Manu Chao therapy

05.31.07 | Comment?

I’ve been listening to Manu Chao ever since senior year in high school. Yep, it’s been 10 years! And of course, with manu Chao comes the rockin’ Mano Negra.
For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a tri-lingual singer (Spanish, French and English) with his own reggae inspired sound and peace messages. He’s got very stick-in-your-head lyrics, like “me gustan los aviones, me gustas tu”, or “I’m the king of Bongo baby, I’m the king of Bongo Bong”, or “welcome to Tijuana, tequila, sexo, marijuana” (not sure this song is originally from him), or again, “je ne t’aime plus, mon amour, je ne t’aime plus, tous les jours” or…(I could go on forever!). Check out this very cool article about him.

And so finally we went to see him live last night at the Bill Graham Civic Center Auditorium. Yey!
But it didn’t start too good…

We decided to be up front and center in the pit to see Manu as close as possible…hmm bad judgment! Yes, we were squished. The amount of personal space and air got smaller and smaller as we approached the beginning of the concert. Hmm…I started to feel tingling in my hands, feet, then legs and felt my heartbeat rise dramatically causing a cold sweat. My friend Julie looks at me saying: “you look really pale!”. Yeah, I wasn’t feeling so good. I finally got to snake my way through all the way up front where I could breathe fresh air. I feel better. But as the band gets up on stage, people gather around even tighter. The tingling and sweat starts again.
They play the 1st notes and my heart booms. That’s it. I gotta get out of here. I look back at my friends quickly miming signs that I’m getting out before I fall. I get the attention of a security guard who pulls me right over the barrier in no time (looking back at the events, it was the funnest part!). I am escorted to the side and feel like I can breathe and move again. I just had the time to catch my breath and shed a few tears of pressure release that I see muscling his way out of the crowd, Justin coming to wrap me in his comforting arms. Deep breath. Justin’s here, all is well now. I’m so lucky!!

Still shook up, we make our way to the very back where there’s a wall we could lean against. 5 minutes later, I get a call from Julie, not really hearing her well, but understanding that they got out too. We find them and they said they ended up getting pulled out from the crowd over the barrier, just like me, because it was completely overwhelming!

We ended up going upstairs where there were actually seats and space. OK, the view was from the very side of the stage, but we had room to dance. We could finally start appreciating the music!

It ended up being really awesome! The energy was great and the band was surprisingly very professional. Why surprisingly? Well, you’d think that a bunch of topless guys (most of the band) playing reggae like tunes and praising the benefits of marijuana could be off (behavior wise) time to time. But nope, even stoned, they were very together.

Manu especially owned the stage and the crowd. He dealt with a couple (if not 3) of guys making there way on stage to hug him and make a fool of themselves. One of which got completely naked jumping around and giving Manu naked hugs…Yuk!! But Manu was very nice and calm about it. He hugged back, shook hands and asked the security guards not to act right away. By “embracing” their annoying presence, he actually minimalized the potentially very theatrical consequences. Bravo Manu!

All in all, this concert was awesome! I got to see an artist I’ve been a long term fan of and I got to learn more about my limits. Priceless.

Just for fun, here’s the “Me Gustas Tu” music video (with very poor lip syncing)

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