Honda Center, Anaheim
Click here to see our Caifanes photo slideshow.
Blaring guitar riffs, classic ballads, soulful saxophone solos, nostalgic keytar melodies and high-strung vocals all backed by an arena choir. Caifanes stormed into the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday night, but on their fans' terms. Set to hit the stage at 8 p.m. sharp, anxious fans took to the beer carts and blocked all concourse halls, while attendees had fight though the lines just to access their seats. After numerous amounts of taps ran dry, Caifanes was finally cleared at 8:40 p.m.
Here's the paragraph history for you gabachos: In the late 80's, Caifanes ripped away from Mexican social standards, as they dressed in all black, wore makeup and frontman Saul Hernandez displayed Robert Smith-esque hair while fronting a group that was Mexico's hybrid of poppier Led Zeppelin dressed like the Cure. After tension between Hernandez and guitarist Alejandro Marcovich tore apart the rockeros in 1995 (and Hernandez and the rest of the group went on to form Jaguares), they now see eye to eye and reunited in 2011 at Coachella. Caifanes made it a point that their rock en español outreach was not to be stopped. In an earlier interview with the Weekly, Hernandez preached that their fans are an ally that brings not only every culture, but every language together as one, pointing out, " all the world listens to music in English."
Not being of Mexican decent or even knowing a phrase of español, Hernandez and Caifanes proved this American wrong, when he stated "the future is that people jump to the other side." When first arriving, I noticed a half-empty nosebleed section of the Honda Center, indicating that the Caifanes fans left their seats to sneak into the better sections..
On this night, the seats were lonely because of the SRO crowd, and If you weren't singing, there was no place for you in this choir. Whenever Hernandez raised his hand, the crowd yelled in praise. The sea of people wearing Caifanes shirts, free-falling 1990's-era rock hair and jean jackets turned into a tsunami set to destruct. With Caifanes flags and Mexican flags raised high, index and pinkies pointed to the sky, you would have thought the late, legendary JC Fandango returned from the dead.
Though the aging Hernandez sounded a bit off when hitting high notes, he still led his army of fans on a journey revisiting Caifanes' career. At times, Diego Herrera dislodged from his keyboard and jazz'd away on a saxophone or broke off on a tangent with his keytar.
The lights changed with every mood on every song. At times the mixture of blue and white illuminated Caifanes as the titans of rock en español (suck on it, Maná). During each ballad, middle-aged couples to high school sweethearts found love, as they made out under the lights. Grown men paraded down the isles with arms around each others' shoulders, as if they were kids again. I don't know how it was done, but with floor seats in place, a mosh pit erupted. Did security stop them? Of course not: it was a Caifanes concert. Young and old, raging fans raced to join their fellow brethren to jam out to their favorite classics.
Saturday night was a testimony of Caifanes' original statement of wanting to break down language barriers through music. On this night, the fans spoke and in turn showed Hernandez and Marcovich made the right career decision. By settling their differences, Caifanes lives and is back rocking arenas around North America.
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Without knowing a word Saul Hernandez was saying, Caifanes spoke to me though the language of music. It was proof that music is the ultimate voice in this world.
Half of SanTana, from Middle-aged couples to teenage angst headbangers.
Random Notebook Dump
I wish I had known what Caifanes was singing.