What is a reasonable expectation of a merengue concert for a staunch and incorrigible rock and roller? Well, this staunch and incorrigible rock and roller had to dig deep into his past growing up in Latin America to muster up the strength to keep up with his gringa lady friend who was clearly inspired by the energy of the music to dance along. Try taking notes down you can read later while booty shaking's going on inches from your nose.
Elvis Crespo brought his energetic and frenzied live show to the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino this past Saturday and he had a full house dancing and singing along. Even this staunch and incorrigible rock and roller had to get up a couple of times and menear su culito.
Backed by a thirteen-piece bands that included the usual accoutrements of said music (keyboards, bass, horns, percussion, and backup singers and dancers), Crespo was as animated onstage as the music was infectious. Numerous times, he climbed down on the lighting rigs to interact with the crowd, shake hands, and kiss the ladies. The sound was spot-on and the crowd responded enthusiastically.
Digging into his extensive repertoire of songs, Crespo was continuously asked by the audience for his 1998 smash hit, "Suavemente," which he jovially responded to on many occasions that "si canto 'Suavemente' ustedes se van pa'l casino, esa la dejo de ultima." Funny, but ultimately his own fault for asking for requests. Given the amount of people he gave shout-outs to, it's safe to assume that he knows everybody there and their tias.
A cool instance was when he greeted the Crespos of South Florida, which are apparently all related to him, and the Peruvians in the crowd which he then included on the following song as an adlibbed chorus "quiero ceviche!" Which made me hungry.
His latest single, "Yo No Soy Un Monstruo" was met well by the crowd and the singer seemed to enjoy himself immensely with this track -- a performer at the top of his game and a song he credited to bringing him back into the spotlight.
Regardless, the band performed what seemed like extended jams of the songs, which was cool because they transcended from the "party" aspect of merengue music into the arena of excellent instrumentation; you'd be a corpse thrice dead to not move to their beat.
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And in the end, he delivered on his promise by asking the crowd "¿saben como yo besaría a todas estas mujeres?" To which the crowd responded with: "SUAVEMENTE!" This grew into a long call and response jam in which he pitted the boys against the girls (of course the ladies won) in sing-alongs and dancing before they encored with "Pegaíto Suavecito" which got even the last motionless strongholds of the crowd moving. That included security and ushers.
A fitting end to a high energy performance and a testament to his craft, that while many had written him off as a '90s one-hit-wonder, Elvis Crespo proved that he's here, he's not a monster, and he's gonna get you moving. Whether your staunch and incorrigible rock and rollness says otherwise and you have no crazy gringa lady friend to poke at you while you take notes.
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