For more than 30 years, Café Tacvba Oficial has played the soundtrack to my life. I discovered them one lazy Sunday while watching Siempre en Domingo with my mom back in 1992 (-ish). I know it was before 1993 because I was still in high school and living at home watching tv with my mom. They were rockin’ live from outside Bellas Artes in Mexico D.F. The lead singer, Ruben, had long dreadlocks that he fanned back and forth while he sang with such energy. My mom’s favorite song is “Maria” by the way. After loving Latin pop for most of my childhood, Cafe reinvigorated my love of music and drove my thirst for eclectic and innovative musicians. The bar was set and it was high.
I moved from Texas to Los Angeles in the fall of 1993 for school and that is were I met a cohort of like-minded Mexican kids that also had a love for Rock en Español, but they were more into Maná and soft rock. Once I played some of that Re album I had new converts and Tacvba fans. My first time seeing them was at a Latin night club in Anaheim, CA called J.C. Fandango. We got in early and I had my Re album autographed by all except one, the one with the attitude. Yeah, I was totally bummed he was unapproachable but Ruben and Quique were real cool and chill. Who knew that red album would be legendary. Last year, they toured and played the entire album from start to finish. I caught that show at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio. This year, they skipped my town so I drove my friend and I up to Austin and barely made it on a Tuesday night. I wasn’t going to miss their 30th Anniversary!
Next week, they play my favorite venue, the Hollywood Bowl. I’ve been putting it out to the universe to manifest this concert for me. I don’t know how I could possibly afford the plane ticket and concert ticket and I will be devastated to miss my favorite band in the whole word performing at my favorite venue in the whole world but such is life!
Their concerts are like going to church. I get this natural high when they strike that first chord that is so unique to them. I was out in the lobby buying their overpriced t-shirt when I heard the chord chime through the dark and heavy double doors. The little old lady selling merch couldn’t move slower! But I was real polite and got my black tee with their beautiful faces on it and the concert line-up on the back, including that coveted Hollywood Bowl date. Sigh. One of my favorite memories was them playing “Olita de Altamar” at Lady Bird Lake at SXSW. It was a free outdoor concert and the wind was blowing, Ruben was dressed like a chicken and I was in heaven. I said it before but that’s the song I want played at my funeral. In fact, just play all their albums cover to cover. That is how I want to go out.
So many favorite songs to list. Last night they did a cover of “Gracias a la Vida” by Mercedes Sosa. Not sure if she wrote it but she is the epic voice of that song, and Ruben sang it beautifully. “Ojala Que Llueva Cafe” is another beautiful cover. So many songs about mother earth and saving her. Ruben also spoke out about women’s rights and equality. He spoke out against the burning of the Amazon and how environmental activists are being murdered. What’s not to love about a band that reaches millions of fans and makes sure to take a political stance against what is hurting us as living beings.
The only thing that rubs me wrong is that some fans are all about the popular tunes. Everyone was hyped up for their romantic ballad “Eres”. All the couples were cuddled up, making out, and feeling each other up, no shame I tell ya. They shout out the only tune they know and revert to old soccer chants, you know which one I’m talking about. Have they not evolved along with the band? If you are a true Tacvba fan you should be worried about the environment and social justice. Ruben did a good 20 minute speech about all the crap we are facing as humanity. Did anyone listen? I wish there was a way to further engage their audience to activate and take a stand, like if you buy a concert ticket, you must plant a tree or help an elder. That would be epic.
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