It was 7:30 PM, and the doors to the Vogue Theatre were supposed to have been open already. The line snaked from the entrance, around the corner, and all the way down the next block, full of excited people from all walks of life, ages, and styles. Apparently, Rodrigo y Gabriela are a pretty big deal, selling out the Vogue on a Thursday night on their first time playing in Vancouver.
The ticket showed no opener, but a little after everyone piled into the theatre, Zach Heckendorf took the stage with only his guitar and a spotlight. His short set was captivating; his fingerpicking rhythms were smooth and catchy with the vocals on the first songs reminding me of Dave Matthews and his later songs, as someone quipped, “a non-douchey, acoustic John Mayer,” which was pretty on point. Zach Heckendorf is definitely a musician worth checking out.
The lights came up, and people scurried to replenish their drinks. Then Gabriela limped onto the stage with some assistance and took her place on a chair, followed by Rodrigo. They launched into a song right away, and the audience was hooked. The duo’s timing was perfect, with exceptional technical skills. They used every part of their classical guitars, building their song to a feverish crescendo before plunging the tempo back down to build it up once again. It was a ride, and one was lucky enough to have been along for it.
Foregoing a set list, Rodrigo y Gabriela instead took requests from fans in the crowd and even invited them to dance on the stage. In tribute to their time busking in the UK, they talked and interacted with the audience and then proceeded to ignite their guitars. They each took a solo to show off their individual prowess. Gabriela’s was a beautiful piece that left the crowd awe-inspired.
Rodrigo spent some time demonstrating his fantastic skills with the guitar before he delivered a cover of “Creep” by Radiohead, much to the crowd’s enjoyment. His voice was surprisingly good, and he let the crowd know that their all-instrumental show was a choice, not a necessity.
The duo then continued to delight the diverse and eclectic crowd, bringing them to their feet for a standing ovation and a clapping, shouting, stomping demand for an encore, which Rodrigo y Gabriela granted to a final standing applause.
As one looked around at people as they left the Vogue that night, it reinforced the idea that good music is a universal language. Music defies boundaries. It enters the body, engages the senses, and speaks directly to the soul. Audiences left the Vogue last night with a smile spread widely and a taste of music still lingering in their ears.
View more photos of Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Vogue Theatre here.