The historic Carolina Theatre in Durham is an excellent venue to experience your favorite performers. It has been a cornerstone of culture in downtown Durham for almost a century (the city-owned theater originally opened in 1926). Some fans of the band commented on how they enjoyed seeing them here in a more intimate setting as compared to the last time they played this city in the much larger, Live Nation managed, Durham Performing Arts Center.
Kicking off the show was a solo artist named Ondara. Originally from Kenya, he listened to a lot of American music in his youth. He was so moved by the music of Bob Dylan that he decided to relocate to Dylan's hometown of Minneapolis, MN. Since then he's released several albums, been nominated for a Grammy and has appeared on NPR and CBS.
When Ondara took the stage he immediately grabbed the crowd's attention by performing the first song completely acapella. His voice is beautiful and the audience shut up and listened! His 30 minute set of folk rock was quite enjoyable. He also chatted with the crowd a bit, revealing his sense of humor, joking about the correct pronunciation of "Durham" and then telling us before each of the next few songs that "this song is about Durham." Even his song titled "Lockout in Paris".
Rodrigo y Gabriela then took the stage with some captivating production complementing them. Lots of foggy smoke was deployed to enhance the lighting. The first song was performed behind a video wall that had portals where we could see each performer - essentially immersing them inside of the video projections. Next they emerged from behind the magic wall onto some risers where all in attendance had an unobstructed view of their ascended placement. They proceeded to perform their new album In Between Thoughts...A New World in its entirety with a brand new song and a few classics added for good measure. The new song, Monster, started off soft and beautiful and when it was time for the metaphorical Monster, the song took on more a heavy thrash metal feel, then back to the classical melancholy vibe of the intro.
Both musicians played metal in their formative years - and that influence shines through in their performances and raises the collective energy level in the room. Fans love their unique genre colliding style created by blending metal, rock, Mexican folk, flamenco and more.
Rodrigo had several instruments including a classical guitar, pedal steel and the instrument he used most was a Fender Jaguar electric. The duo have been performing for over two decades. For the first time ever on this tour, they utilized backing tracks on select songs. In a recent interview with Guitar World, Rodrigo says of this tour "We are going to - for the first time - use backing tracks," he says. "The sound is pretty big and full, so the whole production is changed and we have visuals that are synced to all the songs to portray the concept of the album."
Gabriela played her classical nylon string guitar with percussive flare that few other guitarist possess. Her playing was showcased in the set's finale, the new album's title track, that she performed entirely solo.
When the duo returned for an encore, they encouraged the fans to get on their feet and have some fun. They then jammed out with two flamenco-influenced tracks from their 2006 self titled album, satiating the die-hard fans in the audience wanting to hear some Rodrigo y Gabriela classics.
Astrum In Corpore
The Eye That Catches The Dream
Descending to Nowhere
The Ride Of The Mind
Finding Myself Leads Me To You
In Between Thoughts...A New World
- Lee Crumpton
- Photos by Tim Hobert