The Staples Center came back to life on Friday (July 30) after 513 days since the last concert there, thanks to regional Mexican band Grupo Firme, who kicked off their historic run at the Los Angeles arena with their first (of seven) full-capacity, sold-out show.
If it weren’t for the masks on people’s faces, it seemed like any other pre-pandemic night, with crowds congregating outside Staples waiting for doors to open while also getting last-minute group photos before heading indoors, where the chart-topping band was scheduled to hit the stage at 8:30 p.m.
Making history as the first Latin act to perform the most shows in a single calendar year at Staples (the only other artist that has done more is Adele with eight in one calendar year) and marking the return of live concerts at L.A. Live (home to venues such as Staples and Microsoft Theater), the night would be one for the books, even if that meant you had to wear a mask once inside. Los Angeles has seen a significant COVID-19 surge due to the Delta variant. And if you didn’t have a mask, staff members provided them outside of the venue.
Once at their seat, most concert-goers ditched their masks to enjoy a cold beer and sing along to the songs that made them fall in love with Grupo Firme. Around 9 p.m., there was a full house and Grupo Firme took the stage in full force opening their nearly three-hour set with the fan favorite “El Amor No Fue Pa’ Mí.”
“It’s so great to see so many people reunited,” the act’s 27-year-old lead singer (and birthday boy) Eduin Caz said to a roaring crowd. “Thank you so much to each and everyone of you. Tonight is a dream come true.”
It was almost impossible to stay in your seat as the dynamic band members injected energy to a crowd that was emerging from the COVID-imposed lockdown by greeting them from every corner of the stage and sharing drinks with them (many times Caz would take a sip from other people’s beers), and taking tequila shots straight from a bottle.
After all, the concert was a big party as Grupo Firme made history at Staples and celebrated Caz’s birthday. In honor of the celebrations, the band received a recognition from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on behalf of the city. “This is yours and for you,” Caz told his fans.
From there, the group went on to perform back-to-back hits such as “Juro Por Dios,” “En Tu Perra Vida,” “Cada Vez Te Extraño Más,” a surprise cover of Karol G‘s “Tusa” and their heartbreak anthem “Yo Ya No Vuelvo Contigo,” which brought an emotional Caz to his knees as he looked out at the crowd. Toward the end of the show, he told fans, “I hope every dollar you spent on a ticket was worth it.”
Grupo Firme returns to Staples Center on Saturday (July 31) and then again Aug. 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8.