Fania All-Stars at Madison Square Garden
Saturday, October 23rd, 1999
By: Larry Harlow
Nov 1, 1999
The doors opened at Madison Square Garden at 8 pm. House music, mostly RMM
product played thru the PA system....There was much anticipation in the air
as the 17,000 paid customers looked for their seats. The stage was huge.
Four levels high and about 50 ft across with black and white curtains as
backdrops and two huge TV screens on each side of the stage high in the air.
The sound system was the best possible. Marc Faron and wife, Nancy Kassim, are
the best stage managers in the concert business and have been doing the
and RMM shows for years. Jon Fausty, one of the best Latin Sound Engineers,
was doing the house PA and Rolando was on the stage monitors, making sure
the musicians could hear themselves as they wish. The pyro/explosives were
in place and all waited for the show to start..
New things were supposed to take place such as Domingo Quiñones'
to Hector Lavoe, Junior Gonzalez with Larry Harlow(replacing a missing
Ismael Miranda), Ruben Blades for the first time in 15 years and a duet
Ruben and Willie Colon. The great Celia Cruz and Oscar D'León joining in
with La Fania. Everyone waited. The air was full of excitement...
The time had come for Oscar D'León to open the show with a very large
orchestra and he did not disappoint us. He is a true showman and a great
sonero. He held the crowd in the palm of his hand and his 40 min set set
the tone for what was to follow. The videos that were shown during the set
changes were very well done and time passed quickly until Izzy Sanabria
started with his SALLLLLLLL-----SAAAAAAAA chants and warmed up the crowd.
The time was here...The members of Fania were introduced one by one. First,
with the brass then Yomo, Nicky, Harlow, and the singers then Bobby Valentin,
Papo, Roena and Pacheco. With everyone on stage, a video Homenaje to Jerry
Masuccicame on the screens, the band watched from the stage for 5 minutes.
Then the introduction...Ladies and Gentlemen...the Greatest Latin Band in
world...The Fania All Stars...and with that the fireworks literally started
with explosions and sparklers going off and the first chord to "Descarga
Adalberto santiago sang lead with Barretto and Nicky taking percussion
solos. Next up was the Cuban song "Sandunguera" from the last Fania CD
Bravo. With Adalberto vocalizing and Pupi Legaretta soloing along
throughout.....Adalberto and Ray Brarretto did their famous duet on
La Mascara" as the crowd started to warm up. Next on the block was Ismael
Quintana, a true gentleman, lookin good in his new suit and tie. His
rendition of "Piano man" with Papo Lucca's scalding piano solo picked
everyone up a notch. Then the classics "Puerto Rico and Adoracion" with a
Roena solo and the dancers doing a beautifuly choreographed rendition of
these songs...Then appeared Larry Harlow, in a bright Green sequenced
with a long green feather boa, entertaining the crowd with a smoking piano
solo on "La Cartera" for the first time performed by Fania and Junior
Gonzalez , who originally recorded it with Harlow in 1973. Pupi took a
wonderful violin solo also the dancers being prepared with a wonderful
rendition of the classic tune by Arsenio Rodriguez.
Next up was Pete el Conde Rodriguez, of course doing "Catalina la O."
Seems he never gets a chance to do something different. Domingo Quiñones
appeared just after Pete with a newly arranged medley of Hector Lavoe
songs, for he is starring in the off Broadway show "¿Who Killed Hector Lavoe?,"
including "Rey de la Puntulidad", "El Cantante" and "Periodico de Ayer." His
hair dyed blonde and sounding exactly like the great one Hector. He sang
with a new confidence that he has never shown before.
Then entered el Malo, the man who the Daily News says will run against
Hillary...Willie Colon...and joined Domingo for some duets of "Que Bien te Ves"
and "Che Che Cole." Domingo then left the stage and Willie continued with
"Gitana" and "El Gran Varon," 2 of his huge exits of the past. Next came
Blades, with "Juan Pachanga" and "Sin tu Carino," he is one of the best
of the Salsa Era and we should have a chance to hear him more often but he
very busy with his Hollywood projects. Willie returned to the stage to join
Ruben and the Dancers in a wonderful rendition of "Pedro Navaja" where
Willie actually played the trombone.
The crooner appeared next...Cheo Feliciano doing "Busca lo Tuyo" and
all too famous, "Anacaona," with a torrid Larry Harlow piano solo.
La Reina came next in her silver gown and hat-hair piece. "Carnaval," a new
song with the All Stars, and of corse "Quimbara" set the crowd on its feet
once again...All the singers returned to the stage along with Oscar and
Domingo, Junior, Willie and Ruben for the finales of "Quitate Tu" with
Yomo doing his thing and then Luis Perico Ortiz' steaming solo on "Coro
Miyare" and "Ponte Duro" with Roberto Roena and his dancers paying tribute
Anibal Vasquez...The show lasted until almost 1am with Ralph Mercado
paying a huge sum of money for overtime in the Garden...He did not care and
the 17,000 fans went home full of joy and happiness...seeing THE SHOW OF
THE MILENIUM, SASLA CLASSICA.......Where is La Mega???? Where are they when
they should be there????
| What Legends Are Made Of - Fania All-Stars at Madison Square Garden - Saturday, October 23rd, 1999 (1999-11-01)
| Fania All-Stars Concert - Part 2 - Madison Square Garden, NYC - Saturday, October 23rd, 1999 (1999-10-30)
| Fania All-Stars Concert - Part 1 - Madison Square Garden, NYC - Saturday, October 23rd, 1999 (1999-10-30)