Fania All Stars and Salsa Fan Expectations

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Salsa music legendary group, the Fania All Stars began a “farewell tour” yesterday in Puerto Rico. How was the concert? Most people liked it, although I believe it’s really relative to each Salsa fan expectations.

Historic Salsa Music Reunion

Whenever you gather a good number of some of the biggest names in Salsa music, it has to be an historic reunion. These artists helped popularize Salsa music around the world more than 40 years ago. They are/were some of the best in the genre and it’s historic to bring so many of them back together.

Now they are old and a few of the principals have passed away. A few notables that were missing were Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Papo Lucca, Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, Ruben Blades, and Justo Betancourt. We know Ismael Quintana has health issues. Except for Ruben and Justo, all the others live in Puerto Rico, so I wonder why they weren’t there! Ruben Blades probably didn’t want to be there if Willie Colon would be. I don’t blame him!

Mixed Feelings of this Fania All Stars

The Fania All Stars concert was well conceived and the music was well rehearsed as it had good musicality. Some singers still have strong voices, like Ismael Miranda and Adalberto Santiago. The sang the classics that we all love. Some of the good old Salsa dura that made us love Salsa music. However, the whole show cadence doesn’t have the same “chemistry” as before.

It seems to me as if this is a Salsa music “tourist attraction”! You know, like when you go somewhere on vacation and take a Grey Line bus tour of the city. They show you the main places of the city one by one. You get to see a lot, but that doesn’t give you a good sense of the city.

The Fania All Stars performed in Puerto Rico to excite Salsa fan.
The Fania All Stars performed in Puerto Rico, but they rarely appear all together on stage.

The latest Fania concerts include most of the available musicians and singers. But like it just happened in Puerto Rico, you don’t get to see them all on stage at once, until the last song for “Quitate Tu”.

Because the singers are not all on stage, now they bring 3 additional singers just to do coro. Before, all the singers participated in the coro. You would see Hector Lavoe, Ismael Miranda, and Santos Colon in one microphone, and in another microphone see Pete “El Conde”, Adalberto Santiago, and Ismael Quintana.

Since the singers were all on stage, they would do comments on the songs, or during the solos, and create a more “cozy” and festive atmosphere. Now its all seems so structured, and perhaps a bit more artificial.

I can almost imagine a Grey Line bus tour guide describing the concert….”and to your right you can see Adalberto Santiago, who used to sing with Ray Barretto and is singing “Quitate La Mascara”. Coming up next on your left you will see Cheo Feliciano, who sang with Joe Cuba and will perform “El Raton”. Two great monuments of Salsa music.”

Good Farewell for the Fania All Stars

Even if the show doesn’t have a the same feel as it used to, it’s good that the remaining members of the Fania All Stars decided to get together in one last “farewell” tour. La Fania provided us with great songs and memories that marked some of the best times of Salsa music. They deserve a curtain call to say “thanks for the music and the memories”!

 

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