Monday, December 1, 2014

            Music Knows No Borders
            Kathy and I peeled ourselves out from under the palapa on the beach, changed into street clothing and took a pulmonia down to the Plazuela Machado. We had two things in mind. We like to experience the monthly First Friday Art Walk at least once each year, to make the rounds of several favorite galleries to see what is new in the art world.  Best of all, Jim Morrison and The Doors were performing at the Teatro Angela Peralta.

            Okay, so Jim Morrison, poet, songwriter and lead singer, died in 1971. Hector Ortiz brought Morrison back to life in an outstanding musical tribute. Using his own band, Ortiz has personified Elvis, The Bee Gees and Morrison. This night Ortiz and the band performed with the Camerata Mazalan, an orchestra of musicians of international prestige performing semi-classical and popular concert music.

            The Teatro Angela Peralta, a formal concert hall, is one of the beautiful restored historic buildings in Mazatlan. When we entered the open-to-the-skies lobby, elegant with marble floors and walls and sweeping staircases, we quickly forgot the elegance. The stage was set for a trip back to the 1960’s. On a center dais perched a chromed and sparkling, tricked out Harley, surrounded by small tables set up to create the atmosphere of a typical hippie coffeehouse.

            Kathy and I had purchased tickets for the cheap seats, in the nose-bleed section, in the center of the last row of the third balcony. We had the best seats in the house. We sat “front row” for the theatrics all around us.

The moment the musicians began playing, Morrison, in signature leather pants, concha belt and velvet shirt, bounded onto the stage. The entire theatre rocked with an explosion of energy that never abated throughout the entire concert. Ortiz is an outstanding musician and actor. He “became” Morrison. It was uncanny.

            Picture the orchestra at the back of the deep stage, The Doors in center stage, and Morrison in front swaying and dancing with the microphone. From the orchestra all the way to our last row of seats, feet tapped, hands clapped, arms waved. With the first bars of intro music to each song, a roar of excitement and recognition, lifted to the ceiling. People sang along, belting out the words. The Teatro has narrow aisles, yet, many people found a way to dance, if only at their seats, even in their seats. Many youth, and a few not so young, stood, swaying and bouncing, through the entire doings. Stage lighting was exceptional. A screen lowered behind the orchestra showed clips from Morrison’s films. The entire production flowed without a glitch.

            The audience, with a sprinkling of Americans and Canadians in Mazatlan on holiday, a small number of young Mexicans and an overwhelming number of Mexican persons of a “certain age”, like me, all “rocked” to such songs as “Light My Fire”, “Riders On The Storm”, “People Are Strange”, “LA Woman”, and a touching “The Unknown Soldier.” The joy was infectious. It was “our” music.

            The woman next to me, with broken English and mucho body language, asked me if I had gone to Morrison concerts in my youth. “Nada, back then I only rocked babies,” I answered, my arms held in the universal position of cradling a newborn.

            How fortunate I felt to be able to hear Jim Morrison sing through the artistry of Hector Ortiz. I felt especially blessed to experience this concert at the Angela Peralta Teatro with this night’s particular group of people. Truly, music knows no borders. No borders of age. No borders of language. In music, we all wear the same skin.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

November 13, 2014

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