Date: August 5, 2015
Location: The Pacific Ampitheater
For years I’ve been dying to see Juanes live in concert. When I discovered rock en español during my early years of high school he happened to be one of the first artists of the genre that I became a fan of. I began listening to his music around the time period when his hit “La Camisa Negra“ started to blow up on the charts. Once I obtained his album La Vida… Es Un Ratico he easily became my favorite Latin artist for years. In 2013 when he was on tour I tried to convince by then friend to go along along with me, but my request fell on deaf ears. This time around I found someone willing to attend so we were all set with out presale tickets for this Wednesday evening. A regret of mine for this night is not being able to attend the OC Fair. Any concert ticket for the Pacific Amphitheater includes free admission to the fair, however the person I attended the concert with had no interest of attending. Since she had a friend who would be dropping us off – hence free parking – I carpooled with them. Arriving at our destination as we waited to enter the venue I bumped into a friend of mine of. I seriously did not expect to run into anyone I knew that day, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Turns out my friend decided to attend last minute when relatives of hers had an extra ticket on hand. As we caught up among ourselves the doors opened and we were set for the night ahead of us.
As the lights dimmed the first act of the night, Raymundo, walked on stage with a guitar in hand. Raymundo is an up and coming Latin pop artist from South El Monte. His fans through social media contacted Juanes by sharing his “Soñar.Creer.Realizar“ music video which reached the Latin rocker. He loved the music video and arranged for Raymundo to open up for him during his Costa Mesa show. Raymundo that night appeared all in black with the exception of a dark blue flannel and a grey hat that graced his head. Throughout the night the humbled artist astonished the audience with Spanish love songs that he sung so captivating. I enjoyed listening to his set that night, I can tell that this talented musician has a bright future. His modesty throughout the night won me over as well as the others in the audience. I could see how grateful he was for having this opportunity and would not be taking it for granted. I enjoyed hearing the stories he would tell in between songs to explain its origins. Hearing him sing brought a smile to my face because I genuinely was happy to see this Latino singer’s music career start to take off in a big way. I also wanted to give him thanks for providing me with his setlist that night. I sent him a message months after the concert ended and he replied back with the actual list. Thank you Raymundo! My favorite song of his wound up being “SOÑAR. CREER. REALIZAR“. After hearing it I can see why Juanes loved it, it’s such an incredible track.
The stage started to become assembled for Juanes’ performance soon thereafter. The middle of the stage had a huge projection screen which throughout the night illuminated colorfully imagery of guitars along with multiple photos of Juanes reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych painting. As the band settled in the lights dimmed through the venue. Juanes emerged from the behind the screen which had the word JUANES displayed sideways. The moment the Latino artist walked on stage the venue became illuminated with the cellphones of the fans recording him as he journeyed to the middle of the stage. The suave artist’s blue button up shirt and black pants matched his slip-on shoes as he walked across the black and white striped floor. He started singing into a red microphone as he rocked the white electric guitar he carried on hand. Juanes had been on a world tour promoting his latest album “Loco de Amor,” released on March 11, 2014. This is the sixth album that the Colombian artist has released which includes the singles “La Luz“, “Mil Pedazos“, and “Una Flor“.
He warmed up the crowd by playing a few songs of that album; “Mil Pedazos”, “Loco de Amor”, and “Una Flor”. The Colombian artist astonished the audience with his remarkable talent and charismatic persona. Throughout the whole night he had a constant smile on his face . Just as everyone in attendance, Juanes himself was having a fun time as he played hit after hit. His long hair constantly moved to the beat of his music trying to keep up with him. My favorite aspect of his performance is whenever he did a guitar solo. He performs with a mixture of fiery passion combined with an easy going attitude (hard to describe in words really). There were many highlights that evening that it’s difficult for me to select a favorite performance of mine. He brought a lot of emotions with “Fotografía”, “Para Tu Amor”, and “Es Por Ti”. If only Nelly Furtado would have appeared for a duet on “Fotografía”, that would have blown my mind. Juanes deliverance of love songs hits home as one can relate to the amor he speaks about. A powerful performance of his included “Volverte a Ver” which had the audience on their feet dancing the night away.
I cannot express how I felt when he played the intro chords for “La Paga”. This track has the most meaning to me out of all of Juanes’ songs. The reason being is that this is the first Juanes song that I stumbled upon back when I use to watch LATV. That program would play both English and Spanish music videos with Juanes being one of the first Spanish artists that I became familiar with. The weird Mickey Mouse inspired character of the music video got my attention and I looked up further songs from this Colombian rocker. “Juntos” followed next which is best known for being associated with the film McFarland (fun fact a guy I went to high school actually appears in the film). “Si me miras sé que me descifras, Si te miro yo también lo haré?” Fan favorite “Yerbatero“ and “Hoy Me Voy” were played to the cheers from the crowd. Soon after my favorite part of concert occurred when he played his two biggest hits from my favorite album of his (La Vida… Es Un Ratico); “Gotas de Agua Dulce“ and “Me Enamora“. For these two performances I did something I’ve never done before at a concert which is record a performance. Words cannot express how much I love these two songs and the excitement I experienced once he played them. His lively, entertaining take on these two songs had me over the moon. He rocked hard on the guitar solos, especially during “Gotas de Agua Dulce“. I smiled ear to ear as these songs became alive right before my eyes. The level of energy he had that night is truly remarkable which felt me breathless at the end.
Following a brief intermission he returned on stage to deliver some more memorable performances. The first song for his encore included the duet he did with Juan Gabriel called “Querida“. Interestingly enough Juan Gabriel would pass away a little over a year in August of 2016. After “Rebelion“, the song I’ve been waiting all night for finally came started playing. Of course I’m talking about “La Camisa Negra“! This is the song that brought him into international success back in 2004. Whenever I mention Juanes to my parents their response is also the same, “ese es el uno que canta “La Camisa Negra“?” I recorded portions of this song the minute I heard the introduction. This track ranks among the best Spanish rock songs in my opinion. Seeing him that night sing the lyrics to this song is one of those rare moments that I’ll never forget. He followed with the energetic “La Luz“ later playing one of my favorite tracks of his discography “A Dios Le Pido“. Changing things up he performed the only English song that night which is Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved“. The reggae song fit well with the singer’s laid back, fun going attitude. He closed out the night with “La Noche“ and “Este Amor“, which he originally recorded with Cedric Gervasi. These were fitting songs to end such an extraordinary evening.
1. Mil Pedazos
2. Loco de Amor
3. Una Flor
5. Volverte a Ver
6. Para tu Amor
7. Es Por Ti
8. La Paga
11. Hoy Me Voy
12. Gotas de Agua Dulce
13. Me Enamora
16. La Camisa Negra
17. La Luz
18. A Dios Le Pido
19. Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley cover)
20. La Noche
21. Este Amor
1. Noche Especial
3. SOÑAR. CREER. REALIZAR
Miniondas Newspaper/Farándula USA Magazine. August 6, 2015. ““¡Buenas noches Costa Mesa!”: Juanes en O.C. Fair” by Luis Arritola.
- 1st concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre.
- 1st time seeing Juanes.
- 1st Colombian artist I’ve seen live in person.