night before: Llevame Compas, Galaxia, Djobi Djoba, Un Amor (same dancer as the night before. Danced right in front of me the whole time so I got some closeup pics. No, no, no, thweetie, I'm not that kind of guy!), Campana Suena, Majoui, new Tonino tune, and they finished the first set with the Tiki song instead of Baila Me.
Because of the exploits of the GKSM (MC) - ya know, I have no idea what that stands for? - and because I was in the first row on Paco's side, I had made a sign that said "DE LAS AMIGAS DE PACO". So after Djobi I held it up. Tonino, Paco, Patchai and Canut saw it and laughed, and I laughed back at Paco. More on the sign later.
I was up on my feet almost from the very beginning. Paul again took a rhythmic solo at the beginning of Galaxia, and Patchai did too. After he did I pointed at him and he smiled in acknowledgement. I think on Campana Suena Patchai motioned for people to get up. People here and there had been up before, but this was the OK for the whole place. So this lady sitting next to me was still sitting on her hands. Her friend was up, mind you, but not her. So I told her it was really OK, and she got up.
During the intermission I met listmembers Roger and his wife Diana. They were sitting next to Sarah. I didn't get out to the lobby bc I didn't think anybody else would be there. Sorry, again!
The second set had some minor differences from the night before. At the end of Fandango, when the rest of the band comes out, Nicolas and Paul came over to Patchai's and Canut's mikes, so the normal line was different. At the end of Montaña, Nicolas did not do the di, di, di's, so that was a little weird, to have Canut step away from the mike, the band is still playing the last 4 chords over and over, and then stop. Oh yeah. When Patchai and Canut sang their songs, they did so at Nicolas' mike. Come to think of it, they're the only ones who sang in the second set, except for Bamboleo. The encore was La Quiero, Canut singing.
The night before, Patchai had sung Todos Olé after Montaña, which was followed by Recuerdo Apasionado, then Poco a Poco. This night, Tonino did Recuerdo after Montaña, and that was followed by Todos Olé, then Poco a Poco! So Patchai did 2 songs in a row! Somewhere towards the end of the second set I turned around and David was in the pit, telling these 2 girls it was OK for them to get on stage to dance. One of them had on a black dress, and I think she danced onstage last year at Madison Square Garden. She wasn't bad, in more ways than one ;-) The other girl was a blonde who was reluctant to go. But when Patchai came over to give them a hand up, they both went. At the end of the song, Pascal was in the wings to get them off.
When they came out for the encore, Titi played guitar with them! Hey, this is the last night, why not? He was standing on Pacheco's platform with Georges. Tried to get a pic, but I doubt if it came out.
And the final thing: After Nicolas said Good night, and started walking offstage, he came back and apologized for how his voice sounded. It was more than just "I'm sorry about the way I sounded" but that was the gist of it. A really nice thing to do.
Leaving the theater, several people in the pit told me they enjoyed my enthusiasm. Heck, I was just having a good time! So after the show we went around to the stage door because I really wanted to get a picture of Paco holding the sign. We met Carlos, whom I met last year and had seen the year before. He was wearing a white hat with lots of silver in a pattern he had made, and said that Patchai had told him he wanted to buy it! We got a picture of him.
The security again was horrendous and wouldn't let anybody up. At one point, this group of gypsy women were trying to see Patchai and couldn't get in. They may have been some kind of relatives. So somebody, maybe Titi, threw down his all-area pass to them with Mr. Bully from the night before standing right there. Well, he just about blew a gasket and had to call someone on the walkie-talkie to find out what to do about this because his great "plan" to keep people out was not working out! At one point while we were waiting, Paco and maybe Paul stuck their heads out the window. I showed them the sign again and told Paco I wanted to get a photo of him with the sign! Well eventually the band started coming out. Tonino was one of the first. I went up to him and told him I wanted to get a picture of him holding the sign. He said, "But I'm not Paco!" Sheesh!! I was so fixated on getting a picture of Paco I didn't know what I was doing! (Duhhh. Dey'se all look da same ta me ;-)))))) Well, they are brothers, afterall.
Well, yes, I admit this review has been rambling, and you might even say disorganized, but that was kind of my impression of how the last night of the tour went. So now that I know how to get a front-row seat (or at least get into that section - there were only 4 rows), next year's mission is to figure out how to get one of those all-area passes (Hey, Pascal. I'm a friend of the band. Do ya think I could maybe have one of them-there passes?)