Us Two and The Band
Elton John and ABBA
Followers gathered to enjoy the delightful pair of Noemí Plascencia and Daniel Celis – Us Two – with their proudly chosen band of Alex Shilinsky, drummer extraordinaire, Fernando Ibarra on keyboard, Jared Garcia, bass and Jorge Rodriguez Gordian, first guitar. Alex does not play the customary drum kit [or set] but beats his rhythm on a Roland Octapad, a digital percussion pad.
The five musicians played a medley of top songs of these two longtime groups. Diana Villamonte graced the stage dancing away to “Hot Stuff” from Donna Summer. She energized the audience and displayed what her Diana Ross show here offers in fine song selection and vocalizations. She is The Star. Onto the stage appeared the duo we came to hear and see. Opening tune tied into the dance theme with the superlative ABBA “Dancing Queen”…And she’s only seventeen! The pair literally glistened on the floor exuding the joy of being in front of live people and not in a quarantined room practicing their material, adding here, editing out this part. They had months to perfect and the result is what they offered tonight.
Danny prides himself as Elton John and gave us “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. He remarked that they are not imitating these singers but take the songs, listen and then revise them, making the musical pieces their own. This is evident as they continued through all these smash hits, sounding like the original but along with their band created their own distinctive arrangement and sound. Noemí announced a sad song “The Winner Takes It All” hoping for a victory in sheer defeat. Her voice was extremely lovely with this song. An ultimate classic followed with “Candle in the Wind”. Goodbye Norma Jean [Marilyn Monroe], which Elton sang at Princess Diana’s funeral.
ABBA was the subject of a wildly popular 1999 musical made into a 2008 film “Mamma Mia”. The soundtrack was all their compositions done by the cast. The play has been successfully staged here for a couple seasons and is returning. A number of the entries are described here. The group’s forte came forth with a solid unique arrangement of “Chiquitita” in which they started in English, then sang choruses in Spanish only to revert back to English in finishing. It was a remarkable production. Bursting wildly, “Waterloo”: Noemí lamented that she lost the war ending in his fate. Daniel loves his trusty guitar and brings it out when appropriate for his music.
“We are going to take a short break”, Daniel said, and the band broke only to return with a continued overture medley. “Sad Songs” Daniel declared in his best Elton John vocals. Then Noemí pleaded for her man to “Take a Chance on Me”. Any man would after watching her gentle movements swaying and swirling. Sadness entered the room again with the beautiful composition from Elton “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. Daniel grasped the tune and in absorption, he sent out the lyrics with a sweet melody.
Slowing edging down the path, Us Two led us in “The Wizard of Oz” saying “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, the trek to happiness, success, fame and riches. They treated the song with loving softness. Breaking loose, ABBA brought us “Super Trooper” stirring our bodies from the feet upward. Daniel strongly stated that “I’m Still Standing”: “Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind.”
A hush seeped into the venue with the introduction of one of the best songs written, “Your Song” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. All ears were a-tuned to Danny as he laid out this tremendous ballad. This was a definite high point of the event. ABBA would not go away, and the band and singers bounced into “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! [A Man After Midnight].
As promised, they finished the evening with “Rocket Man”, another outstanding example of their personal arrangements making a tune their very own. Everyone was flying high into the starlit air knowing that they would return to another collection of memorable tunes. The Beatles are rumored to be on the horizon.
Insurgentes 330, Colonia Emiliano Zapata, Zona Romántica, SouthSide, Puerto Vallarta.