Alejandro Fernández wasnt on the stage during the most exciting moments of his concert Saturday night at the Sprint Center.
By BILL BROWNLEE
Special to The Star
The Mexican vocalist was changing his wardrobe at the conclusion of a breezy rendition of Si Tu Supieras when the nine-piece band that had backed him for the previous hour was replaced by an 11-piece mariachi orchestra.
Most members of the audience of about 4,000 greeted the transition with unchecked fervor. An already remarkable concert became unforgettable as gritos filled the air, Mexican flags waved and couples danced.
The three women who doubled as Fernándezs backing vocalists demonstrated their folkloric dancing techniques as the magnificent ensemble filled the arena with traditional sounds. The audience sang along to celebratory material like Matalas when Fernández returned to the stage in mariachi garb.
An astonishing variety of styles were performed Saturday, but the folk-based sounds resonated most deeply with Fernándezs fans. He also performed ranchera, pop and jazz during a performance that extended well beyond two hours.
A Spanish-language version of Nobody Knows You When Youre Down and Out was one of several selections that served as a loving tribute to the swing era. The jazz-themed material was intermingled with songs like Se Me Va La Voz, a state-of-the-art pop ditty reminiscent of Pink and Maroon 5.
The sophisticated Canta Corazon featured an excellent flamenco-tinged acoustic guitar solo and a dynamic Tower of Power-style contribution from the horn section.
The wide-ranging concert also contained a sublime acoustic segment, a rambunctious tribute to Fernándezs father, the legendary vocalist Vicente, and a massive jumble of sound when the musicians from both bands joined forces near the conclusion of the concert.
The elaborate production was enhanced by shifting backdrops, a superior light show and five video screens displaying both prerecorded and live images.
The dazzling bells and whistles probably went unnoticed by the singers most amorous fans. Fernández resembled a movie star on a red carpet as he blew kisses to his admirers, bestowed his handkerchief to a lucky fan and accepted gifts including a bouquet of flowers.
Although he was occasionally drowned out by the screams of his admirers, Fernándezs vocal versatility was as impressive as his good looks. He sang the pop and jazz material with light precision and switched to a full-throated technique on the mariachi selections.
His ability to transcend his repertoire is no less extraordinary. Fernándezs substantial charisma, excellent voice and command of a variety of styles allowed him to perform more than two dozen unabashedly romantic songs without ever seeming cloying.