With decades of robust music under their belts, the two iconic bands brought a dance party to the amphitheater on a blessedly perfect summer night. Review, photo gallery.
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It was a night of legends at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Thursday.
“Celebrating 30 years! Or is it 45?”
That’s how Los Lobos, the first long-lived band of the night, put it for an age-diverse audience that included some fans who certainly weren’t born when The Mavericks and Los Lobos released their first records as well as those who were there from the beginning.
Los Lobos had the crowd standing and singing along (Language barrier? What language barrier?), with loyal fans cheering the band’s return to Meijer Gardens, where it has regaled audiences several times over the years with its genre-hopping sound.
“We’re celebrating this tour with Mexican folk music,” said singer Cesar Rosas. “We’ll get to rocking in a little while.”
Los Lobos stayed true to its South L.A. roots, rolling out authentic Mexican instrumentation such as the guitarron, jarana huasteca and bajo sexto. It all inspired a throng of dancers that amassed at the front of the stage, with the show culminating in a performance of their biggest hit, the chart-topping cover of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.”
And that was just beginning of the musical double-header that took place on a blissfully, blessedly perfect night in the middle of another Michigan summer. The Mavericks made it all even more magical.
‘THEY MAKE YOU WANT TO MOVE’
“What a beautiful night,” remarked singer and guitarist Raul Malo, co-founder of the iconic rock, country and Tejano band that’s well-stocked for this tour, with bassist Robert Reynolds, drummer Paul Deakin, the delightfully colorful keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and the ripping guitar solo-shredding Eddie Perez. The Mavericks uncorked a wondrous hour-and-a-half set covering the gamut of the band’s 30-year career.
“They rock, what can you say,” said Grand Rapids fan Amy Zabel. “They make you want to move.”
And move they did: red-hot, horn-driven, Latin-fused dance numbers like “All Night Long” drew more people to their feet until the entire amphitheater was nothing but a sea of dancers. The song also featured a spectacular call-and-response solo from trumpeter Julio Diaz, whose horn section bolster The Mavericks’ full-bodied sound.
The Mavericks, as is befitting of a band of their stature, also know how to pace things and how to slow things down, doing so with — among other moments — a soulful cover of Rodgers & Hart’s “Blue Moon,” lit up in blue as the sun sank below the horizon. That stage lighting turned to fiery romantic red for “Every Little Thing About You.”
The Mavericks may have alluded to the difficulty in putting their music into words, but no words were necessary Thursday night — just a good beat and great tunes.
Read the Local Spins interview with The Mavericks: The Mavericks still clicking after 30 years of rock, country and Tejano thrills
PHOTO GALLERY: The Mavericks, Los Lobos at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Derek Ketchum