Spanish rock band Maná made waves when they released their single "Lluvia al Corazón" from the recent Drama y Luz album, particularly because it'd been a few years since their last album was released (Amar es Combatir in 2006). I was fortunate to catch them in concert for their last tour and last night I saw them take the stage again for Drama y Luz.
Pretty much everything they played was a hit that everyone could sing along to. Most of the tracks have graced the air waves enough times that even folks who don't buy the albums would be able to keep up throughout the show. Combine that with excellent visuals and a Latino crowd, and you basically had an almost three-hour dance party.
The show opened with Beethoven's 5th Symphony which led into the first song on their set list, "Oye Mi Amor," and flowed through to a few high-energy tunes until they settled right into "Lluvia al Corazón," at which point the veil over the stage had images of rain, a butterfly and a heart projected onto it. The stage itself was set with a few panels in the back and that veil coming up and down as needed. It was simple, but pretty much perfect since Maná doesn't really need a lot of extra trimmings to keep the crowd entertained.
Some of the highlights for me included Alex González's 10-minute drum solo, which is a sight to behold and needs to be experienced. I go to a lot of shows, and I've had people ask me about impressive drummers. Alex has been at the top of my list ever since I saw him the first time. He basically plays on a platform that can move about a little, be raised high over the stage and spin. When he isn't doing his drum solo, he's dancing with his drum kit and doing everything he can to catch your attention while laying on some serious beats. He also chugged about half a bottle of beer halfway through his spotlight.
Everyone else, of course, is a great performer in their own right. Guitarist Sergio Vallín had some delightful solos which were all inspired by classical music. It reminded me of the kind of stuff we hear by Malmsteen or The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He also played beautifully when, after kicking some butt on stage and hearing Alex's drum solo, he and Fher (the frontman) switched over to a platform at the back of the stadium floor to play an intimate acoustic set.
At some point during the first part of the show, Alex introduced someone who is from Miami and won a contest to play live with Maná. He looked very nervous as he joined the stage with his guitar and some of the coolest rock stars I know, but they played a nice, long number to showcase him and make it fun for everyone watching, too. Unfortunately, I didn't catch his name, but it's great to see folks get spotlit like that. He even had a face-off with Sergio. Live. On Stage. How cool is that?
After the acoustic set, they went back to the stage for yet another segment and then, finally, the encore. There were very few points during the entire performance that people had a break to sit down and enjoy a ballad since Maná kept the energy high throughout. It was sad to see them stop, but before we knew it, almost three hours had passed and they'd been playing non-stop. The only break the band got was Alex's solo, and even after that, Alex joined in to the acoustic set a couple of songs in.
Would I see them a third time? You bet. Should you see them live? Absolutely. Even if you aren't too familiar with their music, if you're a rock enthusiast and you enjoy hearing great arrangements and seeing good performers at work, this might be the show for you to get into something new. Seeing them live is not what you'd expect by just hearing their songs on the radio, after all.
Besides, their shows usually have a good message. They're all about equal rights for all, knowing where you come from and conservation in general. I am always happy to support artists that use their influence to spread the word around in a positive way.
[images taken with my handy-dandy iPhone 4S]