REVIEW: Gilberto Gil at New World Center

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Friday October 26, 2012

from Miami New Times

Gilberto Gil and Rhythm Foundation’s 25th Season Celebration at New World Center
By Matt Preira

Rhythm Foundation’s 25th Season Celebration
Featuring Gilberto Gil
New World Center, Miami Beach
Sunday, October 21, 2012

Better Than: Tim Robbins’s CD collection in High Fidelity.

Last night, the Rhythm Foundation kicked off its 25th season of international music by hosting an intimate evening with world-renowned Brazilian guitarist Gilberto Gil. And the results were nothing short of spellbinding.

See also:
-Gilberto Gil Celebrates 25 Years of Miami’s Rhythm Foundation at New World Center

Before the concert, guests were treated to complimentary Brazilian cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and the globe-spanning vinyl spinning of DJ Da Lua. Most DJs can’t break out of one or two genres, let alone cover both hemispheres, so it was impressive to hear so many continents in Mr. Da Lua’s mix. And, hey, the drinks were strong and delicious. Conclusion: The Rhythm Foundation knows how to party.

His default cadence was that of the street corner Bossa guitarist on a Sunday afternoon. But the audience was also treated to some expert scatting which sometimes even took on an air of rapping or toasting. And we may have spoken too soon when we dubbed Andrew Bird the “hardest whistling man in show business.” Gil’s puckered lips could emulate everything from violins to songbirds.

On occasion, Gil’s vocals and vocalizations gave way to beat-boxing in the absence of accompanying musicians. But what Gilberto lacked in onstage back-up was more than compensated for by the crowd, who seemed appreciative that the concert was so intimate, but also yearned to dance. The coffeehouse (with stadium seating) style setup didn’t stop people from swaying in their seats, holding up their hands, air-drumming, playing air guitar, and singing with increasing audibility.

A few month’s back, we made much ado regarding flamenco axeman Paco de Lucia and his philosophy of Total Shred. Well, Gil gives the legendary Spanish guitarist gives a run for his money. Because while much of the Brazilian’s repertoire seemingly emanates from a geyser of sensual relaxation and reflection, his hands and their fingers climb up and down the fretboard with a complexity comparable to nuclear physics. Ever the showman, Gilberto finished most numbers with a dramatically triumphant final strum and statuesque follow-through pose, like a pitcher practicing his delivery.

Passion is inherent to the music of Gilberto Gil. In between songs, he spoke in poetically non-native English to the audience about the stories and messages embedded within his music. And almost always the subject at hand was a meditation on Brazilianicity, a broader Latin American consciousness, and the rich potential for cross-cultural exchange through music. The Rhythm Foundation could not have put together a more fitting kickoff for its 25th season.

Critic’s Notebook

The Crowd: Ballers, foreign dignitaries, Rhythm Foundation regulars, and Miamians dressed from head to toe in white.

From the Crowd: Someone shouted “Ecuador!” after Gil omitted the country from a brief list of Latin American nations.

From the Stage: “Love songs come from a cloud. We download them.”

Personal Bias: We typically prefer Os Mutantes to Maria Bethania. Luckily, Gilberto Gil falls perfectly between the two.

Gilberto Gil Setlist:
-“Maquina” -“Eu Vim da Bahia” -“Esotérico” -“Alapala” -“Saudade da Bahia” -“Flora” -“Super Homem” -“Doralice” -“Chiclete” -“Aquele Abraço -“Três Palavras” -“Three Little Birds” -“La Renaissence” -“Domingo No Parque” -“Expresso 2222” Encore -“Soy Loco Por Ti America”

Read the full article here