Believe me, hundreds of local Salseros are glad they didn’t miss this one.
A steady steam of handsome musicians began arriving at Diversite at approximately 9:00 PM. Oscar D’Leon would appear later. He took stage at approximately midnight. There were so many musicians I had to count them. Nineteen plus Oscar made 20. There were more horn players than most Salsa orchestras have musicians. There were two lines of brass; five saxophonists in chairs up front and four trombonists and four trumpeters making up the back line.
|The band began with a non-Salsa traditional introduction number that brought Oscar to the stage amongst a throng of cheering fans. Once he was situated the band began to play what the audience craved– Oscar’s hits. He delivered one number after another with no breaks, no small talk, no nonsense. He performed for a crowd who would have fared well as Name-That-Tune contestants. D’Leon ‘s band began playing and by the third or fourth note the audience would go wild upon quickly recognizing a favorite song.
His band is well rehearsed and tight. They stopped between songs only long enough for their leader Oscar, to count out the five-six, five-six-seven-eight, tempo of the next tune. He continued in this fashion for nearly an hour. After a ten-minute break he started the second set of more hits delivered in rapid-fire succession.
Oscar D’Leon and his band demonstrated musical excellence. It is a superlative pleasure to hear an orchestra play with power, precision, varying dynamics, high energy and to witness the members having fun while doing so. It is always impressive to see a band that needs no transition time between songs and doesn’t waste the audience’s time with idle chat.
As usual Oscar D’Leon was good natured and accommodating to the many fans that jumped on stage to pose for a quick snapshot with the star they love. At first it was all women posing and then men also took advantage of the moment to get a photo that will preserve memories of that occasion.
Although it is difficult for many to go out on a weeknight these are precisely the times that top name bands become affordable to small markets like Washington, DC. Top name Salsa bands charge several thousand dollars more for weekend performances which of course must be passed on to the ticket buyer.
SalsaCentro did its best to encourage Salsa fans to make a small investment in time and money to be able to include memories of Oscar at Diversite in their memory bank. For fans that have seen Oscar before, this appearance lived up to their high expectations. For those who saw him for the first time his performance dazzled and amazed them.
There are some acts worth the sleep deprivation that goes along with staying out late during the week. Oscar D’Leon is certainly one of them and for the bargain price of $20.00. To those of you who made the decision not to attend this performance be sure you made the wrong decision.