A personal review by Gareth, site admin/owner
I’m in the very happy position today of being able to actually post my own live review up here on the site (although I hope others of you with “live” experiences and other stories and news will continue to write in!) – having lost my ECDL_Live virginity at the band’s show on October 30th at the Palacio de los Deportes, Madrid at the end of their “Hasta Luego” tour.
Although the innovative and imaginative lighting/projection rig is a stripped down version of the one used on the “Personas” tour, it’s nonetheless mighty impressive and with 5 minutes to go until showtime sends the enormous stadium into deafening cheers as it turns into a countdown clock. The Palacio de los Deportes is a huge venue for about 18,000 or so and it’s packed out – think Earls Court but bigger and wider – and when the clock hits zero the noise is immense. The projections change to very computer-graphic style roads and tracings and a bleepy synth interlude soon gives way to the opening chords of La Suerte de Mi Vida, as the front of the rig rises, revealing the band.
It’s impossible for me to really take you through the gig step by step as I was having too much fun to take notes (also bouncing around which probably wouldn’t help either…) but it was, of course, a fantastic experience.
The playlist is a pretty much faultless trawl through the band’s strongest tracks – and certainly tracks that come over really well in a live environment. And also ECDL aren’t afraid to play with the arrangements for concerts, with Ya Nada Volvera a Ser Como Antes and Son Sueños getting distinctly hard-edged, chunky new styles… this isn’t merely them playing out live but a deliberately different approach to styling them, and it works very very well. Contigo too, gets a much harder edge – and sounds brilliant for it, especially with some extra digital-delay/echo treatments on Dani’s vocals at key points in the song. In the same vein of taking risks with reappraising popular “standards”, Volvera is given a much more laid back treatment – sung by the band perched on a park bench centre-stage; another stylistic shift that works surprisingly well for such an originally “rocking” track.
Dani and David play the most central part of engaging the audience; though that’s not to say Chema isn’t doing his bit – he just seems to love bouncing around on his own most of the time, though he has no trouble making sure he gets in front of the crowd too. David is a major natural focus given how central his riffs are to many of the songs, and of course Dani plays to the crowd enormously. He’s a great showman – and this is shown to great effect in songs like Zapatillas where, below frantic stopframe animations of Converse All-Stars (Zapatillas, basically…) lacing and unlacing themselves on huge projections, Dani pulls the crowd into a huge game of cheering and going silent, cheering, going silent… you get the picture. And it doesn’t get old. And you get the impression he could keep doing that for hours and the crowd would hang on every word and movement.
It’s difficult to pick highlights from such a universally great performance, but a stadium full of people waving their glowing mobile phones as if they were lighters, pogo-ing to the max in Canciones, Besos and Zapatillas, David gamely overcoming weird technical problems with his guitars in El Pescao, cackling at Dani and David’s special English language chat during one of the several encores (kudos for so many encores, seriously!) and a mass singalong to the final, final, final – no, really final encore – Peter Pan.
Things I’ve learned…
1 – they’re loud. Stood very near the front just to the side of the stage the air was actually moving with the sound from the speakers.
2 – you can still get an excellent spot even if you arrive not long before the show.
3 – they absolutely MUST be seen live.
4 – they really should come to London. They’d go down so well.
5 – they attract an amazingly good-natured and well-behaved crowd, whilst not losing any atmosphere, fun or liveliness.
6 – they are surely one of the most impressive *live* bands in the world today (which makes it all the more shocking that they aren’t more known or appreciated globally).
Anyway, they’re supposed to be taking time off after the “Hasta Luego” tour – Er, hence the name! – so let’s hope they release a full show on DVD to tide us over till they’re next out and about.
I’ll certainly be itching to go see them live again, and I hope they’ll consider extending their shows to include some kind of UK event. In the meantime I have a stack of fantastic memories and iPhone photos to remind me of a superb concert.