Better than ... Britney Spears at Staples Center. Seriously, though. With this round of concert dates Maná has now surpassed Brit's record for appearances there. Staples even held an official press conference about it.
But let's talk about the show.
Ultra huge Mexican pop rockers Maná can bring it. Hell, we were totally floored -- along with the screaming crowd -- by the booming, big-haired, broad-bellied Fher Olvera when he and his crew swept through L.A. on the first leg of their Drama y Luz tour last June. So, naturally, we had high expectations for round two. But things were a bit uneven.
It was nothing big poppa Olvera couldn't shake off, and most of the mesmerized crowd probably didn't notice anything amiss. But we felt there was a certain darkness to the evening, that raw edge that starts to show after a band's been on the road for nearly a year straight.
Olvera was resigned and contemplative at first. Several times he raised one hand in the air and closed his eyes for dramatic effect. Girls in the crowd held each other and sang along solemnly. Grown men mouthed the words with furrowed brows. And when Olvera held his mic out to the floor and waved his hands like a choir director, the response was uncharacteristically muted.
Even a surprise appearance by celebrated Spanish rocker Enrique Bunbury -- who duetted with Olvera on "El Dragón" -- couldn't rouse our section's front row out of their seats.
But these guys are old pros. After somber renditions of "Vuela Libre Paloma" and "Bendita Tu Luz," one roadie handed Olvera a bottle of tequila -- the legit stuff, straight from Jalisco. He tipped the bottom up and downed half of it, and a strange sort of chaos ensued.