Caetano Veloso - The third chapter of my South American trilogy starting with Os Mutantes last year and Gilberto Gil last month. Veloso is a massive talent and musically bridges Gil and Mutantes quite nicely. He, in fact, brought Os Mutantes forward as teenagers to be his backing band for some pivotal shows in his career. And all of this seemed pretty clear in his sound last night. He covered old and new with a 3 piece rock band behind him that played that amazing mixture of bossa nova, samba, psychedelia, rock, folk and pop. I only have a few old vinyl records of his, so I was not familiar with all of the songs he did, but that mattered little. They were just complex enough while not losing the pop hooks he has always been able to create. Veloso was in fine voice and moved around the stage well, really looking ever the fit 67 year old. The crowd was naturally responsive and finally by set's end and encores rushed toward the stage and danced in the aisles. The guitarist was excellent, really nailing some wild psychedelic breaks. A nickname like "the Bob Dylan of Brazil" could be an annoying anchor to some (and probably is to him) but I don't mind using it if it perks the interest of people who have not experienced Veloso or Tropicalia. His recordings are worth seeking out (I need to step this up as well) and thankfully the live show is vibrant and exciting.
Book Review: I can also strongly recommend one of the finest books on the arts that I have ever read, Caetano Veloso's "Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil". Veloso covers his fascinating life as well as other Tropicalia artists and other artists outside of music. It is dense, philosophical and challenging (too challenging for some narrow minded types based on the Amazon reviews I read). Veloso has great intellectual, artistic and personal strengths which he has needed, as like Gilberto Gil and Plastic People of the Universe, he has been jailed (and exiled) for his politics and art. Give it a read, give him a listen. Enjoy, for it is easy to enjoy even without the incredible history.