Concert review: The Mavericks again energize Tower Theatre crowd
“Funny how an old song like that from the '40s is more relevant than it ever was,” said The Mavericks lead singer, Raul Malo, after a stirring rendition of “That's America to Me” before a packed Tower Theatre.
“All races and religions, that's America to me,” is part of the lyrics of the song first released by Frank Sinatra in 1945. Malo's parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba, and his solo of “That's America to Me” was a highlight of the group's two-hour-plus Aug. 31 concert.
It was just one highlight of many Friday night by the band that first made a splash in country music in the 1990s, then broke up and went their separate ways in 2004 before reuniting six years ago.
The group evidently has found a venue it likes in Oklahoma City, making a return visit to Tower Theatre.
“I love it has become a regular stop for us now,” Malo said of Tower Theatre.
Fans in Oklahoma City love it, too. It's hard to imagine a band that puts on a better show than The Mavericks, who seemed to have as much fun making music on this night in Oklahoma City as the crowd enjoyed dancing and singing along to it.
“That's America to Me,” the first song Malo performed as an encore after The Mavericks had already energized the audience for an hour and 20 minutes, was one of the few slow songs of the evening.
Malo, whose tenor is often compared to Roy Orbison, followed that with a classic country version of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” that would make Willie Nelson proud. Then the band returned to the stage and Tower Theatre turned back into “American Bandstand” for another hour of partying.
The Mavericks slipped in an occasional traditional country song like Ray Price's “Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me” during the evening and “Save the Last Dance for Me,” a song originally released as a rhythm and blues song by The Drifters but has been covered by country artists like Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris and Anne Murray.
But most of the evening was devoted to the songs of The Mavericks and the band's unique blend of country, Latin, Tex-Mex and rockabilly. The group began the show with hits “All Night Long” and “Summertime.”
Near the end of the night the group was keeping the crowd jumping to old hits "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down and new ones like “Damned (If You Do)” and “Rolling Along,” both from their most recent album, “Brand New Day.”
The Oklahoma City show was sort of a homecoming for keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden, who grew up in Texas and Oklahoma, and was introduced by Malo as being from Moore.
McFadden, wearing a pink and white striped seersucker suit, seemed to be a favorite of a group of ladies from Fayetteville, Arkansas, who drove to Oklahoma City that day to be first in line for general admission tickets, three hours before the concert began.
They took turns between standing in line and going next door to Ponyboy for a refreshment to ensure they would be as close to the stage as possible.
Their efforts were not wasted. By the time The Mavericks closed with Paul McCartney's "Back in the U.S.S.R.," the band had made sure that the visitors from Arkansas and everyone else in the Tower Theatre audience had gotten their money's worth.
— Ed Godfrey, The Oklahoman