Saturday night marked the yearly pilgrimage of Vicente “El Rey de las Rancheras“ Fernández to visit his adoring fans in the Denver area with his 16-piece mariachi band, Azteca, that played to a well-coiffed crowd at the Pepsi Center.
Fernandez’s stage set up with his large mariachi band conjured up memories of a hacienda in the middle of a Mexican desert at sunset. Chente waived his sombrero around only to receive the warm embrace of the passionate cheering crowd as if he had saved the day. The only thing missing was a champion steed of course, to you know, ride off into the sunset.
Fernández warmed up the stage early with one of his most recent hits, “Un Millon de Primaveras,” subsequently sending many dames to fan themselves in order to maintain any composure left in their panting bodies. He continued to speak to the soul of the crowd with hits, “Las Llaves de mi Alma,” “Lastima qe seas Ajena” and the gorgeous “Hermoso Cariño.”
Chente’s repertoire of material spans multiple decades, nearing almost half a century, however, on Saturday night he felt compelled to perform “El Hombre Que Mas Te Amo” twice. The song speaks of the love between a father and a son that displayed a touching picture slideshow of Chente and his recording artist son, Alejandro Fernández. Father’s day is right around the corner and is the only explanation I can think of why he would perform the same song twice in the massive three hour set.
Towards the latter part of the night, an unlikely visitor from Coors Field made his way to the Pepsi Center. Carlos González, All-Star outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, and some friends tried to make their way to their seats anonymously. The crowd recognized him immediately and Vicente welcomed “CarGo” to the show personally.
There are few certainties in life, however, when Chente rolls through town, fans never leave cheated because the icon sticks around long enough on stage until every fan is pleased. A true showman till the end and a treasure of Mexican heritage that continues to gleam after all of these years.
Julio Enriquez is a Denver writer and photographer, editor of the Cause=Time blog and a regular contributor to Reverb.