October 7, 2016
Billy Bob's Texas
Fort Worth, TX USA
Review by Angela Patterson
Photos by Angela Patterson
The Mavericks Thrill Fans All Night Long... Live In Cowtown
Oh What a Thrill indeed (that's also a song title). If you've never been to see The Mavericks live, then you've really missed out on an electric concert experience. Although the band is based out of Nashville, they do not fit in the magical music genre box. They infuse country with old-time rock, the blues, ska plus a heavy dose of Latin/Tex Mex. It's music that evokes feelings of joy and takes you to your happy place. It's music that soothes the soul, makes you dance (even if you don't) and feel like you're at a party with a thousand friends! The band performs original music plus they throw in a few classic tunes that everyone enjoys.
The people you meet at concerts are some of the most loyal fans I've ever met. Fans recognize each other at concerts, talk about past shows, share photos, become friends on social media and plan for when they will see each other next. These super fans met up at Billy Bob's Texas on October 7th for the last Texas show of the Mono Mundo Tour that began in 2015.
But the show at Billy Bob's was a little different from the typical Mavs show. There was no rushing the stage to dance in the moonlight in front of the band. As a matter of fact, most fans remained seated throughout the performance.
To me that was a little different. I've seen them perform in various venues and under some unique conditions. My first time to see the band was at JazzFest in New Orleans in May 2013. It had rained for a few days prior to the show and the grounds surrounding the Gentilly Stage were extremely muddy. But the band put on an energetic show despite the unseasonably cool/wet weather and people danced in that mud. In Dallas I saw The Mavericks perform at the Granada Theater, House of Blues, Fair Park, plus the Beacon Theatre in New York and Floore's Country Store in Helotes, TX (near San Antonio). Each venue provided a different set list and a very unique audience.
The Mavericks are Raul Malo with those rich, sexy, sultry vocals on guitars and percussion; Paul Deakin on drums/percussion, Eddie Perez on guitars; and DFW's own Jerry Dale McFadden on piano/keyboards. The touring/studio band includes Max Abrams on saxophone and percussion, Michael Guerra on accordion and percussion, plus Ed Friedland on upright bass and Matt Cappy on trumpet. It would be difficult to imagine The Mavericks without any of these incredible musicians because each add so much depth, talent and personality to the show.
The Mavericks kicked off the Cowtown show with "Back in Your Arms Again," a hit from 2013's "In Time" to the delight of the audience (although they were still sitting down). One of the greatest songs from their current CD Mono is "All Night Long," written by Malo. Perhaps the sexiest thing about this song, besides the bursts of trumpet, is the change in lyrics from English to Spanish. You don't have to bilingual to get what this song means; just think love and desire.
Tu nunca encontraras / Alguien que te quero mas
You will never find / someone who wants you more
The lyrics effortlessly roll off the tongue of Cuban-American Malo, melting the hearts of ladies in the audience and making men wonder how they can get that swagger. Always the showman with his stylish custom suit and hat, he again strikes at the heartstrings by singing "Volver, Volver," which is 100% in Spanish - and everyone that can sings at least the chorus along with Raul.
Malo loves to sing about love and heartbreak and Guerra's accordion helps set the lovesick tone. In Neil Young's "Harvest Moon," he sings:
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.
Guitarist Eddie Perez is also quite a showman -- adding flair to every song -- but probably none as much as "Come Unto Me." The intro can't be described without using the words sultry, sexy or captivating. In every concert he strikes a rock star pose and crushes the chords with passion and intensity - turning every fan into paparazzi. He tosses his long, black hair from side to side as he plays with fervor. He engages the audiences, smiles at them, and often places a guitar pick a lucky fan's hand as if to say "this is just for you."
Jerry Dale McFadden is featured on a fast-tempo piano introduction for the song "As Long as There's Lovin' Tonight." That's another fun-loving song with heavy horn solos. Drummer Paul Deakin seems to effortlessly keep everyone together.
Max Abrams plays incredible sax solos in so many songs -- but the first time I heard "Us and Them" at the Beacon Theatre in New York totally blew me away. It gave me chills. It was mesmerizing. I didn't think a Pink Floyd song could have so much depth and beauty until I heard the Mavericks perform it. Perhaps Malo's voice brings a special degree of passion to the song and takes it to a new level. The audience at Billy Bob's was obviously pleased. Several rounds of tequila shots lined up the stage.
Fans never know what the set list will be for sure. In Helotes the band played "Brown Sugar" made famous by the Rolling Stones and everyone danced. That song wasn't played at Billy Bob's but the set list included 23 songs guaranteed to please.
I've never seen a show that didn't end with what has to be a band favorite "All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down." Basically everyone in the group gets a solo and it's obvious that everyone is having a great time performing this fan favorite. True fans shout "two, three, four" at the appropriate time along with Malo. This song is usually when McFadden leaves his piano in search of the megaphone and energetically twists and dances a routine for the audience. Then the sad moment in the song occurs when leader turns to the band and gives the "let's wrap it up" gesture with his finger before playing guitar to the end of the song. The band, like a family, takes a bow together to bid the audience farewell. But with Mavs fans, it's never goodbye, it's just adios until they come back to town again.
CD Review All Night Live, Volume 1
Some bands put out amazing CDs but the live performance isn't worth the cost of a concert ticket. Not true with The Mavericks. They are known for being one of the best live performance bands today. Each musician has a special moment to showcase his talent during concert performances - and it's obvious that the band feeds of the energy from the crowd. All Night Live, Volume 1 will be the band's first-ever live CD.
"In our live show, the moment the audience shares with the band makes the music so much larger, greater than either could summon alone," said Abrams. "The live record caught those moments we live for in the music, and saved them for another day. I think the joy we all share comes through in the music, loud and clear."
The Mavericks' music will certainly take you away and make you forget it's an election year.
All Night Live Volume 1 will be released on October 18, 2016.
Tracks on All Night Live Volume 1 include:
All Night Long
All Over Again
Stories We Could Tell
What You Do to Me
Do You Want Me To
Back in Your Arms Again
As Long as There's Lovin' Tonight
Every Little Thing About You
I Said I Love You
Dance in the Moonlight
Come Unto Me
Waiting for the World to End