After months of waiting, the day of my Mavericks concert had arrived on 6th November 2003! After spending the morning at University, I spent the afternoon making a 'last minute' banner for the evening's show. I'd thought about creating one for the show for a while (I took one with me to the Paul McCartney concert), but as usual I left it until the last minute to make one! Just after 6 o'clock, we set off for Birmingham.
I have seen The Mavericks a few times, most recently being the Liverpool Summer Pops concert in July, but I was particularly looking forward to this show as Jerry Dale McFadden was playing keyboards with them again on this tour! I hadn't properly seen him with The Mavs before (Okay, once at Coventry, but I didn't know anything about them then apart from Dance The Night Away) apart from on video. One of the first things we saw when we arrived in Birmingham was the new Ferris Wheel, which had been opened that day in Centenary Square - Just in front of The Symphony Hall. It looked quite spectacular and I had to take a photo of it (See the photos on the next page).
In the foyer of the Theatre I met up with fellow Mavericks fans (Big "Hi" to Jacky, Michelle, Pat, Krysia, Shirley and anyone else who's name I've forgotten). I queued up at the merchandise stand to by a very cool Mavericks mug from Robert Reynolds' brother, Michael (Who incidentally looks exactly like his older bro!:-)). It was soon time to take our seats for the support act, 'The Hot Club of Cowtown'. They are a trio from Austin, Texas who play fiddle, double bass and guitar. They were an excellent support and as their name suggests, very reminiscent of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. All superb musicians.
After a short break it was then time for The Mavericks. You could feel the excitement in the air as we waited for them to come to the stage. I had a fantastic seat on the right side of stage. It was at the front of the block too. Suddenly, I looked around to my right and saw them walking onto the stage. The horn section first followed by Paul, Eddie, Jerry Dale, Robert and Raul!! The crowd burst into a cheer and the band into 'Because Of You' from their latest CD. What a song to start with!! If I had to pick a song that really captured The Mavericks sound it would be this one! They followed this with 'Think of Me' from their 'Best Of' CD. Raul then announced that it was great to be back in 'Burrmingum' (You need to hear the local accent to appreciate that!) and that they'd had a day off on the Wednesday, so they went shopping around the town. He was wearing a very bright, sparkly black and purply/pink jacket, which he joked he'll "plug in" - It really was that bright - But looked great!! - As did the rest of the guys. Like the audience, they seemed to be enjoying themselves!
Robert was waving and smiling at members of the audience and he and Eddie were having a laugh whilst playing. At one point Raul was asked by Robert to sing some of the songs he'd been playing in his room that day. So Raul broke into Roger Millers' 'England Swings'. Robert got him to sing snippets of 3 songs, but I'm afraid I can't remember the others!! BUT, at one point during the show, Robert started singing another Roger Miller song, 'King of The Road', which was fun to hear!
During, 'Would You Believe' I decided it was the right time to get it out....My banner!!!!! I held it over the side of the mini balcony in front of our seats. On it I'd written, "Welcome Back Mavericks". It was a last minute project, but I'm so glad I did it. It was so funny when I saw Raul, Robert and Eddie spot it and I could see them reading it and they acknowledged with a smile that said thanks! I was so worried I was going to drop it and it fall on the people's heads below! It was great seeing Jerry Dale on keyboards again! Very cool!
Half way through the show, Robert introduced Raul for his solo spot. For this Raul sang, 'Siboney', 'Can't Help Falling In Love' and by special request, Roy Orbison's, 'In Dreams'. Totally magical just hearing him with his guitar. Before he continued with the rest of the band, he commented on how nice the building was and paused to look around the Theatre. They played some more songs from their brilliant new album, including 'Time Goes By', 'I Wanna Know', 'I'm Wondering' and 'The Air That I Breathe' (Wow!). They also played some old favourites which included 'Crying Shame', 'Here Comes The Rain' and 'There Goes My Heart'. I'm not sure which song it was, but during one 'hard hitting' number, Paul bust the bass drum skin. So while Paul and the roadies fixed the kit, the others did an impromptu version of 'Never On A Sunday'.
I loved JD's Hammond organ sound in this!! Very groovy! Robert took the broken drum skin and pretended he was going to 'frisbee' it into the audience!! (Very funny!!) Instead he gave it to a lucky fan on the front row (Hi Michelle!). Once Paul had fixed it, then came the song that everyone in the room knew - 'Dance The Night Away'. As soon as the opening chords on the guitar were recognised most of the room were up and dancing! The crowd was going wild and you could tell the guys were lovin' it as much as we were!
By now the joint was swingin' and we were all on our feet. After leaving the stage to the inevitable shouts of "more", Jerry Dale was first back on stage pounding the piano intro to 'I Said I Love You' from Raul's solo album, 'Today'. The others literally danced back on stage! They followed this with 'Shine Your Light' and 'All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down'. I knew this would sadly be the last song of the evening, but it was as exciting and fun as it always is with each taking a solo. Perhaps just a little disappointed that Jerry Dale didn't do his dance that evening, but this was probably the best Mavericks show I have ever seen! - Definitely my fav anyway!:-)
I'm thrilled that The Mavericks and the new line-up are touring again. To me, Eddie Perez is immediately a Maverick and a fine guitarist and showman! I know JD has other commitments with Sixpence None The Richer, but it just seemed complete with him being there. Thanks for a wonderful show and I hope to see you all again soon!