Go Tejano Day breaks attendance record
Calibre 50, a young quartet from across border, finds footing, shows ‘what fiestas in Mexico are like’
It could have been four couples, a large family or a girls’-night-out group.
Whatever the combination, Sunday’s Go Tejano Day performance broke the all-time paid attendance record by just eight people.
This year’s total for Calibre 50 was 75,565 fans. Last year’s Banda el Recodo and Siggno combo drew 75,557.
A total of six Go Tejano Day performances now hold spots in the alltime top 20 paid attendance.
Calibre 50, a young quartet from Mexico, certainly seems to merit the distinction. The band boasts 10 No. 1 singles on Billboard's Regional Mexican Airplay chart, 1.7 billion YouTube views, 12 million Facebook fans and 2.3 million monthly streams on Spotify.
Its sound is largely built on polka-based corridos that examine Mexico’s drug culture, immigration, ranch life and romance.
The music isn’t much for subtlety or nuance. A bright red tuba and yellow accordion dominated much of the performance. The drummer struggled to keep up during openers “Las Ultras” and “Que Tiene de Malo.”
Frontman Edén Muñoz wavered off key during “Amor del Bueno.” But he was aided by the first of many thunderous singalongs.
With only four members, the stage looked uncharacteristically bare. But they worked hard to fill the space by each taking a different corner.
Muñoz frequently shouted out Mexico, other Latin American countries and single ladies.
“We want to show you what fiestas in México are like,” he said.
The band found its footing with the rapidfire “La Gripa” and the shuffling “Amor Limosnero.”
There’s something to be said for the gritty nature of the music. It speaks to a fan base uninterested in auto-tune or pop polish.
Rows of fans in the standing-room crowd watched, transfixed, from just above the seats on the lower level. Couples danced amid the concessions. Groups of men hugged one another’s shoulders and swayed to the music.
And unlike so many previous shows, very few people walked out before the show was done.
“Corrido de Juanito” was one of the set’s most powerful moments. The song details the story of an immigrant living in the U.S. illegally who can’t return to his homeland and is caught in a culture clash with his sons, who speak English.
Muñoz introduced it with a rousing speech about Latino pride and rising above struggle, “even to fight for a country that is not ours.”
The passionate response was proof that those messages connected with the crowd.
Calibre 50 also made history as the first Go Tejano Day solo act in several years. The evening usually features two performer.
That meant the annual mariachi competition crowned a winner prior to Calibre 50’s performance. It was a perfect warmup for the main event.
Mariachi Mariposas, an all-female troupe from Mission, took the title with lively renditions of “Hermoso Cariño” and “Volver, Volver.” Bonus points for their regal purple and gold outfits.
Mariachi Mariposas, an all-female troupe from Mission, energizes the crowd at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Go Tejano Day. The group performed a lively rendition of “Hermoso Cariño.”