by Linda Ray
The Mavericks brought a rousing good time to the Fox Theatre on Thursday, March 21. Was it reckless, too?
Less than a minute into the opening song, “Back in Your Arms Again,” the single from the Mavericks' 2012 release, In Time, as most audience members leapt to their feet, clapping and dancing, Fox Theatre security, in vivid stop-light yellow shirts, caused an attention-grabbing ruckus, rushing to either end of a center orchestra row, with flashlights blazing. All eyes turned from the stage.
Malo quit playing and the band stopped half a beat later. “I need you to get out of the room,” Malo hollered to the hapless security men. “I need you to get out of the room or I'll stop playing.” The crowd seemed stunned into silence and Malo went on, “I need people to be able to get up and move around.” as the audience caught on and began cheering he shouted the last words “... and do whatever the fuck they want!”
Security had a clear choice: leave the room or start a riot. They disappeared, and the great dance party continued through three more songs in the the Mavericks' trademark rockin' western-Latin-50's rock catalog. But by a few bars into “Pretend” the aisles and stage front were thick with dancers. Security muscle re-emerged from their hiding places to “rescue” all and sundry.
Malo, his physical substance having grown over the years to more about equal the stature of his music, stopped the band again and strode quickly to the edge of the stage for a higher-octane conversation, arms waving, with the security chief, and then with the venue manager. Dancers held their ground; and a sustained roar filled the hall.
Officials eventually departed red-faced, and as Malo strapped on his guitar again, he muttered into the microphone, “Security. I'm security.” And so he seemed. Likely not a soul in that crowd would be willing to provoke him.
The band romped through “What a Crying Shame,” but after “I've Got This Feeling” and before “O What A Thrill” Malo made good on his word. “You've gotta behave now,” he told the crowd, grown restive again. And with an eye to a momentarily visible security guy, he said, “It's not your fault.”
After performing their global best-seller “Dance the Night Away” the band took a short break, but fans stayed in place. After a few minutes, Malo emerged for an acoustic set. “I'm gonna play some slow ones, now, so you can take a seat if you want and come back later.” Many took him up on it and listened, if not necessarily quietly, through “Here Comes the Rain,” “Sweet Dreams of You,” “Besame Mucho.” The full band came back for “Amsterdam Moon,” “Dance in the Moonlight,” “As Long As There's Loving Tonight.” With “Sway” and “Guantanamera” the party was on again, and from that point restrained only by happiness and respect for a band of madly talented musicians who love a good time as much as the fans.
And for the rest of the show, the finally discreet presense of the Fox security team helped make sure it was a safe good time.