I took some time out of my schedule to check out The Mavericks at Gruene Hall on Friday night. On a U.S. tour that has cemented their return to the music scene after years apart, Raul Malo and The Mavericks are back and stronger than ever.
The Mavericks have enjoyed their return, playing some major country music festivals around the country. At Gruene Hall, though, they enjoyed a small, more intimate and somewhat eclectic crowd of Raul Malo and Mavericks loyalists. And The Mavericks responded with a powerful show.
Kicking off with 2012’s Back in Your Arms Again, they immediately went into a string of recently released tunes from their EP, Suited Up and Ready, and even included a tune from the upcoming full-length release titled Lies. After Born To Be Blue and Come on To Me, the Mavericks went through a memorable repertoire of their early hits (Pretend, I Said I Love You, Every Little Thing About You, and There Goes My Heart to name a few) while throwing in some tunes from Malo’s solo career, such as Moonlight Kiss.
Come time for a set break, Malo remained on stage as he usually has done, and provided the crowd a slowed-down version of Oh What A Thrill. He called up one of the best additions to the band, acordeonista Michael Guerra, and together, they belted out Besame Mucho.
The responsive crowd was also provided with musical treats, such as Twist and Shout and the tried and true Volver, Volver. The latter becoming a sing-a-long.
The encore brought them back for a short set, which included a tune from Malo’s last solo release, Sinners and Saints, and the classic All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down.
Between Raul Malo’s vocals, Eddie Perez’s guitaristics, Michael Guerra’s sweet acordeon, Jerry Dale McFadden’s keyboards, Paul Deakin’s drumming, Elio Giordano’s upright bass artistry, Robert Reynolds acoustic guitar and harmonies, and a mighty fine horn section (including a trumpet playing virtuoso who had just joined the band), it was a music-filled night–powerful, tight, and oh so right.
As someone who truly enjoyed the Raul Malo solo years, it is good to see The Mavericks back together. Whatever differences they had that lead to a break-up, on Friday night, it seemed like the formula still works. The guys looked like they were having fun on stage and they responded to the crowd like they always have–with energy and a lot of love. It was an experience.
Now, the new EP has soothed Mavericks fans, but much has been asked about the full-length release, In Time. Back in July, they announced a September 25 release; however, Valery Music, their new label, announced a change to January to align with the start of their 2013 World Tour. After a few more dates this year, Malo takes off on a solo holiday tour up east.
What they say is true, Gruene Hall is an awesome venue for bands that have a relationship with the crowd. I wonder what the Saturday show was like?