I was fortunate enough on Friday to get to see Los Tigres del Norte play in Richmond and, through the graciousness and generosity of Gilbert Reyes of Hohner accordions and the invaluable Reyes Forum, got to see it standing in the backstage area where I had an unimpeded view of the stage and great sound too. It was really a lot of fun.

Like a fool I forgot my camera.

The soundsystem was so insanely loud--as NorteƱo shows almost always are-- that standing on the side made it just overpowering rather than deafening.

The music sounded good and the band was really tight. Los Tigres are such pros that they were really a marvel to watch them perform. I've seen them before a few years ago, but I was far off in the back of a large outdoor rodeo concert in Manassas. Standing just behind the sound man really gave me an appreciation for how tightly they ran the show, with roadies handing off instruments in highly choreographed maneuvers and virtually no break between songs for hours. Eduardo (bajo/sax/accordion) would switch instruments with the help of two techs handing off one instrument while grabbing another at the same time and then turning to start a song. Occasionally the band did stop to read the little pieces of paper handed over the fence to the band. I was on the side of the stage so people handed them to me, I handed them to the crew, who handed them to band.

Every once in a while someone would jump on stage and give every band member a hug. They never broke their smiles, stopped playing, or missed a beat. And didn't even look especially irritated. Most American bands who have sold millions of records would have roadies beating the interlopers senseless. Los Tigres accepted each fan's love with grace and cool.

After the concert Los Tigres stood and took pictures with fans for hours, smiling for all of them and supplying polaroids for those who did not have cameras. I sat and watched but left shortly after 3 in the morning, with a long line still formed and the band smiling away for all of them like each picture was fresh. That kind of respect for fans was really something.

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