Upon entering the Coach House last night, the first thing I noticed was that there were no drums on the stage. This made me a bit nervous. When Raul focuses on ballads it can sometimes get a little less interesting. I love his high energy songs. What were we in for tonight? After the opening act left the stage, they took away everything and I realized we were getting a true solo show. No band, just Raul Malo on guitar and, of course, vocals. Would Raul be able to engage the audience? Would he be able to bring the energy? The answers to these questions is an emphatic yes!
Raul has a wonderful and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor. He made no bones about the fact that he didn't really care what we wanted because he was going to deliver us a show that we would love. When he stated that a song was an old Maverick number, he got cheers and replied, "Thanks. That's better than: When are you getting back together". Later he made joking references about not really playing requests. After singing a song with some Spanish lyrics in the middle, he got some yelling in Spanish from the crowd and responded with, "Cubans are in the house tonight", but in a here they are AGAIN manner. Still, it was all in good fun and he had us laughing throughout the night. When he said he wrote a song for the Mills Brothers he followed with, "They're all dead though... So I recorded it".
But, it is all about the music with Raul, isn't it. And he delivered. With his Elvis meets Roy Orbison voice, it is hard to miss. Some of the faster songs were slowed down as he played with tempos to fit his set. He had the women swooning when he covered Mexican standards like Volver and sent shivers at the end when he sang the Roy Orbison song, "Crying". Near the end of the set he really picked up the pace with some Mavericks classics and had us all singing along. If there is anyone who can bridge the gap between the gringo and Latino music worlds, it is Raul Malo. He has been doing it for years and the best part is, he does both sides so well. He has a CD of new music coming out in August and is also working on a Spanish language CD. Hopefully he will be back this way in the Fall. Can't wait!