Sunday, June 24, 2012

Héctor Delgado came to town, and we missed him

What me missed

I think we blew it last night, victims of shoddy research. For the last while, posters have been up around Copan Ruinas promoting the appearance of Héctor Delgado, sponsored by a local evangelical church. He was to perform in the square, as part of an evening of evangelism.
Christian rock is big down here, as I can attest after a long bus ride with a TV showing a concert featuring many soaring ballads about Jesus. I just figured the show in the square was more of the same.
We went, of course. What's the point of living in a strange land if you don't go out and see what's going on?
We're wiser after five months. The event was supposed to start at 6 p.m. We got there around 7, which meant only a 20-minute wait for something to happen. Long enough for Jody to buy a 50-cent cone of cotton candy.
The crowd was huge, which should have been a tip-off. I didn't do a formal estimate, but I'd say 1,500 to 2,000, and I take pride in being a key player in press gallery estimates of legislature lawn protests. It was surely many times the largest gathering we'd seen in the square. Even more than for the Mayan soccer game with a flaming ball.
The stage was slick, with a backdrop of about 2,000 CDs suspended in plastic sleeves as a kind of curtain, catching the light, and smoke machines and a couple of eight-foot screens, one showing live video of the concert, the other, most of the time, the computer screen of one of the stagehands.
And the band was high energy. Drums, keyboard, guitar, bass, violin, three backup singers, and a compelling, if not vocally gifted, lead singer. (Though he may have overexploited the pogo as a stage move, a mistake I have made in the distant past on the dance floor.)
The crowd knew some of the songs, and pumped their arms. The chicas were dressed to the nines, in a slightly subdued version of Canadian clubbing clothes. (Actually, quite subdued version.) There were teens and kids and families with babies. It was good.
We bailed after four or five songs, working our way through the crowd in the dark. Pollo Express had no more chicken by then, but eight or nine food vendors set up on the street by the square on weekends, and we got grilled chicken, served over fried plantains, pickled sliced onion and beets, with beans and cheese. But that meant we left before Héctor Delgado.
And, after googling him belatedly today, I fear that might have been a mistake. He used to be Héctor "El Father" and Héctor "El Bambino," and was a reggaeton pioneer, a genre combining reggae, hiphop, salsa and Latin influences. Héctor was a star, hot producer, clothing designer and celeb. He sold 130,000 copies of an album in Puerto Rico, his country, in two days. Héctor is a talent.
In 2008, he announced the death of Héctor "El Father" and said he was going to pursue a religious calling. And after a couple of years of farewell concerts, he eventually came to our town.
And we missed him.
Which is just another reminder that we don’t know much, and information is in short supply. The posters didn’t say Héctor Delgado, former music force. The sponsors were an evangelical church and half-a-dozen small stores. I've never heard of reggaeton. There is no newspaper to write about his appearance. Who knew?
Next time, I’ll do the research first. And I won’t miss the next Héctor Delgado.