@ranch0cucamanga finally sent me his review of Thalia’s concert in Houston, I can’t find words good enough to describe it, just read it, I’m sure you’re all going to LOVE it!
Thank you, L!
Fleeting & Ephemeral
How long is the trip from Dallas to Houston, Texas? Nine years. Nine long, arduous years.
Almost a decade had passed since the first—and last—time I had seen Thalia live in concert. Therefore, the four-hour car ride to Houston on Saturday, March 30, was filled with anxiety, nervousness, fear, giddiness. The 2004 San Antonio stop of her High Voltage Tour had been a dizzying, metaphorically drunken experience. This time around, I wanted to savor each moment, live each song, partake in Thalia’s new-found growth and confidence as an artist. Therefore, I made the conscious decision: live in the moment, not on my iPhone. I would take few pictures and videos, and remain firmly in the present.
My sister and I arrived in Houston around 4:00 pm. We went straight to the venue, the Arena Theatre, because I wanted to know exactly where the concert would be and how to get there easily. I refused to get lost at the very last minute. She had made arrangements with two of her friends who had agreed to host us for the weekend. While at the theatre, she decides she wants to check to see if there are still tickets available. “It be nice to invite our hosts to come along, no?” she suggests.
On our way to the box office, I see a big truck outside that seems to carry a lot of electrical equipment with the words “New York” on the side. “That must be Thalia’s truck!” I loudly point out. “I have to take a picture.” My sister rolls her eyes.
As we get closer to the box office, I notice that a couple of guys are taking pictures with a blonde girl who’s talking on her cell phone while they snap photos of her.
“Mari, Mari,” I grab my sister who cluelessly walks on. “Is that chick somebody famous?”
“Who? That? No. It must be some local reporter.’
“Mari, it’s “la Pequeňa Traviesa!”
“Michelle Vieth! From Mi Pequeňa Traviesa!”
Some might not remember that Mexican telenovela, but I do. I have a vivid memory of spending the summer of 1998 in Mexico with my grandparents, bored out of my mind and watching that silly soap opera.
As I start to approach her, Michelle walks away, continuing to talk on her cell. Oh well. Whatever. My sister and I make it to the box office, which had a considerable amount of people trying to get last minute tickets. We ask for two tickets close to our section and row.
“You’re in luck,” the box office attendant smiled. “The show is almost completely sold out.” I smile, pleased to hear that. Walking out of the box office lobby, we encounter Michelle Vieth once again. I warn my sister that she needs to get ready.
“Michelle, Michelle! Can I get a photo? I’m a big fan,” I lie. Then I start to sing to her the theme show of the telenovela, which was sung by the teen group OV7 back in the day.
“Of course,” she smiles graciously, embarrassed by my singing and the people around us who are staring in incredulity of my singing.
“Thank you. I hope you enjoy the show.” I say.
“Well, if I can get tickets! It’s almost sold out.” We walk away, and she enters the box office lobby.
“That’s Michelle Vieth?” my sister asks snarlingly on our way out. “What happened to her? She looks deathly skinny. And no make-up! I have better skin than her.”
“Of course you do,” I lie. “Let’s go.’
After that, we arrive at our hosts’ house, have a quick dinner, and change. I warn everyone that I don’t want to arrive later than 7:30 pm. I can’t risk the chance of getting stuck in traffic, and I’d read reports from Chicago and Los Angeles that all of Thalia’s previous concerts had started shortly after 8:00 pm.
