Smart Financial Centre
May 4, 2017
Long before he met and married his Colombian wife, Raul was browsing CDs at his local music shop when he saw a video of Carlos Vives on the store's TV screens. He was instantly hooked by the jovial movements and energetic sounds performed by the curly-haired Colombian artist. Although the vallenato style was vastly different from the Tejano music this San Antonio native was accustomed to, he found it culturally interesting and absolutely fun. He purchased the CD and has been a fan ever since.
It was that same energy and love that brought Raul and about 5,000 more Carlos Vives fans to Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land on Thursday night. The beautiful crowd, many dressed in Colombian fútbol jerseys, guayaberas and traditional Colombian sombreros vueltiaos, arrived ready to dance and party.
"My English is not very good-looking!" joked Carlos as he took the stage, mimicking something the late Celia Cruz was known to say at her shows. "Are you ready to dance with me tonight?!" The crowd roared a fervent "Si" in response.
Of course Vives began and later ended the night with his smash hit "La Bicicleta," a duet he recorded with fellow Colombian songstress Shakira. He even had an actual bike on standby next to the drum set that he would ride across the stage later in the show. You see, a Carlos Vives concert is much more than just music. It really feels more like a patriotic workout full of aerobic dancing, jumping and arm waving. The crowd was definitely on their feet most of the night.
"We are all a mix of Spanish, Indian, African..." proclaimed Vives in Spanish as he continued with his set list. "Don't be ashamed of who you are, be proud! You are beautiful!" We can add motivational speaker to the list of his accomplishments.
The music of Carlos Vives could certainly not be contained or constrained by the comfortable seats of the new venue. Many couples took their dancing into the aisles, smiling wide, shaking their hips and shoulders, and spinning in circles. Unfortunately, it is a fire hazard to block the aisles, so the ushers politely asked the fans to return to their seats. But even the ushers shook a few hips in solidarity. It was truly heartwarming.
Not every song was fast and furious, as a few slow ballads allowed the crowd to catch their breath. "La Foto de Los Dos" allowed Carlos to showcase his heartfelt vocals as he asked the audience to shine their cell-phone lights toward the stage. Vives is a master of fluctuating between fast and slow, and utilizes both styles as a gateway to his fans' hearts. He followed with "Volvi A Nacer," and he allowed a friend to accompany him onstage for a marriage proposal. It was a touching moment for the newly engaged couple.
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The night ended with his newest hit, "Al Filo De Tu Amor," a gorgeous song about being on the cusp of love and hoping that one day that person may love you in return. Just like my new amigo Raul found his love, thanks in part to the music of Carlos Vives.