Maná engages, electrifies sell-out crowd in Houston
Maná's seemingly timeless appeal has always stemmed from its ability
to give a pop shimmer to its urgent rock framework. The group has been
crafting hits — and hitting new highs — since its inception more than
two decades ago in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Saturday night at Toyota Center, Maná effortlessly proved why its
slick sound still resonates with young and old fans alike. It was a
dazzling display of rock, romance and revolucion that had most of the
sold-out crowd on its feet throughout the show. (If you missed it, fear
not. The group announced a return engagement Sept. 1 at the same venue. Tickets go on sale March 2.)
Maná draws inspiration from the arena-rock vibes of English-language
bands from U2 to Journey, and it has sometimes diluted the recorded
work. But onstage, Maná's groove is edgy and earthy.
The group's appearance was preceded by an obvious nod to the endless immigration debate. A booming recording of Bob Marley's Get Up, Stand Up
set the tone, and much of the fidgety crowd sang along with the chorus.
It was followed by a video of shadowy figures scaling a brick wall as a
helicopter loomed overhead.
Dejame Entrar, a huge mid-'90s hit, kicked off the
quartet's two-hour set amid a flood of spotlights. Lead singer Fher
Olvera commanded the red and black stage with a mere wave of his hand.
His rich voice easily switched between tender emotion and rock punch.
Several early selections (Manda una Señal, Labios Compartidos, Combatiente) came from the group's 2006 disc, Amar Es Combatir. Wise move. It's one of Maná's best efforts to date and has recently earned a Grammy and Premio Lo Nuestro awards.
Lilting tunes Bendita la Luz and Vivir Sin Aire set a lovely tone. But the mood grew darker during Donde Jugaran los Niños? (Where Will the Children Play?) a call for environmental awareness. All four members covered their faces with skull masks.
Drummer Alex Gonzalez indulged in an extended, searing drum solo
that amplified the already ear-piercing screams. He expertly hit his
the platform he sat on rotated and elevated.
Olvera, guitarist Sergio Vallin and bassist Juan Diego Calleros also
took a few minutes to lead the audience in birthday wishes for Gonzalez.
The torchy, bittersweet Mariposa Traizionera was
deceptively romantic. But things got genuinely sweet when Olvera
invited a female fan to join him onstage. He served her a drink and
serenaded her with a trip of tunes that included Eres Mi Religion (You Are My Religion).
The sweltering tropical vibe of Perdido en un Barco gave way to the Mexican standard El Rey, which the group refashioned as a guitar-fueled rocker. A video image of the Mexican flag filled the onstage video screens.
Simulated rain fell onstage during the appropriately titled Sigue Lloviendo el Corazón (The Heart Keeps Raining), a dramatic power ballad that engaged the crowd in one of many sing-alongs.
The pulsing strains of Clavado en un Bar still incite rapture at local clubs. Live, it was an electric anthem of hurt and heartbreak. The evening ended with Rayando el Sol, which riffs on the Police's Every Breath You Take. Olvera started the tune but stood back and let the crowd take over. The mesmerized masses were only too happy to oblige.
Posted by Joey Guerra at February 24, 2007 11:26 PM
Mana was spectular this evening. The mood and the guys were at their
best. Each time they are in Houston the show gets better and better.
The music, the crowd and the message are a perfect match for a exciting
evening! Viva Mana y Viva Mexico!
Posted by: Isabel at February 25, 2007 01:45 AM
It was the best concert ever! can't wait to see them in December again in HOuston.
Posted by: sindy at February 26, 2007 02:07 AM
Mana put on a really great show. The crowd was as energized as the
band. The draw back was that the concension booths for the lower
section were down most of the night and the employees made little
effort to get them up. Toyota Center really dropped the ball at this
sold out show.
Posted by: Esteban Martinez at February 26, 2007 09:34 AM
I was the lucky fan who was put on stage at the Mana
concert this Saturday at the Toyota Center. I can't tell you how happy I
am, I woke up Sunday morning asking my sister if in reality they did put
me on stage I thought I was just dreaming! You know what the funny thing
is? I kept having dreams that at the Mana concert I was pulled onto the
stage, everybody thought I was crazy, and even the day of the concert my
family and I met up at my sister's house and I was telling them that I
have a feeling they were going to put me on stage. I guess dreams do
Posted by: Nelly C. at February 26, 2007 12:36 PM
Mana put on a show we will never forget. My novia and I can't wait to see them again September 1st. They are awesome!