In recent years, regional Mexican singer Roberto Tapia’s profile has only become bigger as one of the genre’s most recognized names.
His Feb. 6 showcase at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles delivered a milestone for the San Diego-born crooner, who was raised in Mexico. Wearing his signature black cowboy hat, jeans and boots, Tapia hit the stage to celebrate his sixth official performance at the venue, formerly known as the Nokia Theatre. His female fans, some barely able to walk in their 6-inch heels, screamed his name, along with other requests more sexual in nature. Male fans gleefully mouthed the words to his songs while sipping on beer.
For Tapia, who also enjoyed some kind of libation while on stage (it looked like tequila), it was a homecoming of sorts, since the entertainer has legions of fans in Southern California thanks to the number of Mexican Americans living here. Lifting his glass after every few songs, Tapia thanked his loyal fans and acknowledged his parents who were sitting in the front row.
Tapia is known for romantic songs such as “Mirando al Cielo” (Looking Toward the Sky), but his repertoire on the recently captured drug-trafficking king Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman really catapulted fans into a frenzy.
Tapia thanked members of the media for their support through the years, but he was also quick to point to their coverage of Guzman in an effort to capitalize on the controversial figure’s story. Just as Tapia seemed like the most staunch Guzman supporter, he changed gears: “I’m not in favor nor against anybody, but I’m rooting the person who has his shirt on the right way,” the singer said.
Guzman, whom many people see as a heroic figure, continues to be covered extensively by media outlets around world. Mexican marines recaptured the drug-trafficker after a shootout in early January. The running joke for Tapia, which he reiterated during this concert, is that he has never met Guzman, but that he has seen him more than 35 times.
At one point Tapia took to the microphone to call one of his employees, and while his off-the-script efforts seemed genuine, it was also distracting. Then again, singing nearly 40 songs during a two-hour show is no easy feat in regional Mexican concerts.
These types of shows put a high value on vocal performance, production and a steady pace for the breathy songs that move fast. Maybe tequila shots in between songs is a necessary evil given the tall order.
As Tapia finished his night with songs such as the popular “El Niño de La Tuna” (The Kid from La Tuna), another Guzman themed song referring to the drug-trafficker’s hometown of La Tuna, the crowd’s roar was all about approval for Tapia, who could do no wrong.