There is little in the world more intense for a music fanatic than making one-on-one connections with the musicians one admires. Usually, it proves more than difficult, because by the time one gets into a group's or individual's music, fame has put up a wall between fan and artist.
Most of us understand that barrier is for the protection of the artist. We lost John Lennon because of a lapse in that protection, a momentary belief that all was right in the world, and, well, morbidities aside, the Beatles reunion long dreamed of came to a screaming halt.
I have lucked out, as have some other fans around me, and met Del Castillo while things are still easy. The guys come out and do a "meet and greet" after nearly every gig, something which allows them to further touch the lives of newbies. Thankfully, they don't seem to mind being pestered by the "oldies" like me either. Trust is sometimes hard earned when one sees people from a band only at gigs, but that particular barrier seems to be thinning out for me. The talk now is not always about the gig that night, but other things in our lives that have similarity too. That is comforting to me somehow. It makes the guys a bit more real to me, and I hope, makes me a little more accessible to them. I love being able to call my favourite musicians friends. And though the eventual fame I expect to see them climb to may separate us for long periods, I am hopeful that they will remember that my hand is there when they need me.
Mushy stuff aside now, I had a pretty interesting weekend in Houston. The show was one of the most vivid, on-fire performances I have yet to witness. The guys, especially Mike, were just lit up from inside. Anyone who walked out of that gig untouched had to be deaf, or really really drunk. For the second time in as many gigs, the roar that came up from the audience at the end was astounding. I was encouraged by a crew member to help rev up the crowd, but I can tell you flatly, anything I did was probably unheard, save by those closest to me. I do apologize to those individuals (you know who you are, by the ringing in your ears!;); I have got a pretty good set of lungs and sometimes forget the volume I can reach. Comes from years of yelling over bands I worked with.
It was good to see Lobo playing guitar again. It had been awhile. There were also a couple of new tunes in the show, stuff that is not yet on any cd anywhere (ha! now there's incentive to get out and see these boys!) and a couple of older tunes I haven't heard since last year sometime. Though the crowd was, in my opinion, a touch disrespectful during it, I was very moved to hear " Suenos De Ti" in concert for the first time in a long, long time. A short, beautiful tune, I am afraid the subtleties may have been lost to a lot of folks. Don't stop playing though, guys. It is such a moving piece. I am rarely untouched by it, even on the CD.
I tell you what, I may have thought of drummers as insane (or at least nuts) before, but Mikie (Ze-o-li! Ze-o-li!) proved it to the whole crowd the other night! His playing was absolutely manic, and yet he had his usual edge of subtlety too. The hair-raising yell that came out of him during the usually fairly level "Spanish Castle" took me by surprise! And the cool part was that it charged up the others, which raised the level of the tune. It was funny watching all the guys turning to look at one another when the intensity would set one or the other off on a tangent. There was just such fire in the air, and later they all confessed they weren't sure where it came from either.