El Presente Tour
San Francisco, California
Saturday, October 11, 2008
So I made it to the Julieta Venegas "El Presente" tour concert and her performance was, as expected, incredible. I bought tickets from this cat from Craigslist who wanted to go to the Carlos Santana show in Santa Rosa. So I got 4 tickets and dragged my wife (kicking and screaming) and my friend, Antonio, and his wife to the show. We grabbed some Italian at Noe Valley Restaurant on 24 St and jumped on the J to get to the Warfield. I really enjoyed my veal piccata.
After dodging the aggressive panhandlers on Market Street, we made our way into the Warfield. Our usher, it turned out was this short Latina girl that works at the library. I immediately recognised her because I distinctly remember her dismissing author Chuck Palahniuk as being repetitive while I was checking out his latest novel, "Snuff". Anyway, it was slightly ironic because I, myself, used to moonlight as an usher at the Warfield back in the day. So anyhow, we ended up with decent seats. Antonio and I went to the bar and drank some Coronas as we discussed the economy and also what a fat disgusting piece of shit I've morphed into. Slumming isn't best word to describe me but it the first that comes to mind.
I wasn't aware of an opening act but the librarian/usher told us there was. Indeed, it turned out to be Julieta's former band member and Tijuanese, Ceci Bastida, the ex- front woman of the now defunct Tijuana No! I thought she put on an earnest set along with her stripped down band playing her trademark rock-ska style; her last song was a cover from her band. While we were gone and shortly before the opening act, the people in front of us got into a heated argument over their seats. Our wives, who stayed behind, recounted the story of how one woman called another woman a "fucking bitch", a screaming match ensued and almost became physical. It even descended into a class-ist and racist incident with one darker skinned Latina woman yelling, "Just because you have light eyes doesn't mean that you're better than us...you fucking bitch!". So much for liberal San Francisco. The ushers were completely inept, they finally offered some other seats to the people and later kicked the squatters out.
After that, My friend and I went out for more Coronas and when we go back to our seats. The main attraction started and then...two drunken, super-fan fucktards sit right in front of us in the now disputed seats. One was a guy and the other a woman. I don't think they were a couple, but more like a Latina version of "Will and Grace" ;actually closer to Jack and Karen(Okay- clearly, I know way too much about that show). They were as loud as they were obnoxious -she says, " oh I don't know this song!"- He says, "oh yes you do girl!!!" My wife was really pissed because they blocked our view. My wife and I breathed a short sigh of relief when the ushers cleared them out and brought back the family that had the tickets for the seats in the first place, only to have these two knuckle heads sit right behind us. They were singing...so horribly and so loudly that I couldn't hear Julietta Venegas' voice and they were kicking our chairs. I was so pissed off as I was really looking forward to enjoying the concert. I mean the last concert I had been to was the fucking Wiggles for chrissakes in 2003! These two pendejos were really dropping a gigantic mierda on my evening. I know it's a concert but if they want to sing loudly and dance, shouldn't buy tickets for the floor instead? I know the folks that sat behind them were really upset. Every time I heard their big bocas, I became crankier and more frustrated than John McCain.
The saving grace was they had to leave for a bit, I think the girl probably had to blow chunks because they were gone a for while; long enough for me to hear Venegas belt out her latest single "El Presente" without their loud, slurring mouths. However, I was determined not to let them ruin my night and overshadow Julieta Venegas - she was awesome. Despite singing with a sore throat, she put a fantastic show along with her full piece orchestra, which gives a strong new flavor to familiar songs. She spoke a little but not too much, I don't understand Spanish but I picked out the words "latinos", "world", "changes" and "vote" and my friend explained to me, after the show, that she was basically saying that as Americans we need to get our asses out there and vote. No arguments here.
Venegas came out in a mint green dress and sporting a china doll hair style; she looked and sounded great. I dig the way she looks squeezing out the tunes on the accordion or strumming her guitar that's almost as big as she is. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera because I didn't know if I was allowed to. I tried to snap a few photos on my Blackberry but the results looked worse than photos of UFO sightings. She sang all her hits, including one of my favorites, the newly arranged "Lento" and gave the crowd what they wanted, and of course she couldn't play everything I wanted to hear...but I was more than content. Finally, the crowd went crazy when she came back for her encore with "Andar Conmigo". She's a class act, all the way!
We all had a great time, even my wife, who initially didn't want to go. We all made it home, thankfully without incident, and my only regret was not bringing my camera. JULIETA AND HER ACCORDION RULE!
As a side note, you can hear a recent interview with Julieta Venegas (in English) from PRI's The World, heard on NPR. Her inspiration for the playing the accordion is surprising.