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Salsa, Merengue and Los Lobos…Oh My!
With all of the Tampa Bay Rays excitement during last night’s epic first match-up between the New York Yankees and the Rays, I was beginning to feel a bit drained of my usual high octane energy and my thought process was starting to bog down in meaningless trivia and dead ends. But thank goodness we had a up tempo musical interlude that instantly injected with a dose authentic Mexican boleros and nortenos music to jumpstart my enthusiasm juices.
Last night, during the Rays Latin Heritage Night in conjunction with the Rays Friday Fest celebration, the group Los Lobos (The Wolves) took the stage to supercharge the air in Tropicana Field. Some people remarked that the band had gotten older and had a bit more gray to them, but the music instantly showed that the band has not lost a beat over the years, and can still produce a great show for the fans who danced in place and also did a few impromptu Salsa moves on the Rays Field Turf during the performance.
Most people remember the band for their covers of the late Ritchie Valens hits during the production of the movie “La Bamba”, including the title song which became a number one hit for the band. The night was always kept at a high energy mode, and the dancing continued all the way up to the last song of the evening. The band has endured a long history within the music industry since their first release back in the late 1970′s. Their blend of Spanish and Mexican music was a great eye-opener to me since I am a bit naïve of this Latin music influence, but felt I got a great crash course last night during their performance.
The use of a few instruments like the Requinto jarocho, Jarana husteca, Bajo Sexto, and Guitarron intrigued me last night as it was the first time I had ever encountered these instruments during a concert. But that is also one of the things that got my blood going last night is hearing and seeing a new instrument used in a song or ballad and hearing its sweet sound magnified throughout Tropicana Field’s dome. But this is a band that fully uses the word “acoustic” and transports it to a whole different level.
Usually when you hear that word, the image instantly pops into your head of a few musicians up on bars stools in the small café with no amplified means of transporting their sound, but Los Lobos tome was more like your classic Mariachi band on steroids as they strummed and worked their way through their set. From the stage presence of David Hidalgo, to the dark shades of Cesar Rojas, their vocals were on point and seem to flow off out and into the crowd last night. The band definitely knew how to charm and engulf the crowd in front of them.
And we did hear their number one hit “La Bamba”, but also got a taste of a song I did not even realize the band produced for Disney for the Jungle Book movie, “I Wanna Be like You (The Monkey Song). They added a little extra to that song last night and fully had the crowd entranced both in the vocals and the acoustic instruments. But it was their rendition of “Saint Behind the Glass” that took me by surprise. I had also heard that song in the comedy flick “Nacho Libre” and now could picture the group that was strumming that song.
I do not know why, but the song I was truly waiting for that night was “Guantanamo (Guajira) in their set. Not sure why either. But it is a song I have always enjoyed and found soothing, and it just seemed to fit that night with the orange moon hovering in the Eastern Tampa Bay sky. The night was a huge success on so many levels with all of us Rays fans in attendance learning about another musical influence. As the concert came to an end, it almost seemed like the music should have kept flowing throughout the Trop as everyone exited the stadium.
Just seemed to be an anticlimactic end to a exciting and grand night as the Trop suddenly went silent. But in the remote recesses of the Trop., the serenade of music was still playing, and dancers were still doing Salsa and Merengue moves as the rest of us walked towards the exits. Perfect night with a win and some music to keep in our minds and hearts for the evening. Only thing missing now was a cool chilled tall Margarita to salute the night and the performance that Los Lobos gave us that evening.
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