Nearly 30 years into their storied career, world music superstars the Gipsy Kings showed no signs of slowing down last weekend during a thrilling set at the Lincoln Theatre that had hundreds of people dancing in the aisles.
The iconic 10-piece band, which mixes traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin rhythms, brought their A-game to the Lincoln and a near-capacity crowd responded in kind, cheering every number and singing along to most every song. Lead singer Nicolas Reyes and lead guitarist Tonnino Baliardo are the undisputed kings of the Kings, but it was the band’s talented younger members who injected the most energy and vitality into every number.
The Gipsy Kings, who hail from the south of France, incorporate elements of Latin and Cuban musical styles, as well as Arabic, reggae and jazz guitar reminiscent of the French gypsy master Django Reinhardt. And Washington, DC – one of the most international cities in America – couldn’t seem to get enough. The crowd gave its loudest applause for the band’s biggest hits, “Bomboleo” and “Volaré,” but also showed lots of love for some deeper, quieter and more obscure tracks.
Opening for the Gipsy Kings was Galen Weston, a Toronto-based guitarist whose playing can go from understated and elegant to furious and on-fire in the span of a single song. Accompanied by Richard Underhill’s blazing sax solos, Weston put on a guitar clinic that had me making comparisons to guitar masters such as Carlos Santana, Eric Johnson, Pat Metheny and Steve Vai. Weston’s debut album, Plugged In, features 12 tracks that include 10 originals by Weston and arrangements of Keith Jarrett’s “Country” and Jimmy Van Huesen’s “Like Someone in Love.”
The talented Canadian guitarist’s set was a fitting start to a masterful double bill of music at the Lincoln, and yet another reminder that DC is a great place to be a music fan. Learn more about the Gipsy Kings at www.gipsykings.com.