Addictive Maná Thrills Arena Full of Trump Haters at Toyota Center

(L-R) Fher Olvera and Sergio Vallín bring Mexican Rock en Español to Houston.
(L-R) Fher Olvera and Sergio Vallín bring Mexican Rock en Español to Houston.
photos by Marco Torres

"Cama Incendiada" Tour
Toyota Center
July 7, 2015

Maná is one of those bands that is undeniably addicting. They lure you in with driven, fast-paced Rock En Español, soothe you with ballads of love and lust, and inspire you with socially conscious anthems of struggle and triumph. The title track of their new album Cama Incendiada (The Burning Bed) is a passionate, semi-bilingual ode to a spicy-hot love affair. We've all been there, right? Entranced by the heat of a lover who is ultimately detrimental to your well-being, but your heart (as well as other parts of your body) just can't say no. No other band has the ability to express that feeling better than Maná.

Just before the group took the stage Tuesday night, the house sound played Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a tribute to lead singer Fher Olvera's favorite band. And when the curtain finally fell, the energy of the room skyrocketed. You could definitely see the band's age; these aren't the same limber rockers who have been entertaining us for almost thirty years. Fher himself is 55 years old; the rest of the crew is also in their late forties and early fifties. But boy did they ever try their hardest, just like they always have.

Guitarist Sergio Vallín
Guitarist Sergio Vallín

The set began with two tracks from the new album, "La Prisíon" and "Cama Incendiada," which sandwiched the fan favorite "Corazon Espinado." The stage was flanked by several pyrotechnic devices that flashed flames at an impressive height and rate. Two giant "Dia De Los Muertos" balloons also made an appearance during the song "Me Vale". The band has certainly perfected the art of "the show", providing an excellent flow and balance to their stage presence.

Halfway through the night, the image of Colombian songstress Shakira was illuminated on the video board, setting the scene for the single "Mi Verdad." This love song is an early frontrunner for Latin Song of The Year. The track recalls Shakira's early work, before her pop anthems with Rhianna and Beyonce, when her sensual voice perfectly melted into your eardrums on it's way to the heart. This is definitely one of my new favorite Maná songs.

Drummer Alex "El Animal" González
Drummer Alex "El Animal" González

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The show then took a political turn. "We are wholly against ignorance, hate, and racism," declared Olvera. "This guy, Donald Trump, has acted very badly against us, the hardworking Mexicans and other Latinos in this country. Just remember that there are 50 million of us, and your vote counts!"

What followed was the first goosebump-inducing moment I've felt at a concert in a very long time. The band covered "Somos Mas Americanos" by Los Tigres del Norte, which includes the following lyrics:

Quiero recordarle al gringo: Yo no cruce la frontera, la frontera me cruzo.
America nacio libre, el hombre la dividio.

(I'd like to remind the gringo: I didn't cross the border, the border crossed me.
America was born free, mankind divided it.)

Addictive Maná Thrills Arena Full of Trump Haters at Toyota Center (8)

And the hits kept coming. The band then moved to the B-Stage near the back of the arena where they provided an acoustic set that included the hits "Mariposa Traicionera", "Bendita Tu Luz", and the Marco Antonio Solis cover "Si No Te Hubieras Ido." Back on the main stage, the group ended with "Oye Mi Amor," "Labios Compartidos" and "Rayando El Sol." With plenty of heart and vast amounts of talent, Maná continues to be one of the best live acts that Latin America has ever provided.

"Gracias a todos!" shouted Olvera as the show came to a finale. "Y que chiga su madre Donald Trump!"

Vocalist Fher Olvera
Vocalist Fher Olvera

Personal Bias: Como Mexico y Maná, no hay dos!

The Crowd: Donald Trump haters.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Maná Es Mi Verdad!" — written on the poster of a young lady seated behind my section

Random Notebook Dump: A big shout out to local guitarist Marco Antonio Tax, who once again was asked by the band to make an appearance onstage at this show. Keep up the excellent work, amigo! Playing onstage with your favorite band is quite an accomplishment.

When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston Music scene and beyond. You can follow his adventures on Instagram: @MarcoFromHouston.

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