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The Mavericks go back in time

Wilbur Theatre, Boston, May 12, 2014

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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When a band announces a special anniversary tour - in the case of The Mavericks, its their 25th - one would forgive the public if it grew a tad cynical at the thought of the ka-ching machine going.

If that was the end result of any fan seeing the left of center country band with odes to cocktail, Roy Orbison, big band, Latin and (unfortunately) even disco, they would have been sorely off base. While The Mavericks may not be the successful band - from a commercial standpoint, that is - that they once were, make no mistake that this is a band filled with remains in the word of their 1995 disc, "Music For All Occasions." And really good music at that.

The Mavericks split up in 2004 after 6 studio albums. Lead singer Raul Malo was the most active member since then with six solo albums, but two years ago, the band regrouped. That led to the release of "In Time" early in 2013 on Valory Music, a Big Machine Records subsidiary.

Smart move because the band amply showed on the disc that it has not lost a step. Their sound wasn't all that much different from what propelled them to fame, but they're also most definitely outside what is now the country musical mainstream. Perhaps that was why the disc yielded no hits and not a particularly big seller.

With the anniversary tour being the calling card to attract a very healthy, but clearly older crowd, The Mavs were no golden oldies show. They proudly played a good half dozen cuts from "In Time" during a lengthy, but never dull 2 -hour show.

For that, the band deserves credit on several scores. First of all, and most importantly, the songs were fresh sounding and vibrant. The Mavericks clearly were proud of their music because of the emphasis early on of new songs including "Back In Your Arms Again," "Lies" and "All Over Again" played consecutively. They fit quite well with the rest of the material, before closing the regular set with three straight new songs, "Fall Apart," "Dance in the Moonlight" and "As Long As There's Loving Tonight."

That could be stressing out the patience of the fans, but The Mavericks prevailed. It also helped that they trotted out such worthy songs of yesteryear as "There Goes My Heart" and "Here Comes the Rain."

Malo remains a potent vocalist in the Orbison school of music. Unfortunately, his voice was mixed a bit too far down until the band reached the lengthy encore where the group picked it up even more.

Timekeeper Paul Deakin did a stellar job in keeping the music moving. Lead guitarist Eddie Perez had a bunch of steely, sometimes twangy leads, and Malo also put his skills on electric guitar. Long-time sidekick and now member keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden was his usual active self on keyboards. The two-piece horn section of Matty Cappy on trumpet and Max Abrams on trombone added much punch time and again.

Everyone had a hand in the ending the night with a very lengthy (about eight minutes) version of "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down," which you left one wondering whether the band really did want to leave the friendly confines of the stage.

As for the unfortunate inclusion of disco, The Mavericks did that with a cover of KC and the Sunshine Band's "Boogie Shoes." While their version passed muster, there were a lot of other songs that would have fit far more.

But that was a very small misstep in an otherwise fine night of music anniversary or no anniversary.