Esteban The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Uncasville, CT August 19, 2011
by Roger Zotti
Esteban’s August 19 concert at the Mohegan Sun was proof that, as the great novelist Thomas Mann once said, “Music quickens time.” It was one of the fastest 105 minutes I’ve experienced in a long time.
Of the show, longtime Esteban fan Mike Weltman said, “It was a jam session—jammed with goodies.” And I’ll wager the audience felt the same way. Accompanied by his daughter Teresa on violin and a four-piece band, the internationally renowned guitarist opened his set with “Eleanor Rigby” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Stepping forward, he thanked everyone for coming to the Wolf Den, and added that tonight he’d talk a little but “mostly play.” So with the next two numbers, he said, “we’ll start slow and then do a thing with them.” The “thing” was to slowly increase the tempo of the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” and seamlessly segue into the great Rolling Stones’ “As Tears Go By.”
The charismatic Esteban is unabashedly romantic. So, it wasn’t a surprise when he praised “A Time for Us,” the love theme from Franco Zifferelli’ Romeo and Juliet (1968). Of course, he performed it with characteristic passion. Then, after acknowledging his daughter Teresa, who had quickly won over the audience with her violin artistry, personality, and good looks, Esteban noted how important it is to “keep music in your family.”
Next up: “Besame Mucho.” From Andy Russell (I’m going way back for his rendition) to Mario Lanza, from The Beatles (that’s right, The Beatles) to Trini Lopez, from Andrea Bocelli to Elvis Presley, and from Dean Martin to Danny Aiello—it seems to every singer in the world has covered this classic. (My favorite vocal version is Cesaria Evora’s. Check it out on You Tube.)
Pointing out that he never plays any song the same way twice, Esteban moved briskly into a cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway.” As expected, his version brought the crowd to its feet for a standing ovation.The man with the bolero hat ended his concert with a stirring medley of “Here Comes the Sun,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Play Me.”