Ozomatli, The Fillmore, SF (11/30/06)
Ozo playing in the middle of the audience. We were all sitting on our knees around them.
Ozo playing on the very narrow stairs in the lobby of The Fillmore.
Years ago when Ozo came out with their first self-titled CD, I stumbled on it in the Hear store at Stanford Mall in Palo Alto, CA. I was working in Palo Alto at the time and had started going to the Hear store after work to listen to CDs. It was the only store I had been in at the time where you could wander from display to display listening to whatever CD was on the headphones. Curious about the CD display card's "kitchen sink" description, I gave Ozo a listen.
Things haven't been quite the same for me since. I had never heard such a band before. 10 guys from East LA who play a combination of hip-hop, salsa, and funk, all with a Latin music undercurrent. I bought the CD and listened to it over and over. When Ozo came out with Embrace the Chaos, I bought that too.
I only have the first two CDs, but I'm going to remedy that situation tomorrow evening after I hang out with the penguins. One thing I love about this band is the sound is very nostalgic for me. Since I'm half Mexican, that Latin undercurrent/Mariachi sound reminds me dearly of my grandfather, who used to play the guitar for me, and of my childhood.
I had never seen Ozo live until last night although I figured they must play a monster live show. I was right. Late last month when I was feeling like the broken hearted loser completely incapable of ever finding someone who will actually care about me (okay, so I'll admit it's over a month later and I still feel that way much of time, but I'm getting over it - very slowly), I decided that I needed to have some kind of fun so I bought my single Ozo ticket.
Yes, I went to a concert alone for the first time. I was too upset to go through the sometimes humiliating process of trying to find someone to go with me. I don't know anyone who's even heard of Ozo except one person and he doesn't want to have anything to do with me.
Last night I had my doubts. I've been to The Fillmore before to see the Stay Cats (what a fucking monster show that was!), but that was a long time ago and I was worried about it. I also thought that going to a concert alone would be like going on a roller coaster alone: somewhat fun, but a curiously empty experience when you don't have someone else there to scream with.
I went anyway. Thank God.
I've seen a few shows in my life and THAT WAS THE BEST FUCKING SHOW I'VE EVER SEEN! They were unbelievable! I danced for so long and so hard that I must have lost five pounds from slamming my ass around and sweating buckets. My neck, hips and back were so stiff when I left The Fillmore and walked out elated into the cold San Francisco night that I had to take a muscle relaxer when I went to bed. I lost my voice because I sang to all the songs I knew, all the songs in Spanish (even though I don't speak Spanish and most certainly had them wrong) and even sang to the songs I'd never heard before. I lost my voice because I screamed my head off.
Carlos Santana was in house but he didn't play. They were very proud of that and kept mentioning it. Chali 2na was in the house (he was on the first album) and they played one of my all time favorite Ozo songs the Cut Chemist Suite. We were in the house and the walls were burning and sweating.
Did I miss having someone there with me? Not really. It would have been nice, but it didn't detract from what will probably rank as one of the top three shows I've ever seen in my life when I look back as I'm laying on my deathbed.
Ozo is playing tonight and tomorrow too. I thought about going again, but I'm still really muscle sore. We'll see. I may decide to chuck everything and go see them tomorrow too.
I have learned the hard way that it does help, no matter how deep your grief is or how much you just want to curl up into a ball and die, to fill your life with glorious experiences like seeing the best concert of your life or writing a novel in a month. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it does prove that you can make your life better and you do have the power to make great things happen even when all seems lost.