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Review: Manu Chao at Las Dalias, 1st May

A force of positivity descends on Las Dalias...

The sun was on its way down behind the hills of Santa Eulalia as half of Ibiza coalesced on Las Dalias, trickling through the market entrance and spreading out into the field beyond, where a huge outdoor stage had been erected to accommodate Manu Chao, his band Radio Bemba, several thousand fans and as many beers.

The peaceful atmosphere of trees and twilight was soon shattered as Manu Chao and his animated bandmates jogged on stage around 8:30 and began plugging out bouncy, rapid chords and brassy stabs amidst beaming smiles and an energetic cardio work-out. The spectators, in their thousands, matched the energy on stage instantly and effortlessly, commencing a communal bounce and fidget that never let up for the next three hours. We heard the big tunes and more, jumping to Me Gustas Tu and Bongo Bong, spilling at least half the beer we bought and bellowing the lyrical hooks like “Esperanza!” “Clandestino!” and “Marijuana illegal”, though you could be forgiven for confusing that last point at Las Dalias on Saturday night…

Manu Chao and his fellow musicians have been a force of positivity all over the world for decades, and the feeling was strong here too. Other live venues on the island could learn something from this event, as it was refreshing to attend a concert in Ibiza on such a large scale, which still managed to avoid commercialism, over-crowding and over-production; the music, the wonderful people and the beautiful setting were more than enough to take the evening to a triumphant almost-close around 10:30. With the crowd rabidly banging their proverbial pots and pans together in a bid for the musicians to return to the stage, Manu and the band bounded back on for what proved to be the never-ending encore. When we tore ourselves away seven songs later he showed no signs of slowing - obviously the type of artist who, when the stars align and the mood is right, will just keep playing as long as he, and the audience, is feeling it. They're probably still playing up there now.

A classy introduction to Las Dalias Market's thirtieth anniversary celebrations (the venue itself is much older of course)… here's hoping for more of that!


WORDS | Jordan Smith PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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