Archive for Music

Fiel a la Vega

Por fin! At long last I got to see Fiel a la Vega live. I’d been wanting to see them since before they made it big, but something always came up. Finally last night I made it to 5 dias con nuestra tierra and saw them.

The band before them was Gombajabari, which I was introduced to by M. who raved about them and gave me a cd to listen to. They are a reggae roots band. It’s interesting that the drummer is the singer. They were great! I don’t know very much about roots but fortunately I have M and one of my students who are educating me. The horns were awesome with some righteous saxophone action (I wish I still played!) and some surprisingly jazzy riffs. I’m glad I got to hear them.

I also got to watch the bouncy dancers which I’ve never quite understood. Roots sounds pelvic to me, not bouncy. It always amuses me to watch young men bouncing around in a trance. Very fun. Very friendly vibe and very good music.

Then, Fiel a la Vega! Yay! I made my way to the very front of the stage. I always enjoy watching shows set up for some reason. Maybe it’s my years in theatre and running crew for various shows. It was interesting to look around and see how young everybody seemed to be. It really took me back to my years as an undergrad here, and even then I was older than my colleagues having transfered in and taken time off to save the world and be an organizer. 😛

Their performance was great. The crowd sang along to every single song. I love Tito’s voice and I just love their lyrics. It was great to watch the chemistry of the band. It was great watching their response to the crowd as everyone sang along. That has got to be an awesome experience, to hear a crowd singing your song back to you… I know it’s awesome to be in a crowd when everyone is so intune to the music. It’s great to see local bands making it without watering down their message of social criticism. It was everything I expected, until my feet got tired from the hours of standing (in mud).


It’s only Rock and Roll

After years of hearing N’s Stones stories, letter writing campaigns, and fabulous Keithmases, I actually saw the stones this Saturday. A group of us went on a van and hit a pre-party at El Meson de la Roosevelt. It never ceases to amaze me how expensive it is to drink in San Juan! One beer $3.25! I can get beer for 50 cents in Mayagüez. Not to mention a water bottle for $2.75.

So, anyway, we took the train in to the concert and waited in line to get in. I was interviewed by god knows whom for god knows what show and was asked if there was a reason for my outfit. I was wearing jeans, a black shirt, a long tiger striped tunic and a kangol hat. I didn’t think my outfit was that noteworthy but apparently it was. So, I said the reason was Rock and Roll baybeee! LOL and that I was paying homage to Keith Richards. Then some beer bellied dude (seriously beer bellied) got pulled out of the crowd and gave a drunken interview, at which point we ducked away to get back into the line to go into the Choliseo. [[[update: I was told by my students that I was on Anda P’al Cará! Autographs will be available for a modest fee.]]]

My purse got poked by a stick by security (to make sure I wasn’t smuggling in a… poisonous snake maybe???) I could have carried a whole soundboard in and they wouldn’t have noticed or said boo. Mag presented a challenge: a woman, with no purse, a male security guard who won’t frisk her… hmmmmm… she could have had the videocamera. Well shit!

We made it in, got our belaying ropes together and climbed to the top of the Choliseo. Holy shit we were high. After sufficient deep breaths to keep my vertigo at bay we settled in to wait and chatted with our neighbors. They were on their cell phones trying to see if their friend could spot them. We were on Ronnie’s side of the stage and really (I mean REALLY) fucking high.

Juan Luis Guerra y 440 rocked. I didn’t expect his performance to be much of anything but, aside from needing sheet music (sheet music to play 5 songs! seriously!) they were great. I’m not a huge fan but it was really good, including a more rock and roll type song he played on an electric guitar in addition to standards: “ojala que llueva café,” “la bilirrubina” the new Christian song I don’t know the title to and something else :P. The sound system sucked and something was wrong with the lighting and the screens. But, the crowd was pretty pumped. Then they took way too long to do way too little before the Stones played. Some ambitious souls started the wave and that was amusing for two minutes but then it was all waiting. We could see back stage because we were right on the side. It looked like the lighting issues were part of the hold up but then it was all a matter of waiting.

Then FINALLY a cool video on the screens and the Stones came out while the stadium ROARED.

Now, I’m not much of a big concert person, in fact I can’t remember the last big concert I went to. I love music but I like small venues and I can’t usually afford to go to big shows (shit I couldn’t afford to go to this show, who am I kidding!?). Oooh yeah, the last big concert I went to was some country music dude whose name I had to keep asking cause I’d never heard of him and lo and behold, I still don’t remember the pendejo’s name. I went with a group of mentally retarded and developmentally disabled adults for work so I didn’t pay for the tickets nor did I have to pay attention to the music.

Anyway, it was really trippy seeing the stones come out. They’re real! Woooooah! I’m told I laughed outloud. It’s a different dynamic watching a show with that big of a budget and that many people in the crowd. We had this groupthink going on and it was just BIG.

It was really trippy watching Mick dance and move. I kept feeling like I’d been sucked into a vortex and was somehow transported to Rock n Roll Circus days. He moves the same, same gestures, same energy. Amazing!

Which leads me to one of my gripes. I’m not a stones Fan. I like them but I would never claim the status of Fan. Nonetheless, I sure am fed up with all the coverage on them focusing on the fact that they are “old.” We wouldn’t be so fucking excited over the 63 year old guy were playing the violins in the NY Philharmonic orchestra. I think they have merits other than the fact that they are all over 50, which these days isn’t that old anyway. They haven’t even hit retirement age!

And the irony of ironies: Medicare y Mucho Mas (Health Insurance) has an ad showing Mick and Keith laughing with the caption “Para sentirse así de bien, hay que cuidarse bien.” If I get a hold of a scanner I will post the image as well. Well, if cuidarse bien, means cigarettes and heroin and booze, then no problem. Medical whiskey is the new trend.

The show seemed slow to warm up, the transitions seemed choppy and it seemed to take a few songs for them to get their groove on. I didn’t know Lisa was with them and was extremely puzzled when I heard female back up vocals on “It’s only rock and roll” but there was no female in sight: I had the binoculars I looked! But, then I saw her on the next song and all was well.

People in my section of the crowd were yelling out request for satisfaction.

They played my favorite “Sympathy for the Devil” which was also just weird. Watching them live after seeing so many taped performances was extremely disconcerting. I spent the whole show in a state of pleasant dejá vu.

The B stage was less impressive from where we were sitting. I’m sure it was exciting if they were slowly being rolled towards ME but from where we were at it wasn’t that great. I think the view of the ropes and cables and the guys heaving to move the stage also may have ruined the effect. But, whatever.

I got to see Mick’s butt cleavage: during one of his outfit changes he whipped his shirt off backstage and my side of the stadium got the view. Yeah baby! Take that you people in the front rows. I saw Mick’s butt! I gotta say, the man still got it going on! There’s just something sexy about him, his body language, his voice, his je ne sais quoi. And the butt cleavage! LOL

We actually left sacrilegiously early before the end of the encore because, as I mentioned vertigo is an issue and we were so high that I wanted to get out before the crowd left.

The show was good and I was surprised at how many people around me knew the words to songs other than Satisfaction, and I was in a Puerto Ricans only section (ie the cheaper ones). I was terrified for the young guys slam dancing against the railing who were apparently wanting to FLY down to the stage. We saw our friend on the floor dancing and waving her tongue around which was cool too, kind of a metaconcert experience.

Unfortunately, the entire group but for one or two pooped out after the show. I wasn’t the one or two. I was seriously exhausted and slept pretty much the whole way back to Mayagüez, except for when I was on DJ duty.

And I’ve been hearing the stones in my sleep since!