A night in Old Havana.. sort of!
Hollywood Travel Blog› entry 16 of 22 › view all entries
August 16th, 2008 – by: jenn79
But I was soooo excited to go to Hollywood Bowl tonight! They advertised the performance as "Mambo: A Night in Old Havana". It was a beautiful, warm night and the moon was full. You could see some very bright stars from the unlit canyon of the ampitheatre.
But the truth, my dear Travbuddies, is that our concept and knowledge of Havana, Cuba is probably faaarrr greater than your average person's.
I was kind of surprised when the night started out with one of those large symphony orchestras. A very charismatic but lame conductor doubled as M.C. After the first song I realized... OH MY GOD. This isn't going to be mambo music - this is freaking GERSHWIN'S INTERPRETATION OF LATIN MUSIC. I almost died. I almost walked out. But Tracy was happy and I had a long 9 page email that I could read via my phone so I sat down and waited for Paco to save me. LORD if I hear one more version of ARABIAN NIGHTS I think I'm going to HURL.
It's funny how that can happen. How the same instruments in different hands can turn a sweaty, rhythmic, intimate type of music into a precise, frigid, blaring performance. I just wanted to bang my head against the wall I was SO UPSET.
But then intermission came! And Tracy offered me cheesecake to console me.
What a trip. Paquito D'Rivera is one of the funniest, raunchiest and most talented performers I've ever seen. He also noticed the uptight audience and encouraged everyone to "throw their tables into the air, or take off their clothes - it's such a beautiful night!" He was precisely what this awful audience needed. Some flavor and culture and humor. I was so grateful as I would have walked out if he hadn't come on stage right when he did.
A couple of songs in, and the dancers came out! Handsome Latin men with their shirts unbuttoned to their navels. Beautiful, slim women with bright costumes setting off their wonderfully dark complexions. And each song Paco led in spirit and with a different instrument between his hands. It was, ultimately, a lovely night =)
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