Mana @ The Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield CA 09/13/12
I think my brother said it best: Mana is the Mexican Nickelback (he also said Mana fans are probably Oakland Raider fans too lol). You will either laugh and agree, or gasp and feel offended. The women outnumbered the men, and the set was heavy with mid tempo ballads and unremarkable new songs. However the crowd compensated for that and made for a high energy concert. The Rabobank Arena was freakin’ PACKED, which is a great testament to the support that this kind of music receives in the Central Valley. It was a good show, great band with an awesome ability to get the crowd going. But what made me sorely disappointed and critical of the show was the fact that it was practically the same show from 5 years ago! The same songs, practically the same running order, minus some classic songs that were substituted with 5 mediocre new songs. Fans have waited 5 years for Mana’s return, and this is what we got: A boring, flaccid new album and a “by the numbers” tour. I felt no connection, no magic, no hair raising moments. It was just another gig. If you’re a first timer (and have a vagina), then you will definitely love the show. It’s a great night out and the band puts on a quality show with great production. However for other fans looking for variety (and looking for true rock) then you might be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I love the group, love most of the music, they’re great musicians and performers, but the show was just meh.
Coolest moments: The coolest moments for me had nothing to do with the music. Fher acknowledged Bako as an agricultural town and fittingly mentioned Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
At the end of Alex’s drum solo he turned to the left side of his kit. To the left of his timbales was a lone floor tom. Alex cracked the floor tom open and it was an ice chest designed to look like one of his DW floor toms. He pulled out a Corona and took a big swig. I gotta get me one of those (the drum ice chest I mean).
At the end of Me Vale, a young kid joined the band for the closing jam to the song. I have no idea who he was, crew member or audience member, but he was a baby faced kid, playing a Gibson SG and jammed along like a pro.
For the mini acoustic set, the band walked over to a platform at the opposite end of the arena, giving the rear a front row vantage point for a portion of the show. Some chick from Mexicali was pulled onto the platform where she sat while the group performed Vivir Sin Aire. As soon as the harmonic outro was over, a crew member quickly yanked the girl off the stage. I thought “aw how sad.” Then I laughed
Oye Mi Amor
De Pies a Cabeza (sweet!)
Lluvia Al Corazon
Vuela Libre Paloma
El Verdadero Amor Pedona
Sergio’s Guitar Solo and band jam
Manda Una Senal
Clavado En Un Bar
Alex’s Drum Solo
B-Stage acoustic set (Te Llore Un Rio/Te Solte La Rienda/Bendita Tu Luz/Eres Mi Religion/Si No Te Hubieras Ido/Vivir Sin Aire)
En El Muelle De San Blas (with a reworked intro)
Rayando El Sol
I can’t help but compare what I witnessed at the Caifanes show versus what I saw at the Mana show. For Caifanes I saw couples dance, guys playing air guitar and air drums, jumping, moshing, and grown men brought to tears. Maybe there were more drunks at the Caifanes show? Who knows. But for some reason a deeper chord was struck at that show. It’s not to say that one group is superior to the other. It’s like Coke and Root Beer. Some days I prefer one, other days I prefer the other. Both groups give the audience something savory, passionate, rhythmic, melodic, and poetic. But above all, both groups give the music fan something that is uniquely Mexican, and we don’t have enough of that in the rock world.
a view from stage right, loge.
a view from behind Alex’s kit at the Bakersfield gig, from Mana’s official page (no copyright infringement intended)