We weren’t allowed to carry a walkman in high school so I would hide mine in my locker on the second floor of the science building until school was over. Though my walk home was only a few blocks away it helped pass the time. Neddless to say it was also cool to throw on your headphones and have your group of friends ask you what you were listening to. My group of friends would always hang out by our locker after school because it was also the cool thing to do and we hang, and shoot the shit about our everyday high school lives.
I remember having to lie about what tape I had in my walkman, “I’m listening to U2, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, or any other “in” KROQ band I would answer. It wasn’t true but it would help me sound cool. Those bands were acceptable and liking them gave you status in my high school. Reality was, I would have a cassette tape that my friend who grew up in TJ (Tijuana) would let me borrow. It was usually a rock en espanol tape, anywhere from Caifanes, Soda Stereo, or his favorite, Heroes del Silencio, which I borrowed but never heard because I just couldn’t get into it.
For years now Soda Stereo would be rumored to reunite. Gustavo Cerati, frontman of the group was now a successful solo artist and had often rebutted the rumors saying that a reunion wouldn’t be happening. Cerati’s musical career had evolved, he was now in a different place, dabbling with electronica, and taking his fun, post eighties dance rock into a more sophisticated sound. But with the success of recent reunion tour of Spaniards Heroes del Silencio selling out stadium concerts across Latin America and Europe anything was possible.
Finally, on June 9th it was confirmed, after ten years Soda Stereo was reuniting for a series of shows to commemorate their ten years of separation. The tour was named “Me Veras Volver” a lyric from one of their biggest hits “En La Cuidad de la Furia”.
Within twenty-four hours ninety thousand tickets had been sold for their reunion concerts at River Plate Stadium, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the place where the band had played their final show in 1997.
In the end five more shows were added to River Plate, all sold out, breaking records. There would only be three US shows on this tour, with highlight being the Los Angeles show that was becoming the most anticipated Latin Alternative show in years. It was a far reach from Soda Stereo’s first US show in 1989 when Soda played at the Palace (now the Avalon) in Hollywood, after the release of their album Doble Vida. It would have set you back 10 dollars to have seen them then, and face value for a floor seat at the Home Depot Center today were going for $200. Times had changed.
Soda Stereo was back and it was a chance for a generation to see a legendary band, who through the course of their career had inspired many kids to pick up their guitars, get some friends together and start a band in their garage. It was a chance for those who had only heard Soda Stereo in the night clubs, those who owned the mix rock en espanol bootlegs with “De Musica Ligera” mixed in, to finally see their heroes perform in person. So $200 huh? Who could put a price on history?
At 20:24pm on the 21st of November, Gustavo Cerati (lead vocals, guitar), Charlie Alberti (drums), Zeta Bosio (Bass), with the help of Tweedy Gonzales on keyboards, took the stage at the Home Depot Center… on a stage set designed by Martin Philips, who has designed sets for Daft Punk, Nine Inch Nails and U2… stood a video screen backdrop, which divided into three separate screens, came together, apart, and transformed into different shapes and come back together like a puzzle… and for me, transformed the band which I had been embarrassed by years before, into the same breathe as the U2, the Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones which once covered for them in my high school hallway. The opening chords of “Juego de Seduccion” began and the moment was here. “Voy hacer tu mayordomo” vowed Cerati… Soda was back.
Soda took us on a journey, masterfully performing songs from their historic career that began in 1984 with their self-titled debut. ‘Esta cancion es de nuestro primer disco’ announced Cerati, introducing Tele-K, and continuing with Texturas, and Hombre al Agua. Not letting the near capacity crowd rest for a moment, artfully incorporating their most successful songs into their 2 ½ hour set. The Angelino audience came to life with Persiana Americana... as I took a look around the stadium… not a soul in their seat, all fans were singing along…
The forty-eight year old frontman confessed to the audience he was suffering from a cold. Though from the projection in his voice and as tight as the band sounded, nobody would have dared noticed. Feeling the electricity in the cold night one can’t help but wonder why a band this great would ever choose to call it quits. After selling seven million records in their career, an MTV uplugged, and a farewell live concert cd, Soda’s history had been written. Cerati has admitted that there are no plans for a record, or continued touring with Soda Stereo. In 2008 everyone would go back to life as usual.
Ole, ole ole ole.. soda… soda… ole, ole ole ole… soda.. soda...
Over twenty-two thousand chanted anxiously for Soda to return for an encore. There I stood, arm in arm with familiar faces and complete strangers who over the last two hours had become my best friends… as we sang together, moshed together, took pictures with cell phones together, battled the cold together on front stage left… and, together, we experienced perhaps the greatest concert we would ever see in our lives…
Soda returned and finished their first encore with Profugos… they would leave the stage and the lights faded out… Los Angeles had waited so long they couldn’t possibly let Soda go so easily… The band returned and armed themselves with their instruments and performed a second encore, ending their set with Te Hacen Falta Vitaminas a song from early in their career that reminded us all just how simple and fun music can be. After twenty-five years since they had first come together in Argentina and began playing in the underground clubs, Cerati, Alberti, and Bosio, embraced arm in arm, stood at the front of the stage in front of Los Angeles, and waived goodbye for perhaps the final time.
As I walked home from high school my sophomore year… over the railroad tracks... kicking rocks… through hot summer afternoons and stormy winter weather… with my walkman in hand, stopping briefly to flip the cassette over to side B, it was Soda Stereo… not U2, Pearl Jam or Depeche Mode… to Soda, I apologize… era nada personal.
Chau Soda… gracias totales.
Me Veras Volver… Tour Sidenotes
Ecuador- 41,000 Estadio Alberto Moreno Spencer
Chile- 126,000 Estadio Nacional (breaking the previous record over two dates set by the reunion of Los Prisioneros in 2002)
Columbia- Parque Simon Bolivar
Mexico- 180,000 total Monterrey, Guadalajara & D.F.
Los Angeles- 22,000 Home Depot Center
Argentina- 6 sold out dates at River Plate stadium, breaking the previous record (5) set by the Rolling Stones. 360,000 total
By the end of the tour over 1 million Soda fans would see them perform live.
Requires 50 stagehands to construct
30 tons of gear total (taken from city-to-city for every show)