Saturday Night: Maná At Toyota Center
It takes a special combination of hype and talent to sell out a concert, let alone two in a row. In recent memory, only two other artists have been booked to perform on consecutive nights at Toyota Center: Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.
Mexican Rock en Español band Maná accomplished the same achievement on Saturday night as they rocked, rolled, and serenaded the first of two capacity weekend crowds at the downtown arena.
Released earlier this year, Drama y Luz is the band's eighth studio album. The title translates into "Drama and light," a nearly perfect description of Maná's catalog, which is filled with equal parts guitar-fueled anthems and heart-melting love songs.
The band paid homage to The Beatles by playing "Revolution" through the loud speakers minutes before taking the stage and opening with "Lluvia al Corazón." Singing behind a translucent white curtain, lead singer Fher Olvera treated the crowd to his unique raspy yet smooth vocals, while drummer Alex "Animal" González kept the tempo. The classic hit "Oye Mi Amor" was presented soon afterwards, prompting the crowd to sing and dance along to the reggae-rock beat.
The mood slowed down as the lights were lowered and a large group of violins, violas, and cellos joined the band to perform "El Espejo" and "Sor Maria," both from the new album. Actors dressed as Franciscan monks snaked their way through the crowd and onto the stage, burning incense and chanting along the way.
A clearly emotional Fher then dedicated the song "Vuela Libre Paloma" to his mother, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer. "Paloma" means "dove" in Spanish, and the stage was flanked with two large wings.
The drum set was then moved to the middle of the stage with the help of a hydraulic lift. González proceeded to produce the mother of all drum solos, and the faster he drummed, the higher and faster the platform moved. Then, like a true rock star, he reached into one of his snare drums, pulled out a cold beer, and chugged it. Salud, Alex!