A Fantastic Performance by Willie Colón

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Willie Colón
Photograph courtesy of Festival Ile-de-France

The 2010 Festival d’Ile de France music series ended on a hot note today with a packed audience roaring its approval for the performance given by Willie Colón and his salsa band.

The concert was scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. at La Cigale, an auditorium located in the Pigalle district. I arrived at 4:45 p.m. and could see the entry line stretching way down boulevard de Rochechouart. My heart sank at the prospect of not getting a good seat, as they were not assigned. First come, first seated!

When I entered the concert hall, it was worse than I had imagined! All of the seats were taken and the ground floor was packed with a standing-room only crowd. I made my way to the top balcony and stood in the aisle behind a row of occupied seats. By hoisting myself up on a ledge and clinging precariously to the back of a seat I could see over the heads of the spectators and get a fairly clear view of the stage. This awkward position did not seem to bother a great number of young spectators who were perched in the same way, but the acrobatic posture fatigued me and I had to let myself down to the floor for solid footing for most of the concert.

Nonetheless, it was a fantastic concert of Latin songs, sassy brass, incredible keyboard technique, and effervescent drums. Although Mr. Colón addressed the audience only in Spanish (he is American-born of parents of Puerto Rican descent), the majority seemed to understand him. When he welcomed the presence of spectators from Colombia, great shouts of acclamation erupted!

Thank you Festival d’Ile de France for your fabulous series of concerts this year. I attended three of them: Baaba Maal, Kahled, and this one, all of which I blogged about. Until next year’s festival!

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