We arrive at the theater approximately at 7:45. I walk past the merchandise table but decide to wait until after the show to buy my Thalia coffee mug. As we walk through the metal detectors, I notice that there are dozens of people picking up tickets and attempting to still buy some. We walk into the theatre, and my sister and I say goodbye to our friends whose seats were fairly in the back. Thankfully, the theatre in-the-round is fairly small and cozy; every seat has a great view of the stage. However, by the time we get to our seat, I’m disconcerted by two things: 1) we seem to be behind the stage, with all of the instruments in front of us and Thalia’s chair and microphone on the other side of the theatre. I’m furious. I had methodically chosen tickets front and center! 2) the theatre is maybe half full, and the empty seats are quite noticeable. It’s now 7:55. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
After ten minutes, I decide to go to the bathroom. I have a small bladder and don’t want to have to go during the show. On my way, I stop to talk to a theatre staff member. I ask about the seating situation. He, very amiably, explains that the stage rotates, so everyone gets to see the performer well at some point during the show. I’m somewhat relieved but not completely satisfied. I return to my seat. I continue being nervous. Still nothing. It is now 8:25. I look around. An interesting mix—young professionals, couples, singles, parents with children, teens, abuelitos—comprise the giddy crowd. I decide to go out and buy my coffee mug. When I arrive a the merchandise table, I wait for a pudgy guy who wants to try every single T-shirt being sold in every XL and XXL size. I start shuffling impatiently. The pudgy fan notices. I don’t care. He finally buys one. I get to the front.
“Two coffee mugs, please,” I request gleefully with my credit card in hand.
“Sorry. Cash only.”
“Are you kidding me?” I growl.
“There’s an ATM around the corner, down the hallway.”
I run. I run like Forest Gump. I’m praying the concert doesn’t start. I make it back to the table, get my cups—one for me, one for my sister—and go back inside. As I’m walking down the aisle, I stop a few rows before my seat. A large crowd has gathered smack in the middle of the aisle.
“What the hell is going on?” I, incredibly annoyed, ask a girl next to me.
“It’s Michelle Vieth. The telenovela actress!” she squeals.
“Seriously,” I roll my eyes. “Been there, done that.”
I push my way through the mob and finally make it to my seat.
“Long line.” I explain to my sister who takes the merchandise and puts it in her purse. The mob behind us gets larger and larger. Everybody and their dog wants a picture with Michelle Vieth who is now all glamorous and sexy in a skin-tight dress and looks nothing like the sweaty gym rat with whom I took a photo earlier.
“It’s Paulina Rubio,” I yell out. The people around me chuckle.
And suddenly, at 8:45, the lights go out. The crowd immediately becomes ecstatic. We all stand up. Where will Thalia appear?
I notice—somewhat across the theatre—that a row of security guards has formed along one aisle leading to the stage. “Over there,” I point it out to my sister. “She’s entering over there.” Instantly, I hear screams—joyous shrieks. I can’t quite see her—until she steps onto the stage. I’m blinded. She is mesmerizing. Wearing skin-tight brown leather pants, knee-high brown leather boots, and a blue and purple glittery tank top, Thalia zips through “Atmosfera.” She’s absolutely dazzling. Many have stated how much more beautiful Thalia is in real-life than on television, but all have failed in their attempts to describe her. I’m sure I’ll fail as well. In person, she’s ethereal, not quite human. I was in a trance. I manage to look around the theatre to try and take it all in; the 2,730 seat venue is now busting at the seams.
The concert’s set list, much shorter than those in Chicago and Los Angeles to my disappointment, goes something like this:
- “Que sera de ti?”
- “Habitame Siempre”
- “Novela Medley: Quincianera/Rosalinda/Marimar/Maria la del Barrio”
- “Ensename a Vivir”
- “Estoy Enamorado” with Bobby Pulido
- “Amor Prohibido”
- “Exitos Medley: No me ensenaste/Tu y yo/Entre el mar y una estrella/Piel Morena/Amor a la Mexicana”
- “Seduccion/A quien le importa?/Arrasando”
When she sang “Habitame Siempre,” it was magical. Her voice beautifully filled the dark and dingy theatre which didn’t seem suitable for her grandness. I’m not going to lie: I teared up a bit while she sang it. The novela medley got the crowd on its feet, and afterward Thalia had a wardrobe change. She had to squeeze behind the musicians and climb down, behind the stage, to a changing area underneath. When she arose to sing “Manias,” she reappeared onstage wearing a long, Grecian style, lime-green dress. The audience let out a collective gasp. She was every bit the Greek muse, exiled from Mount Olympus. After a shortened version of “Ensename a Vivir,” which did not include the “Como” intro like on the previous tour stops and the Habitame Siempre television concert, she had another wardrobe change. She returned to the stage wearing black motorcycle style boots, jeans, a white t-shirt, and a short, black leather jacket. Bobby Pulido, the Tejano singer, promptly joined her onstage to sing “Estoy Enamorado.” It was not the bachata version that she had been singing; it was more of an uptempo Tejano ballad arrangement. I don’t like Bobby Pulido, and I don’t like Tejano music, so that should tell you all of my feelings about that.
