Banda El Recodo & Mariachi Vargas Honor José José, Juan Gabriel & More During L.A. Mexican Music Tour Stop

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Samuel Pantoja/Courtesy of Banda el Recodo
Banda el Recodo and Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán performing onstage at the Microsoft Theater on Sept. 28, 2019 in Los Angeles.

Mexico's longtime acts Banda El Recodo and Mariachi Vargas are very different, but each embrace a long line of music tradition.

Respectively, one moves at a brisk pace and is known for its brass instrumentation. The other weaves in and out of rancheras, corridos and cumbias, among other styles. A booming sound at every vibrant turn imbued the three-hour show at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. on Saturday (Sept. 28) with depth. Riveted fans sang along, danced in the aisles and toasted to a musical legacy from both as both acts presented a thoughtful timeline of Mexican music spanning 200 years.

Together Banda el Recodo and Mariachi Vargas soared in unison and showmanship as each song built from the previous one to deliver a mesmerizing show.

Here are some other highlights of the 200 Years of Mexican Music Tour.

Press on: Both bands took a moment before the actual show to briefly meet with the press. It was a moment to talk about the tour and pay tribute to the late José José, who died earlier in the day at the age of 71. The thrill of an L.A. audience was felt, but still, one band executive said, "We're a little nervous since this is L.A." and the expectations are high.

José José tribute: Many iconic names, from Lola Beltran to Pedro Infante, were celebrated, but it was certainly a touching moment when the bands took a moment to celebrate José José with a heartfelt "Lo pasado, lo pasado" (What Already Happened, Happened). Everyone stood and toasted to the late entertainer.

Screens & screams: The large screens were impeccably used to display images of Mexico, dancers and legendary names Juan Gabriel, Antonio Aguilar, Lucha Villa and Jose Alfredo Jimenez who wrote the super romantic "Si Nos Dejan" (If They Leave Us) presented in charming and fresh ways left fans wanting more.

Throwback: Banda el Recodo and Mariachi Vargas had been wanting to tour together for a few years. When formal talks began, focus turned to narrowing down the right songs as both bands were going to alternate taking turns on the same stage. For the grand finale, both acts proudly performed "Mexico lindo y querido," "Cielito Lindo" and "¡Viva México!" The demanding show featured dozens of vocally challenging songs and offered a spectacular range of music from Mexico that was beautifully presented by the two iconic bands, still holding strong.

Leading voices: It should be noted that each band has more than a dozen performers, but when both groups are on stage the number seems extremely large. Here it all worked out nicely because the variety in leading vocals gave different songs their own musical flavor in a concert that had the electricity of a Las Vegas-meets-Broadway show with diehard fans dancing the night away.


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