Live at the El Morro Theater
In an age of manufactured, plastic action figure-like, pop music “idols”, it is refreshing to watch a performer who is a genuine talent- a songwriter, singer, and performer. Lobo provided a rare opportunity for his American fans to do just that in a live performance at the El Morro theater in Gallup, New Mexico on Valentine’s Day, 2005.
Without the aid of vocal guide tracks, journeyman musicians, dancers, or pyrotechnics, Lobo and his traveling companion Billy Aerts (they describe themselves as “two old guys with acoustic guitars”) made music and entertained an intimate crowd of 600 for two hours. The performance was captured on video by fansoflobo.com.
Their talent is immediately evident with the opening licks of “Rings”- some fine, intricate string picking by Lobo and Billy in perfect unison to kick off the show. Their handiwork is showcased throughout the video with close-ups of the guitar-work. (Thanks to BJ Poe for capturing this for the fans wanting to emulate the performance.)
It has been 25 years or more since his fans in the US have heard Lobo’s fine voice delivering a new song over the airwaves. And they will be pleased to hear that same voice once again.
The song list is an exciting mix of the hits (Me and You And A Dog Named Boo, Don’t Expect Me To Be Your Friend, Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love, I’d Love You To Want Me); newer material not released in the US (Yellow River, Faithful, Sometimes, Asian Moon); audience requests (A Big Red Kite, Stoney); some of Lobo’s favorites (Simple Man, It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, and a Beatles medley), as well as Lobo’s least favorite song- She Didn’t Do Magic.
Lobo has said he doesn’t like She Didn’t Do Magic because he feels it was too contrived. However, even after a lapse of 35 years, his performance of it during this show demonstrates the crowd-pleasing power of the song’s opening guitar riff. It is a fun song to hear, to sing along with, and for the first time- to watch.
In between the songs, Lobo engages with the audience through stories and recollections. Billy keeps the audience laughing. Billy also keeps Lobo honest- having to explain to the audience how Lobo has just experienced a
“brain freeze” and can’t remember the opening line of the song. It Sure Took A Long Time (to miss me) becomes A Long Time to Remember The Words To This Song.
In a poignant acknowledgement to his Gallup audience, Lobo performs Running Deer Running- his song about a Native American who left the reservation to further his education, and now feels compelled to return to help his people. When originally recorded for the album “Of A Simple Man”, the song was not intended as a single. But on this night, the song powerfully demonstrates Lobo’s excellence as a storyteller in song.
(For those who still wonder if Lobo is a Native American, his answer is no. He tells us he is a Floridian.)
Lobo concludes the evening by telling us “There’s nothing that’s so final about leaving. . . Goodbye is just another word”. And we leave happy. We are joyful to have relived some long ago moments; to have heard some favorite old tunes; to have discovered some new ones also; and to have experienced the warm hospitality of Gallup. And we come away amazed by the genuine singing, songwriting, and performing talent that is still- Lobo Live at the El Morro.