The Mavericks' version of a karaoke bar outing sounds just fine
Ananheim, Cal., House of Blues, Dec, 15,, 2003
ANAHEIM, CA - Imagine yourself in a karaoke bar when all of a sudden one singer in particular grabs your attention and won't let go. His range is unfathomable, exemplified by a repertoire that swings from Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" to a spot-on Bee Gees imitation for "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart," which makes you swear that this Hispanic-looking fellow is actually a previously unknown Brother Gibb.
But this wonderful singer in question, armed with his eclectic pop music taste, is actually Raul Malo, and his horn-accompanied group is the welcome return of The Mavericks.
The group may have taken a brief sabbatical, but The Mavericks are right back at it, and once again making music for all occasions.
The band has released a new self-titled album since their last trip out this way, so the set list tonight consisted of about half the songs from that new one.
But many in this audience shouted out loud for the older tunes, and the group rewarded these vocal fans with fine vintage material, such as "What A Crying Shame," "All You Ever do Is Bring Me Down" and "There Goes My Heart."
Malo is the clear centerpiece of this musical arrangement, but new guitarist Eddie Perez also added a lot of color, as well as vocal harmony, to the mix.
Malo mentioned that he'd been sick for a good portion of this tour, which - as he put it - made him sound like he was doing his Tom Waits impression much of the time. But all the sickness-related gravel has obviously since been removed from Malo's vocal chords, which allowed him to wow this crowd with an acoustic-guitar accompanied solo rendition of Orbison's "In Dreams."
And speaking of Memphis-derived music, Elvis (another famous Sun Records alumnus) loomed large over Malo's musical persona this night. Malo brought the spirit of Elvis into the spotlight on more than one occasion, but no more so than on a rousing sing-along version of "Blue Christmas."
At the risk of sounding disrespectful, this Maverick's show was a little bit like hanging out at heaven's karaoke bar, which probably wouldn't be too bad of a place to spend the rest of eternity.