On the day of his death, on the bedside table, Paco deLucia had a book Charles Dickens. Evening readings, stories of ghosts who visit the living to play with them or settle pending accounts. The spirit of the guitarist is still active, which is why his foundation and his record company invited him to a tribute held on Saturday July 30 at the Teatro Real in Madrid. they titled it Infinitethat is to say without limits, a perfect title for the interpreter, but not for the concert, which was eternal: it seemed to have neither beginning nor end.
In three and a half hours, more than 30 artists (almost all worked with him) played between video and video interviews with De Lucía. They served to separate the performances thematically and that is why, after listening to him talk about how much he loved cante, Miguel Poveda appeared. The Catalan threw the rest in the first issinging to the dry stick, arrive at a mixed so on your line. There is no doubt that Poveda is the most recognized cantaor today, nor that he is not like Shrimp nor to the cantaores and cantaoras that the recipient preferred. Where were Duquende, Potito or La Tana? Hoarse-voiced gypsy artists, shrimp herders, who were favorites of the one in Algeciras. The organization has already warned that the date was wrong because of summer tours, but it’s hard to believe they didn’t come to honor Paco de Lucía.
Al di Meola and John Mclaughlin were there and entertained guitar fans by playing with the winner’s nephew, Antonio Sánchez, a Mediterranean Sundance I would have liked it to last all night, because the concert was little for those who like the sonanta. Niño Josele, Antonio Rey or Josemi Carmona were there and did well (huge accompaniment fado singer Mariza), but Paco de Lucía, who never feared competition, played four hands with Manolo Sanlúcar or Juan Manuel Cañizares during his lifetime and even with a kid aspiring to surpass him in curiosity and in the lead, Dani de Morón. None, despite his level, was on this stage.
The tribute itself was odd: it was part of the Universal Music Festival, but it wasn’t celebrating a round date or the release of a new album. And it got weirder when Pepe de Lucía offered a side show. When Jorge Pardo appeared blowing his flute to summon Rubem Dantas, Carles Benavent, Niño Josele and Tino de Geraldo, it was the first time the emotion of a tribute was felt. Two minutes of glory, of a return of the first group to the past but without nostalgia and with freshness. Until Pepe de Lucía appears, dressed in black, to destroy “Solo Quiero Camina”, these almost hymn tangos, and disconcert his companions by giving orders in such a bad tone that he sings. The rest of the gang took him to safety and in the end they even kissed him. Paco de Lucía’s brother never came out, not even when the first group joined the second on stage: the one formed by the harmonicist Antonio Serrano, the cantaor Rubio de Pruna, the bailaor Farru… To all of them, without Pepe, they managed to dilute the bad vibes, especially when Benavent got involved between the waters, this blow that is never relevant. And the protagonist was once again Paco de Lucía.
Farruquito is perhaps the one who understood best what a tribute is, the only one capable of filling a huge and sometimes soulless stage, composing his own lyrics for Paco de Lucía and dancing to alegrías, celebrating it . Another baillaor added creativity to the night with a minimalist number, Joaquín Grilo. He didn’t want musicians, only Paco played for him Mary of the O to deploy all his repertoire of movements, his comic side, his enormous talent of Jerez which has never been sufficiently recognized.
The rest, more or less the same: a Sara Baras much applauded; nail Pastori Girl sing the copla I must love you as long as I live or a video by Alejandro Sanz to convey a message: “Paco was a genius”. Quite in line with a concert he had photo call and celebrity admission. Nothing to do with that of 1975 in which Paco de Lucía performed on this same stage, opening the doors of the Teatro Real to jondo and its artists. Thus, said the chronicles, there were quite a few hippies, and Paco de Lucía had to show that flamenco was a rich and complex music, at the height of any other and on any stage. So the aspiration was to gain access to major theatres, to also stop being music for minorities. Today, how to be there without being diluted.
The end of the party was sad. The stars, with the exception of Sara Baras, did not come out and there were two empty chairs: that of Paco de Lucía, where a guitar was placed, and that of his brother Pepe, who did not even come out to say goodbye. didn’t ring the bell Continent Continent King Kong big occasions and hardly anyone smiled on the stage. There were great musicians, some sticking to the paperwork and others (the Farruco brothers and the guitarist’s first band, among others) dedicated to the cause, but the spirit of Paco de Lucía was barely perceptible. For him, however, it is always a pleasure to see it even if it is on video with words and faketas heard a thousand times. How about this tribute? We don’t know, but he would surely have made it eternal in another way. For example, selecting it, starting it and ending it more carefully. He has always done so, even with the Dickens book he left as his last reading on his bedside table and which ends thus: “His star has shone; and still shines on his grave. Good summary of a concert where the best, without being there and without playing, was still him.
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