Maná Celebrates Mexico and Latin America at Toyota Center

Fher Olvera and his rock band Maná have been entertaining fans for more than 30 years.
Fher Olvera and his rock band Maná have been entertaining fans for more than 30 years. Photo by Jennifer Lake

Mexico Lindo y Querido Tour
Toyota Center Houston
March 30, 2023

Do you remember those Columbia House mail-order promos, the ones that would sell you 12 CDs for a dollar plus shipping. Yes, I am that old. One of the very first albums that I ordered through that service was 1992's "¿Dónde Jugarán Los Niños?" by Rock en Español band Maná. I would blast that CD on my Sony Discman as a teenager and feel so cool.

Then in 1999, I saw them live in concert for the first time on The Supernatural Tour with Carlos Santana, and was completely blown away by the band. Their energy, their attitude, and the love for their home country left a lasting impression on this young Mexican kid.
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Fher Olvera rocked the stage with his energy and love for Mexico and Latin America.
Photo by Jennifer Lake
As the lights dimmed to signal the start of the Maná show, the evening began with "Could You Be Loved" by Bob Marley. It would be one of three tributes to the late, great reggae star throughout the night. The band then took to the stage with "Cómo Te Deseo," with several Aztec and Mayan symbols and other iconography showcased on the large video boards surrounding the stage.

Lead singer Fher Olvera looked very rockero on stage, wearing a bright blue leather jacket and a bedazzled T-shirt with a calavera skull design. The set list transitioned into "De Pies A Cabeza" and "Corazon Espinado" with many in the audience singing word for word.

High in the rafters of the arena, a large inflatable sea turtle was suspended over the crowd. Olvera took some time to explain the efforts of the band's Selva Negra foundation, which works hard to accomplish environmental protection and nature conservancy, including beach clean ups and sea turtle protection.

The turtle was lowered from its perch as "Cuando Los Ángeles Lloran" played, and the video boards simulated the ocean environment of these animals. It was certainly a cool, beautiful portion of the show.

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Sergio Vallín plays a mean guitar for what many consider one of the best Rock En Español bands of all time.
Photo by Jennifer Lake
As I looked around the arena, I saw many people who were definitely "in their feelings", singing loudly, dancing wildly, and even shedding a tear or two during "Vivir Sin Aire" and the cover of Juan Gabriel's "Se Me Olvido Otra Vez".

At the halfway point of the concert, Olvera took an extended break as the band ventured into several instrumental solos, first by guitarist Sergio Vallín, then bassist Juan Calleros, and ending with the master drummer Alex "El Animal" González.

"This is probably my favorite part of the show" proclaimed my friend who accompanied me to the show. It was certainly very exiting to see the drumsticks move that fast and with such precision. Definitely got my blood pumping!
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Drummer Alex "El Animal" González dropped an outstanding solo during halftime of the show.
Photo by Jennifer Lake
After the instrumental intermission, the band moved to the "B" stage near the rear of the arena. Olvera invited two women onstage for a serenade of "Te Lloré Un Rîo," "El Reloj Cucú," "Huele A Trizteza" and "Eres Mi Religion." Alicia was from Honduras, and Mariana was from Mexico City.

"Que bonitas son las mujeres!" said Olvera as he sang, extolling the beauty of these women and all females in general. "Never lose your happiness!" he told the audience.

After the acoustic set, the band made their way through the crowd and back to the main stage. As the night drew to a close, I took a few moments to cherish the evening of amazing music and love for the Mexican culture. As I always say, I didn't ask to be born Mexican, I was just born lucky!
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It was a long, beautiful evening full of amazing Rock En Español and overall good vibes.
Photo by Jennifer Lake

The night ended with "Me Vale,""Clavado En Un Bar" and "Rayando El Sol." At this point, Olvera asked for the spotlights to be dimmed and for the crowd's cell phone flashlights to be illuminated.

"All of you are lights of hope!" he said in Spanish. "We are now the biggest minority in this country, and united together we can change the world!

Changing the world for the better, one music fan at a time.

Oh, and by the way.... I just found out today that the word "maná" means "positive energy" in Polynesian. How very fitting for this amazing band!

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Thank you Maná for an amazing night.
Photo by Jennifer Lake
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When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Houston Press contributor Marco both writes and points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond.