Written by Lucero Estrella
As a kid growing up in a border city, I was constantly exposed to Spanish music from different Latin American artists on the local and Mexican radio stations. Among the mix of songs and artists on the radio was one amazing superstar from Medellín, Columbia, Juan Esteban Vásquez, more commonly known as Juanes. With his mixtures of Latin rock and pop, Juanes has conquered the hearts of many people around the world with his music– and the 16 million of copies CDs sold, two Grammys, and 19 Latin Grammys are there to prove it.
Being at the first weekend Austin City Limits (ACL) festival on Saturday, October 4, took me back to my childhood. Juanes shared the stage with his group and constantly changed guitars to perform both old and new music. He played his new hits, “Loco de Amor,” “Mil Pedazos,” and “La Luz,” as well as older songs like “La Paga” and “Me Enamora,” and the popular hit “A Dios le Pido.” The moment that Juanes stepped on stage and began signing “Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor,” I felt goose bumps all over my body. Standing in the front rows next to people singing and dancing along to Juanes’ songs was an unforgettable experience.
Juanes finished his performance with a surprising cover of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “Could You Be Loved,” and then closed the night with one of his most popular hits, “La Camisa Negra. ” This left the crowd begging for an encore — me included. After the performance, I waited with a crowd of fans to catch a glimpse of Juanes backstage, and I was lucky enough to stand less than a foot away from him and snap a few pictures.
Being able to see Juanes live was a million times better than listening to him on my CD player — for the younger readers, an old-school device before the iPod. His voice, appearance, and presence made me feel like a child once again. I can’t wait for Juanes to return to Austin so I can watch him once more.