She then transitioned into her cover of Selena’s “Amor Prohibido,” the only full-length song she sang from El Sexto Sentido, which frankly seemed like a tragedy to me. That album is replete with amazing, original songs. That was followed by Ricardo Arjona’s “Mujeres.” It was probably the least, well-received song by the audience. Later, after the show, my sister would ask: “Why did she sing that Arjona song?” My response: “I have no idea.”
Unexpectedly, the “Hits Medley” began to sound: “No Me Ensenaste,” “Tu y Yo,” “Piel Morena,” “Entre el Mar y Una Estrella,” all came at rapid speed. It was amazing but extremely worrisome. It’s the end? Already? I asked myself. “Amor a la Mexicana” ignited the crowd like never before. Everyone was on their feet dancing. The trumpets, her traditional dancing, the furor of the crowd, all converged to form a visceral energy—one of the show’s high points.
Afterward, she left the stage to change once more. We all knew she’d return. And she did with what’s come to be known as the “Party Medley.” One of my favorite songs has always been “Seduccion,” so I was delighted that she sang it live. I was jumping up and down like a maniac. Then, “A Quien Le Importa?” sent the already dizzy crowd into a frenzy. Thalia sang this with a relentless joy and zest for life. It was amazing to witness it. But. But! There was still a little more. When the first notes of “Arrasando” started to play, the crowd went hysterical. Thalia transformed into a hurricane onstage. She moved and danced and swirled frantically and gracefully. I have rarely—if ever—seen her so transfixed during a performance. It was unbelievable.
And after the storm, the calmness comes. She disappears and runs up the aisle from whence she came. The lights go up, and the crowd begins to get up. It’s over? I keep asking myself, drunk with emotions. It’s over. My sister and I reunite with our friends. They talk incessantly about how gorgeous Thalia looked, about her energy, about how fun it was. But I remain in a daze, exhilarated. Days I remain in this daze.
It wasn’t enough. It was all so fleeting.
But when it comes to everything Thalia-related, it’s always all so fleeting and ephemeral. She’s not human. More than ever, I’m convinced she’s not human. She’s a Greek muse, in search of a way back to Mount Olympus.
Favorite moment: the encore.
The “Seduccion”-”A Quien Le Importa?”-”Arrasando” medley was the perfect conclusion. And oh! How she moves!
Least favorite moment: all of the covers.
“Amor Prohibido,” seriously? I know she was was in Texas and was trying to connect with Texan fans, but not all of us who live in Texas adore Selena. There I said it. “Mujeres,”? Was that necessary? With so many great original songs in her repertoire, Thalia had plenty of options: “Amar Sin Ser Amada,” “Regresa a Mi,” Solo Se Vive Una Vez,” or “Por Amor” would all have been great choices.
Also, what’s up with the omission of “Munequita Linda” and ‘Te Perdiste Mi Amor”? The former is one of my favorites from Habitame Siempre! Later my sister would remark about the latter: “What happened to the Prince Royce song? I like that one.” That’s what I’d like to know.
On the bright side: there are rumors that Thalia will return to Texas in June. Here’s hoping that’s true and that I get to see her again.
I want to “vivir” the Viva Tour once more. Just once more.