Miguel Bose is an artist’s artist, with a celebrated history and a rich sounding baritone. Bose is practically a Euro-Latin treasure, with a career spanning four decades that began in television and ventured into music, while singing in Spanish and Italian. He’s known for his heart rendering folk anthems, tender ballads, exciting dance tracks and beloved pop hits.
The charismatic Bose NEVER tours near this area. To see big international acts, Central California music fans must travel 3 hours plus to cities like Oakland, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Low and behold, the opening date of the brief Estare Tour was occurring in Modesto at a gorgeous and intimate theater called the Gallo Center for the Arts. Like I had written previously about a Richard Marx show, The Gallo is a jewel of a theater 90 minutes north of Fresno and there’s not a bad seat in the house. This was a birthday treat for my lovely wife, and I clamored for those balcony box seats. Those seats provide a wonderfully close vantage point, and the big, comfy upholstered chairs add a charm and grace to the concert experience. We enjoyed our glasses of wine in comfort as the show unfolded.
Bose employed a large cast of musicians, with their names appearing on screen as they entered the stage, one by one, a classy and personal touch. The 11 person ensemble included several backing vocalists, primary keyboardist, a second keyboardist/violinist/accordion player, two guitarists, a bassist, a percussionist and a drummer. The musicians were in great form and the extra sidemen/women helped to recreate the songs authentically. Most people get hung up about live music not sounding like the studio originals, many complain that “it’s just not the same.” That’s true most of the time, however, I think a live group’s job is to channel the spirit of the music, perform an authentic rendition and connect with the audience. That’s what happened in Modesto this night. The group performed arrangements very similar to the studio originals with a couple exceptions. However, the sounds were updated, brought to the present. The live renditions went over well in an almost magical fashion. Tonight’s set was generous, spanning over 30 years of music including new offerings. Bose was dressed all in black, his hair cropped short with an equally sharp goatee. He was in playful form, moving about the stage regularly, joining in on the dance routines and occasionally taking a seat on a bar stool. Bose proved he wasn’t merely a polished studio vocalist but a true performer and he was relishing the crowd’s energy.
The playful “Y Poco Mas” had the crowd singing along and cheering as Bose snuck in some flirty dance moves, prompting a squeal from the ladies…Bose counted in the ‘One Two Three Four!’ and the audience joyously belted out the next chorus. The group led the audience on another stirring sing-along during “Nada Particular,” a swell of voices delicately lifting the song higher and higher. The entire show was one massive sing-along. The audience knew the songs by heart and never overpowered Bose or the backing vocalists. Instead, the audience lovingly complemented the performers, adding additional color and dynamics to the vocals. People loved these songs and did them justice with their respectful and gentle singing. During “Creo En Ti,” Bose appreciated the love and support, and had that charming grin as the audience joined in on the choruses, he nodded in approval as the accordion player continued her leads. The acoustics were wonderful, Bose’s vocals were clear and rich sounding, the Gallo was the perfect venue for this kind of anthemic pop, especially for gems like “Si Tu No Vuelves.” Like a gentle thunder, his voice filled the entire building, that subtle, natural echo disbursing his voice throughout the theater. “Si Tu No Vuelves” was performed in a similar manner to the duet version with Shakira. The instrumentation and sounds were very similar. For this rendition, Bose provided all the vocals with the group delicately accompanying him. The playful, island flavored “La Chula” once again saw the audience filling in wonderfully on the verses and choruses while shaking it. “Morir De Amor” continued the accordion flavored string of baladas, Bose once again leading the sing-along and playfully dancing to the tune and making the ladies scream. The delicate “Como Un Lobo” prompted more tender sing-alongs, with several fans in the front hanging onto each other and reaching out toward the performers. The tender “Te Amare” was like a choral exercise, Bose prompted the entire crowd to sing the choruses unaccompanied as he adoringly listened and conducted our performance. “Amante Bandido” got the audience to their feet, the bouncy anthem prompting a roar of cheers. The song was performed similar to the studio original but without the horns and with a straight ahead dance-rock beat. As a younger fan I identify more with the dance remix, but this rendition was perfect.
There were so many teary eyes in that theater. Midway through the set I had to leave my seat to use the restroom and grab a couple t-shirts for my love. On my way out I couldn’t help but examine the audience, many of whom were deeply touched and tearful, the stage lights reflecting off their glistened eyes. To our immediate left sat a woman likely in her 50s who had come to the concert alone. I couldn’t help but notice her sitting there, solitary and sentimental, chin propped on her hand as she watched. So many connections and so many feelings. Seeing the physical reactions to that kind of connection is stirring, a bitter-sweet kind of joy and happiness. I was so happy to be able to surprise my wife with this show for her birthday. For her and many many others, hearing and seeing the iconic Miguel Bose was nostalgic in a wonderful way, like reliving childhood memories, reconnecting with and experiencing echoes from the past. Experiencing all that with someone near and dear just makes the experience all the more memorable.
Songs performed this evening included Amo, Encanto, Libre Ya De Amores, El Hijo Del Capitán Trueno, Salamandra, Nena, Aire Soy, Horizonte De Las Estrellas, Sevilla, Y Poco Mas, Como Un Lobo, Si Tu No Vuelves, Tú Mi Salvación, Un Argumento, Partisano, Morena Mía, Nada particular, La Chula, Creo En Ti, Bambu ,Sí Se Puede, Que No Hay, Te amaré, Por ti, and Amante Bandido.