Manu Chao at KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic – Nov 10 2010.
“International superstar” is how KCRW referred to Manu Chao when he showed up at their Morning Becomes Eclectic on November 10, 2010.
And seeing Manu Chao on stage feels different. It certainly does. You get the impression that there is something beyond the lyrics, the sounds and energy that Manu and his band display. Something greater. Listening to his lyrics is contagious, they are so direct and simple but at the same time they are capable of ripping your heart and mind apart, making you feel, remember and sometimes re-live. You end up dancing, singing, crying. Tears of happiness, sorrow and excitement are just expected elements when looking at this great artist. But above all Manu and their band bring you back to life, wherever you were before, making it evident that only simple things are needed to be happy and most of the times are right there in front of us.
Watching Manu appears to be something beyond a great musical experience. Manu Chao seems like a great messenger, a prophet that happens to use music and lyrics from all over the world to convey a clear message about freedom, morality, peace and respect. Watching and singing along with Manu’s songs inevitably makes me think on other great revolutionary images. Guevara, Castro, Marcos and why not Maradona, as described in Manu's Vida Tombola…anyone that defeats rules and proposes an alternate way to see or do things…but above all someone that puts every breath and every heartbeat in what he/she does…Manu without a doubt is someone that gives his entire soul on every concert, on every show as if it were the last one.
Manu Chao is touring the world with a compact version of his Radio Bemba, something that he likes to call La Ventura, a trio comprised of simply vocals, guitar, drums and percussions. So far, they have had very successful shows in Japan, South America and last month they started touring the US.
His clear and open support to key international issues and regulations would probably prevent him from reaching to everyone in this country. He gave a clear example of this at KCRW with his open support to the use of marijuana, something that certainly brought concern and discomfort to the host Tom Schnabel, after recent disputes on this topic in California.
Whether you share his political views, like or dislike his music, seeing him live is a must for anyone. And, this particular show is one of the best performances I have seen this year.
At the end of his show I finally understood that “International Superstar” is although inaccurate probably the most appropriate term you can use when talking about Manu Chao.
I leave you with a clip from his “Politik Kills”, which says it all…even when you don’t get all Manu’s message, you know he is telling the truth, you know there is something behind his multi-language sounds that should be listened to, understood and followed.