A few thoughts on the Mavericks’ outstanding concert Friday night at the State Theatre in Minneapolis as part of their 30th anniversary tour.
- Lead singer Raul Malo made it clear that the band’s music can't be pigeonholed. Here is the Q&A he conducted with himself. Your friends ask: Who did you see? Answer: “The Mavericks.” Friend: Who the hell is that? What kind of music do they play? “Aw, bleep.” I’d categorize it as great music, a mix of pre-Beatles rock and pop with lots of Latin influences.
- Since they reunited in 2012 after an eight-year hiatus, I’ve dubbed the Mavericks America’s greatest live dance band. For two hours on Friday, they excited a full house of baby boomers in the same way Lizzo did with a younger generation a few blocks away at the Armory in downtown Minneapolis. Even if you're dance-challenged, it’s hard to resist moving your hips, feet or arms to the infectious rhythms of the Mavericks whether the vibe is Mexican, tango, R&B, rock, blues, country, western swing or unclassifiable.
- Flashy guitarist Eddie Perez took a back seat when it came to solos this time around, but the solo spotlight shined on suave, hammy and inspiring accordionist Michael Guerra.
- Malo, 54, was in fine voice, showcasing his soaring Orbison highs (and growls), Elvis-like hiccups and Louie Armstrong-ish scatting.
- The peppy opener with sad lyrics “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” the breathtaking acoustic “O What a Thrill,” and the Western swing with mariachi horns “There Goes My Heart” were favorites, as usual. But it was the covers that were the highlights: “Blue Moon” with Malo as a one-man doo wop group; Freddy Fender’s country chestnut “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” with words in both English and Spanish; John Anderson’s country classic “Swingin’,” reimagined as a swinging R&B tune with horns, and Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” funked up with Memphis-like horns and mashed up with Dave Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright” and Aretha’s “Respect.”