Monday, March 25, 2013

The Mavericks deliver an epic concert in San Juan Capistrano

My review was originally published on The Orange County Register site on Sunday, March 24, 2013. A special "thank you" to Kelly A. Swift for the use of her photos.

The Mavericks in action at The Coach House on March 23, 2013.
The Mavericks' highly-anticipated return to performing at last year's Stagecoach Festival in Indio after close to a decade away has turned into a dream come true for fans of the Grammy-winning Americana troupe.
Not only has the group released one of the first great albums of 2013 (In Time) but a rousing 130-minute set at the Coach House Saturday night (March 23, 2013), before a crowd that filled every corner of the venue, further confirmed the continuing excitement of the Mavericks' spirited comeback.
The 25-song set was flawless, with Mavericks lead singer Raul Malo leading the quintet (supported by an additional four "new Mavericks" on this tour) in a balance of sterling arrangements and exuberant music-making for fans who cheered, sang, clapped, danced and generally seemed to have the night of their lives.
Raul Malo at The Coach House.
From the kickoff selection, "Back in Your Arms Again," it was clear this nine-man ensemble would lock into a relentless groove and unleash the Mavericks' genre-busting blend of country, Tejano, rock, Latin soul and jazz. With a set pulled equally from In Time and their early successes (notably material from 1994's What a Crying Shame), Malo's emotive Roy Orbison-like tenor, glorious harmonies from about half the other players plus virtuoso solos helped move the set at a brisk pace all night.
During "Born to Be Blue," Malo's distinctive pipes soared while Michael Guerra added lush work on accordion. Whether the material turned toward tender ballads or up-tempo roots-rockers, the audience was fully tuned in, and much of the band smiled while trading solos and playfully exchanged looks with the crowd.
"We love this place. We love you guys," Malo said after a killer take on the band's '90s hit "What a Crying Shame" early in the set.

Yet even on less familiar stuff, notably "I've Got This Feeling," it was the Mavericks' wide-ranging arsenal that kept the momentum rolling. Such songs' haunting verses were sparse, with Malo's vocals moving masterfully into robust choruses, the band's dynamic in perfect sync.

Guitarist Eddie Perez at The Coach House.
All night Malo and fellow guitarist Eddie Perez lent extra texture to highlights: "As Long as There's Loving Tonight," for instance, featured Perez on the first solo, with Malo showing off equally impressive fretwork on the next.
The long encore began with a solo turn from Malo, bolstered by his take on the 1995 single "Here Comes the Rain" and a magnificent version of the Spanish-language standard "Besame Mucho." The band rejoined him for a number of memorable tunes, including the sublime "Amsterdam Moon" and the rocking "Come Unto Me."
Things didn't wind down until nearly midnight, a ferocious performance of "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" leaving much of the audience dancing away in hopes that the night might never end. Let's hope this latest Mavericks resurgence is just getting started.
The Mavericks play again March 25 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach (143 S. Cedros Ave.), March 26 at L.A.'s El Rey Theatre (5515 Wilshire Blvd.) and March 27 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert (73000 Fred Waring Drive). The first is sold out. Tickets for L.A. are $30, for Palm Desert, $25-$35. Seth Walker opens all dates.

The Mavericks set list at the Coach House on Saturday, March 23, 2013
Main set: Back In Your Arms Again / Lies / Born To Be Blue / All Over Again / Pretend / There Goes My Heart / What A Crying Shame / (a bit of Seth Walker's "Days Like This") / I've Got This Feeling / O What A Thrill / Every Little Thing About You / Fall Apart / Dance In The Moonlight / As Long As There's Loving Tonight / Dance the Night Away 
Encore: Here Comes The Rain (Malo solo acoustic) / Welcome To My World (Malo solo acoustic) / Besame Mucho (Malo with accordion player Michael Guerra) / Amsterdam Moon / Something Stupid / Sway / I Said I love You / Guantanamera and Twist & Shout / Come Unto Me / All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down

No comments: