North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh
Saturday, August 29, 2015
The Mavericks took the stage at the North Carolina Museum of Art as dusk approached and the final fireflies of the summer circled overhead. From the opening notes of the tango-inducing “All Night Long,” just as the sun began to set, lead singer Raul Malo’s voice thundered through the breezy amphitheater
The group kicked off with a handful of numbers from their upbeat latest, Mono. Malo quickly instructed the packed crowd on the lawn to come to the front of the stage to dance. By the third song, “Stories We Could Tell,” much of the audience obliged, standing up front for the remainder of the performance. The group slowed it down just as the moon began to emerge from the clouds, delivering an appropriate and soaring version of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” With Malo’s vocals paired with flickering accents from Michael Guerra on accordion, the song and setting made for a memorable moment.
A short time later, the group took a break, with Malo playing a handful of solo tunes, beginning with the Cuban traditional number, “Siboney.” “I never thought that in my lifetime that I’d see the American flag raised in Havana,” Malo said. “Regardless of where the opinions lay, it’s pretty momentous. And I never thought my dad would get to see that, either, and I’m really thrilled he has.” The crowd got quiet. Presenting a beautiful version of a song that has roots back to Cuba in the early ’20s, Malo hit all the high notes with ease, accompanied only by the faint pluck of acoustic guitar.
The group concluded with a string of earlier hits like “Dance the Night Away,” the bellowing “Come Unto Me” and the classic Flaco Jiménez collaboration “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down.” With Malo’s nieces joining him on stage for the final number, The Mavericks ended with the same high energy as on the first note of the evening.
The Mavericks, “All Night Long” and “Summertime (When I’m With You)”
The Mavericks, “As Long As There’s Loving Tonight”