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Concert Reviews:
The Mavericks deliver a good "Time" in Royal Oak
 

By GARY GRAFF
For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

ROYAL OAK -- Early during the Mavericks' show Friday night, April 5, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, frontman Raul Malo offered a heartfelt thanks to "the best fans in the world."

"We've been gone a long time, and you guys are still here," Malo told the modest but exuberant crowd. And the group certainly made the wait well worth it.

Back from an eight-year hiatus and bolstered with the energy of its first new album in decade, "It's Time," Malo and the Mavericks whipped through two hours of their trademark Americana blend -- its Tex-Mex flavors considerably more pronounced than its country roots these days -- in a deft reminder of why the group's reunion is such a significant musical moment. With the core quintet fortified by four additional players, including a two-piece horn section, the Mavericks moved through its 24 songs with rich grace and just a hint of raw abandon, with each successive song setting a standard that was usually bettered by the next one.

The 15-song main set was a breezy delight, marked by Eddie Perez's lead guitar heroics and killer renditions of "All Over Again," "Dance the Night Away," a soulful "O What a Thrill," a powerhouse "Every Little Thing" and an extended "As Long As There's Loving Tonight" that gave each of the group's assorted soloists a chance to shine. And any doubts about the genuineness of this Mavericks reunion were quickly dispelled by the smiles between the band members on stage, which competed with the joyous expressions of the Royal Oak audience.

Those wanting a fix of pure Malo got it at the beginning of the first encore as he delivered solo versions of "Here Comes the Rain" and Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams of You." But Friday's show also established just how much more potent the angelic-voiced singer is with the band, as the Mavericks reclaimed the stage with "Amsterdam Moon," a cover of the Frank Sinatra hit "Somethin' Stupid," a spirited "Guantanamera" that morphed into the Isley Brothers' "Twist & Shout" and "I Said I Love You," while the second encore put the pedal down with a guitar-heavy "Come Unto Me" and a lusty blast through "All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down" that closed the show on a decidedly up note.

The Mavericks claim they're back together for good now, and this stop certainly showed why that should be the case. After all that time away, they can't come back too soon.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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