There may not have been any live politicians at Mexican rockers Maná's concert at a packed AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday night. But with their get out the vote message and calls of "Latinos, for your rights!" the outspoken group, which has been rocking arena audiences across the Americas for two decades and across the United States on their current Latino Power Tour, made their intent clear. The show opened with loud boos for pictures of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, cheers for images of Democratic rival Hilary Clinton, and giant signs in Spanish proclaiming "You can choose" and "You are part of the change."
"Right now we're in a very important chapter in the story of this great country," Fher Olvera, the group's charismatic lead singer, told the cheering audience, a few blocks north of where Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and Gente de la Zona were rallying a crowd for Clinton. "Latinos have built and been part of this great country thanks to their work and their strength. So Latinos and Mexicans have to be respected. You know what I'm talking about." The audience booed loudly, and Olvera continued. "But that doesn't matter here. What matters is that you express your power by voting! Go out to vote for the party that isn't racist, that isn't violent."
Maná united that political message with their potent mix of tuneful power rock and emotional ballads, and a connection built through a quarter century of hits, for an emotional show that lasted nearly three hours. The concert often seemed like a giant sing-a-long, with the adoring audience erupting after the first few notes of everything from old favorites like the environmental anthem "Donde Jugaron Los Ninos?" (Where Will the Children Play) and "Mariposa Traicionera" (Treacherous Butterfly); a blistering version of "Corazón Espinado," their hit with Carlos Santana; to newer hits such as "Mi Verdad" (My Truth), a duet with Shakira, who appeared via video, and the exuberant new reggaeton-ized version of their 1992 song "De Pies a Cabeza" (From Foot to Head), with percussionist Hector Quintana doing a spirited substitution for Latin urban star and rapper Nicky Jam.
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The group, still centered on the original quartet of Olvera, guitarist Sergio Vallin, bassist Juan Calleros, and drummer Álex González (with Fernando Vallin adding extra guitar power), has kept its old school sound, with ferocious rock guitar solos, leavened by swaying reggae and sweetly plaintive melodies. There were no dancers, no gigantic moving sets. They brought on armless musician Mark Goffeney, who, astoundingly, plays guitar with his feet, to join them on the beloved ballad "Vivir Sin Aire" (Living Without Air). González (who is Cuban-American and from Miami), had the audience screaming for "Me Vale" (I'm Worth It), a howling anthem of individuality, then played a spectacular drum solo on a spiraling platform that rose high above the stage. An acoustic segment, on a small stage on the arena floor, featured a tribute to recently deceased Mexican idol Juan Gabriel, with the crowd ecstatically singing along for his "Se Me Olvido Otra Vez.
The finale had Maná boldly adapting Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" for their Latino power message. In the encore, for the swelling anthem "Rayando el Sol" (Dawn is Breaking), their very first hit, Olvera stood, arms lifted, amidst blinding sprays of light, the audience singing fervently along, as if he was summoning their power and embodying their longing, all at once.
Maná set list "Latino Power Tour" - Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena, October 29, 2016
Manda Una Señal
Oye Mi Amor
Como Te Deseo
Donde Jugaron Los Niños?
Vivir Sin Aire
De Pies a Cabeza
Acoustic Medley: El Reloj Cucu/Eres Mi Religion/No ha parado de llover/Se Me Olvido Otra Vez/ Bendita Tu Luz/En el Muelle de San Blas
Get Up, Stand Up
Rayando El Sol
Clavado En Un Bar