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Enrique Bunbury Rocks the Hollywood Palladium • May 19, 2016


Francisco Sánchez
Fotos: Francisco Sánchez Jun 30, 2016

No one should be surprised that artists from all over the world get a certain sense of accomplishment when they’re able to trot out their art to the people of Los Angeles. Yet, those lucky enough to live in the region soon learn of the uncomfortable hidden-truth within the Los Angeles arts scene: audiences tend to be vacuous, shallow, and self-absorbed. A place lucky enough to attract the greatest names in music with awe-inspiring venues is also a place whose inhabitants commonly commit one of greatest sins against performance art: they attend performances with a sense of indifference. People become more concerned with traffic, personal looks, or that feeling one gets from being part of an elite group.

In Los Angeles, “the artist” is an excuse to make money and attract pretty people. The artist is the path to personal validation, regardless of whether you cared about the performance or not. In a town with many things to see and places to go, a performance is just another thing to do.

The rock en español crowd in Los Angeles is one of the few exceptions. Maybe it’s the immigrant struggle that so many Latino Americans experience. Maybe it’s the constant alienation that one feels in this land so dominated by European-Americans. If you have the wrong skin color, you can become a target for law enforcement and subtle forms of oppression that limit so many job opportunities for immigrants. Maybe it’s the feeling of freedom that one can have in the United States, away from the corruption of religion and politics from so many of our native countries.

Regardless of the reason, performances like Enrique Bunbury’s at the Hollywood Palladium on May 19, 2016 are special. For those of us who believe in the Mesoamerican traditions of worship, those of us that believe that real and true gods can walk among us, as a product of their ability to reflect to us, what is in our hearts – the true mirrors of the world –, we are sometimes privileged to recognize the transformative power of a performance like Mr. Bunbury’s on that May night.

For fans of Mr. Bunbury and Héroes del Silencio… how many times have you contemplated the struggle and pain of poverty to ‘La Herida’? Do you remember holding the person you loved while listening to ‘La Chispa Adecuada’? Maybe you’ve contemplated love and life countless times to ‘Lady Blue’? Or heartbreak to ‘El Rescate’? Or finally made your move on that special someone on the dance floor to ‘Maldito Duende’ or ‘La Sirena Varada’? Mr. Bunbury played all of these songs on this night and the audience enjoyed every single one.

But, being the performer that he is, Mr. Bunbury did not simply play these songs as you can find them in their respective albums. Fans were treated to jazzy, bluesy, ballad-like remakes of his best-known songs. Mr. Bunbury obviously pushes himself artistically to redefine himself, understanding that a song can be like a prism with many colors. He did not come to L.A. seeking a paycheck: he came to Los Angeles with a point to prove: That he is a true artist and performer, not afraid of taking creative risks. He demonstrated that music can be more than the process that leads to an album: music is a moment in time shared with others. Like a great chef preparing delicacies that can only be experienced once, bite-by-bite, Mr. Bunbury delivered 30 years of music, displaying his growth as a musician and artist in every moment.

Fans repaid his work by demanding encore after encore, seeking to worship at the altar of a rock god just for a couple of moments more.

Maybe that is what makes fans of rock en español so special… we are so far removed from the heroes that connect with us, by geography, that when they make landfall in Los Angeles we simply go mad. Mad for the times they have enabled in our lives. Mad for the sense of freedom we feel when we sway with others that feel like us. Mad for the thrill of feeling part of something, instead of the alienation that comes with walking down every day streets.

It meant something when Mr. Bunbury said at the end of the night that Los Angeles is a special place to him. From the Elvis-inspired jumpsuit and stage moves, to the Jim Morrison-esque stunner shades and hair, Enrique Bunbury gives you a sense that he’s also been inspired and molded by these desert lands we call Los Angeles. If a young kid from Zaragoza, Spain can be so inspired, I wonder what could the large, musically-trained community of Latinos produce here in Los Angeles?

Let this be a message to you young fans (especially for you young musicians): Rock gods exist... and Enrique Bunbury belongs among them. Go out there and create music that connects with the soul and reveals the essence of life. If a young kid from Zaragoza can become Enrique Bunbury, what can you become?

Go and make beautiful music and join the pantheon of the rock gods!

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