September 13, 2007
Hard Rock Live
Coincidentally or not, Ana Gabriel gave thousands of her compatriots and most loyal supporters an early birthday gift on the eve of Mexico's Independence Day none of them will soon forget.
And in the process the Mexican ranchera/pop queen proved she's still on top of her game.
Despite an extended stage hiatus over the last several years Gabriel sounded - and looked - right at home as she delighted a crowd of approximately 3,000 fans with a bevy of her most recognizabe material while creating an intimate setting with all her supporters.
Long considered one of the best female ranchera intrepreters to ever come out of Mexico - thanks to her piercing and raspy vocals - Gabriel did nothing to hurt such status as she delivered virtually every lyric of each song with authority and geniune emotion during the two-hour performance.
Looking relaxed and energized, Gabriel belted out lovely renditions of hits like "Quien Como Tu" (Who Like You), "Un Viejo Amor" (An Old Love) and "Luna" (Moon) in her trademark expressive-manner as the pro-Mexican gathering joined her at every opportunity.
One of the most gripping and emotional parts of the evening came when Gabriel poured into an a capella rendering of Mexican anthem , Mexico lindo y querido (Beautiful and Beloved, Mexico) as tears strolled down her face.
She also offered a moving and heartfelt rendition of "Te Dire", the first track of her yet to be released new album, in which she warns a former lover that 'You've Stained My Name/But One Day Soon the Truth Will Prevail.'
Gabriel brought the entire arena to its feet during an energetic final encore of the lambada-fused "Hice bien quererte" (I Did Well Loving You) as the crowd danced in the aisles while they sang in unison.
She even garnered more approval from the rabid crowd with a wiggle of her hips followed by several additional dance moves that seemed to catch everybody off guard. But by this point her performance had long been stamped with a seal of approval.
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Personal Bias: Considered the queen of Mexican rancheras - thanks to her piercing and raspy chops - she showed little sign of giving up that title anytime soon. She proved it the entire night but especially during extended and emotional renditions of traditional anthems, Mexico lindo y querido (Beautiful and Beloved..Mexico) and Cielito Lindo (Beautiful Little Sky)
Random Detail: The crowd - which was mostly Mexican - was invited on several occasions to sing along on several occasions and didn't disappoint as they sang together with her. The chemistry created between the singer and the audience appeared to be genuine and truly heartfelt. She even signed several autographs and received a gift from a fan in the front row.
By the way: Its rare that a singer can trump the blaring trumpets and string guitars of a full mariachi band but Ana Gabriel managed to do so throughout the entire show with plenty of ease.
--Fernando Ruano Jr.