Friday, July 17, 2009
The queue straggled almost all the way around the park. We walked to the end and then shuffled all the way back to the entrance. Was it hot? It was. It was also steamy, close, sticky... and did I mention hot? Once inside, our positions taken, everywhere I turned I could see fans (abanicas) flapping furiously while the aficionados (fans) stuffed baguettes into their mouths, followed by copious amounts of beer and water.
Around 10 o'clock the support band 'The Cabriolets' burst on to the stage fronted by a genderless vision in a black, shiny suit and short, slicked-back hair reminiscent of that asexual pop group from the 80's that no one can remember the name of. Yet there was a kind of closer familiarity ... something I just couldn't place ... but I let myself be pulled along by their thunderous energy (the base guitar amp was banging against my rib cage so hard I thought I might go into cardiac arrest)hoping some fleeting memory would return. I watched carefully; a great voice, definitely male ... or was it? The jacket came off to reveal a black bra... a-ha so .... then a new song .. a lot of energetic, suggestive dancing... uh-huh .... then, a snap of elastic and gone was the bra. Mmmm ... man breasts or .... ? A moment later the trousers disappeared to reveal black briefs. The crowd shrieked with delight. Could it be ...? I wasn't sure .... finally, with a theatrical flourish the briefs were discarded to thunderous applause ... and before us stood a being in a beautifully crafted flesh-coloured thong. What the hell was I looking at? So familiar, yet ...
As a warm-up band they were pretty good, although the Valencians, as usual, talked through most of it with the occasional recollection that they'd come to a concert. Of course, we were only waiting for Miguel Bosé. The Cabriolets bid us farewell and the stage darkened followed by the usual flurry of shadowy figures silently re-arranging the props for what seemed an age. Without warning a dazzling light appeared. The crowd roared. He was here.
Miguel Bosé is an accomplished showman but then he's been around a long time. He has made countless albums, the last with the likes of Ricky Martin, Michael Stipe and Laura Pausini and he should be a huge international star by now but, just maybe, he doesn't want to be. His movements are entirely original and we, his fans, would recognise them anywhere; the arms moving from side to side, the expressive hands, the hips, that amazing, wolfish grin.
He opened with 'Amante Bandido' and like children being given their favourite fairy story we roared our approval. We knew the words and we sang along, loudly and, surprisingly, melodically. Suddenly, there she was! Who is The Cabriolets frontman? Bimba Bosé: the androgynous niece of Miguel. And now, here they were, erupting into 'Como un Lobo'. We yelled, we air-clapped into the humid night air and we sang along; 'pasa paso' has never been bellowed with such velocity.
The show came to an end sooner than expected but, of course, we weren't going to let him off so lightly, despite the unmistakeable hum of stale deodorant in the stifling 28º. He came back for two ‘encores’ and then another. Bimba returned to lend her weight to an already memorable performance and still we wanted more.
Now gone midnight I didn't know whether it was sweat or tears running down my face ...but finally it was over and with the peculiar orderliness of Spanish crowds, we made our way back through the park for a final glass of wine in The Alameda; the perfect end to a perfect evening. Thank you Valencia. For all your faults you certainly know how to stage a great concert.