Live Review: The Mavericks @ The Playhouse Theatre, Friday November 15, 2013

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Oops. I’m sorry. That was my jaw hitting my computer’s keyboard thinking back to last night’s show with The Mavericks at Fredericton’s Playhouse Theatre. Seriously, it was that good. Having seen The Mavericks back in 1998, I already knew they were a phenomenal live act. They took things to a whole new level last night.

In an almost two-hour show to an overly appreciative and relatively packed venue in Fredericton, the group proved to be in terrific form. The five members of The Mavericks (the incomparable Raul Malo on vocals and guitar, Paul Deakin on drums, Robert Reynolds on guitar, Eddie Perez on guitar and Jerry Dale McFadden on keys) were backed by a stand-up bassist, accordion player as well as trumpet and saxophone, helping to fill out the group’s sound on stage.

And what a glorious sound it was.

The group opened with tracks from their most recent record, In Time. After their third song, Malo took a moment to address the ushers who had been asking people to not shoot any photos or video, saying that the band was fine with it.

“Why wouldn’t we want our pictures taken? There are some well-dressed men here on stage,” the singer quipped.

The group reached back to 1994’s What A Crying Shame record for the next three songs, pulling out “Pretend”, “There Goes My Heart” and the album’s title track to the audience’s delight. And though the group delivered expected hits like “Dance The Night Away” and “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down”, they were doing anything but merely going through the motions.

In fact, their energy on stage was rather contagious. Keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden often stepped away from his instrument to indulge in a little dancing while on the opposite side of the stage, Eddie Perez and Raul Malo battled for guitar supremacy on more than one occasion. It was all of these little things that made the show one of the best I have ever seen from any band. The fact that The Mavericks looked to be having the time of their lives on stage helped the audience get into the show that much more.

The Mavericks encore was rather generous in terms of the seven songs performed. The first portion of the encore belonged to Malo who came out with only an acoustic guitar and delivered stunning renditions of the band’s hit “Here Comes The Rain” as well as a cover of a Slim Whitman song. Dynamic show opener Whitney Rose and her guitarist then emerged to duet with the band on the Frank Sinatra classic “Something Stupid” before tearing through another trio of songs, among them 1992’s “From Hell To Paradise” and the crowd-pleasing show closer “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down”.

An absolutely outstanding evening of entertainment. You’d be a fool not to catch The Mavericks live. Check out their tour schedule to see when they might be coming to your neck of the woods.