Music News & Reviews

Maná celebrates Latin power, its fans with Fresno tour stop

Drummer Alex González performs during Maná’s “Cama Incendiada” tour in June 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Drummer Alex González performs during Maná’s “Cama Incendiada” tour in June 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Vida en el Valle file

If there is any doubt about the popularity of Maná, consider this: The Latin rock icons once sold 12 million tickets on a single concert tour, which puts the band in league with heavy hitters like Taylor Swift. The band played a record-setting seven-night run of sold-out shows at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (besting the likes of Britney Spears). They’ve sold out that arena 13 times.

When drummer Alex González called from the band’s home base in Guadalajara, Mexico, last month, it was on the heels of two sold-out nights at the Auditorio Pabellón in Monterrey, Mexico, and leading into the American leg of the band’s “Latino Power” tour, which kicked off Sept. 9 with a sold-out show at Viejas Arena in San Diego. The tour stops Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Save Mart Center.

“It’s great to see how the band has grown,” González says, remembering Maná’s first trips to the United States in the mid-1990s.

Back then, they were playing theaters with 500 to 1,000 seats.

They came to the United States to court a generation of American Latinos who speak both English and Spanish, even as the band remains essentially monolingual.

“We’ve never sung in English because we wanted to share our culture,” González says.

Over its career, Maná released nine studio albums to much critical acclaim – the band has eight Latin Grammys. Its success as a live band came without much radio play, González says, at least outside of Latin stations. Instead, it was built on constant touring, returning to the same cities year after year.

And its fan base steadily grew.

“It was friends telling friends,” González says.

Maná first played Fresno in the late ’90s or early 2000s, Gonzalez says. He’s not sure of the exact year, but the band did play the Paul Paul Theatre as early as 1998. They were here just last year on the Cama Incendiada tour.

7 Maná played a record-setting seven-night run of sold-out shows at the Staples Center in Los Angeles

For the Latino Power tour, fans will get a completely reworked show, with a new set list, staging and production. Expect a concert that runs more than two hours and hits on the entirety of the band’s catalog, González says.

Also expect time for the band to speak on a variety of social issues, from the environment to immigration reform.

It’s no coincidence that the tour comes within months of the presidential election, or that it is called the Latino Power tour. In announcing the shows in February, singer Fher Olvera made that connection clear. “With the strength of their collective vote this year, U.S. Latinos can further empower our community – demanding more respect and affecting real change in the living conditions and opportunities for our people,” he says in a release. The tour is working with such political organizations as Voto Latino.

This concert is a positive affirmation of that message, González says, and a call to Maná fans to be sure their voices are heard come November.

“Your vote does make a difference,” he says.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

Maná

Latino Power tour

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