The Mexican Diva Ely Guerra performed for a full house at the Knitting Factory on Sunday, July 22, 2007; the dark loungy venue was full, there were enthused fans from wall-to-wall, the opening bands were Tres Colores and Arepa.
After the first two bands the curtain dropped, the anticipation rose as the roadies prepped the stage; the murmurs of the crowd grow into a loud hullabaloo.
Only a few minutes passed when the stage was set humbly with one bar stool, a microphone stand, one amplifier and three acoustic guitars, including her trademark pink guitar. The curtain rose, the crowd chanted "Ely, Ely, Ely, Eeeeee...lyyyyyy" and Ely appeared before them dressed all in black in skinny jeans, stilettos and a tuxedo jacket simple and deep as that.
She grabbed one of her guitars and strummed her first note, the room roared. As she opened her mouth and sang her first verse, the room pacified, people bodies swayed side to side like snakes in the snake charmers trance.
It never fails ... there's always one in the crowd, the loud drunk idiot competing for the center of attention. Ely courteously implied for silence between song verses, which unacknowledged over the guy's head.
She sang louder, strummed a little harder trying to drown the laughing and giggling sounds. At one point I even saw her signal her soundman to turn it up. She let it go about half way through her song; when suddenly she turned her microphone away from her mouth, then she slowly began to dropping the volume of her voice and strummed lighter and lighter. One of those timeless diva moments, where she probably thought, "Who filled this room on Sunday night? Who did the people come to hear?"
Ely Guerra, that's who!
She went completely acoustic, lightly strumming her guitar, murmuring soft gentle, bitter/sweet lullabies.
It was as if for a minute or two time stood still.
Ely took back what was rightfully hers. If a cell phone would have gone off at that exact moment, I am sure the crowd would have gotten the poor cat out a "PANBASOS!"
Ely was in the house and commanded full attention.
From that point on, the entire show went flawlessly, she handled her business like a real lady. Ely indulged her crowd as they showed a repertoire of her album covers between songs. You'd hear one voice louder than the rest shout out "Mi Playa" and Ely would say an instant before her guitar strummer touched the strings of her guitar, "ME ARANCO CON MI PLAYA!"
She ended her show with "De La Calle" off her Lotofire album gently, sweetly, sourly, hot and spicy rocking the house.
Bravisima, La Ely!
Music & Entertainment Correspondent, LA