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Gig Review: Gipsy Kings, Mumbai

A full house at the NCPA grooved to songs such as ‘Volare,’ ‘Bamboleo’ and more

Sunil Sampat Mar 12, 2019

Gipsy Kings live at the Tata Theatre, NCPA. Photo: Narendra Dangiya

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As we were leaving the auditorium after the concert, I overheard a comment from someone in the audience, “That was like Sehwag on steroids,” referring, of course, to the belligerent Indian batsman Virender Sehwag, known for his hectic batting.

The comparison was as inspired as it was accurate; the Gipsy Kings had played an 85 minute non-stop concert at Mumbai’s NCPA’s Tata Theater this past weekend. It must have been an unprecedented experienced for the hallowed auditorium to experience as high energy a performance as this one. It is commonly felt that frenzied reactions and responses are reserved for people in their forties–or, if stretching it, to their early fifties.

The Gipsy Kings concert blew away such notions. Sophisticated, studied and on-their-best-manners NCPA patrons in the 50-70 year-old age groups behaved like teenagers at a rock concert. They were exhorted by the band to stand up, clap to the beat, wave their cell phone torch lights and dance in the aisles; they did this for most of the intermission-less performance.

Most people are closest to the music they listen to in their school and college days and react positively to this music in later years–this may well have been true of this NCPA audience. Clearly they knew the music and although the lyrics were in Spanish, it didn’t stop the full house of about a thousand (the show was a complete sell out) from grooving like teenagers. That is the power of music and it certainly was the power–and pull of the Gipsy Kings. That was about the audience!

Gipsy Kings live at the Tata Theatre, NCPA. Photo: Narendra Dangiya

Then there was the music too. With five guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion, the Gipsy Kings were a large ensemble and they played with continuous high energy. The guitarists all took turns to show off their skills in extended solos with accompanying showmanship. The others generally held together the rhythm and tempo of the piece. They hit all the high notes with their very popular hits, “Montana,” “La Dona” and of course “Bamboleo.” They had the crowd eating out of their hands.

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It is remarkable that Andre Reyes of the original Gipsy Kings band still plays with the same skill and energy as always. His vocal versions of Sinatra’s famous, “My Way”– sung in Spanish–and the Italian all time favorite, “Volare” were totally lapped up by the audience, as was their encore performance of “Hotel California” from the Eagles’ songbook. We have seldom seen a concert like this that has blown away an entire audience.

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