I first went to see Paco Pena years ago at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. I’ve managed to miss him ever since, mostly because there was something else on at the same time; this time it was Bo Diddley who was playing. He has sadly had a stroke and the concert was called off. It’s an ill wind, as it mean that I got to see Paco instead.

The last time I saw him solo. Now he has three guitarists, two vocalists, a percussionist and three dancers. Flamenco is arrogant, brash and melodramatic; Paco Pena’s show lived up to this. The music was wonderful though, and the dance astounding.

I have to be honest and say that I prefer the music: the stage lights were quite bright (I was sitting at the edge of the stage, directly in the path of from lights from the other side). After a while, my eyes got sore. And I missed the intricate and flamboyant playing of 15 years ago; we only got a single solo piece.

Still, this is to be a curmudgeon. The night was wonderful; the music compelling and exciting; the adrenalin made my knees go weak. I hope that it’s not another 15 years before I get to see him again.

Originally published on my old blog site.