He walked on stage with the stride of one who owns it. Looking sharp in his tailored suit, satin tie and red handkerchief, he looked happy to be there, and his contagious smile seemed genuine.
It had been a while since Cheo Feliciano, the great Puerto Rican sonero, had performed in Los Angeles, and on a recent Friday at the Conga Room, his fans showed him that he had been missed.
Accompanied by a group of talented Los Angeles musicians, two of his own singers --one of them later introduced as ?Cheito? Feliciano, his son -- and by Luis Garcia, who has accompanied Cheo throughout most of his career, Cheo presented his audience with a mixture of boleros, cha-cha-chas, Salsas, even a few tunes he called ?pachangas?.
The boricua?s elegant and distinguishable voice kept his audience enthralled. People stood near the stage, moving to the beat of the music, only seldom daring, or wanting, to even look away.
He sang many of the songs that made him famous throughout the years, "587 a?os de cantar" as he kept on telling the crowd (more like 45 really). He sang in honor of other artists, his friends from long ago, such as Tito Rodriguez and Tite Curet Alonso. It was a delightful performance, integrating his enormous talent, his great sense of humor, and a definite high quality of work. In exchange, he received roses and keepsakes from his adoring lady-fans nearest by, the flashes of their cameras, and the enthusiastic applause of everyone present.
Between those in attendance were several writers for recognized Los Angeles newspapers and event magazines, as was actor and Conga Room co-owner Jimmy Smith, and well, also an eye kept open for LatinoLA.com!
Requested back on stage by the crowd?s cheers, Cheo ended the night with one of his best known songs, and which the audience continued to cry out for, ?Anacaona?. It was the ultimate ending to a fantastic evening.
In the words of Cheo himself: ?Como la pasamos? Sabroso!!!?