Once again, the Colombian capital city had the chance to show why it is the place for live culture. It began around seven p.m.; everything was set for a night to remember and the orchestra ready to awe the crowd with the symphonic tribute to rock. Although the audience already had an idea of what they would listen to, the expectations were high. They surely were waiting for an exciting night of majestic renditions of the greatest Rock hits of all times. Of course, the String Orchestra of Bogotá delivered well. Everyone’s favorites would resound, in a musical medley, at the Teatro Cafam de Bellas Artes.
Founded in January 2009 by Masters Jorge Arciniegas and Laura Sandoval, the String Orchestra of Bogotá – OCB in Spanish – was formed as a private cultural entity with the purpose of creating coexistence spaces through diffusion of academic and local music, creating educational programs in the music field and performing arts promotion.
The Orchestra has performed in the most critical stages of Bogotá with innovative proposals such as: Club El Nogal “Symphonic Mexico” (2009), Archdiocesan Major Seminary “Musical History Tour” (2011), Fine Arts Theatre Cafam “Let’s meet Chamber Music”(2011), Musical” Christmas Miracle “(2012-2013), Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitan “Symphonic Tribute to Lucho Bermúdez”(2012) with the support of the Ministry of Culture, among others. The orchestra has also collaborated on feature productions by well-known artists like Jorge Celedón and Grupo Niche.
Now back to the concert. Facing the orchestra, Jorge walked towards the podium to start to lead. Standing there, the young conductor looked like a confident man at a bar who had just ordered his Manhattan or dry Martini exactly the way he likes it. The show started with an energetic rendition of an Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Summer’ excerpt, empowered by the drums played by Christian Gaitán. It was something surprisingly good and well played to get the show started. Next, on the playlist would come ‘Eye of the Tiger’ (Survivor), ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Let it be’ (The Beatles) and ‘Angie’ (Rolling Stones). The audience could not do less than applaud standing to the orchestra since they sounded incredibly moving due to the combination of memories and beautiful melodies. At times, you could hear some people humming along. ‘Dust in the Wind’ (Kansas) was next on the setlist, not just another classic to keep amazing the crowd.
Next, would come the Spanish rock section of the night, with ‘Entre Canibales’, ‘Persiana Americana’ (Soda Stereo) and ‘Lenguaje de Mi Piel’ by the most famous Colombian rock band of all times: Kraken. Singer Nancy Huérfano reminded the audience that Elkin Ramirez, leader, and singer of Kraken had been through a difficult illness and was now in recovery. ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ and ‘November Rain’ (Guns ‘n’ Roses) were next, allowing the audience to sing along. At these songs, you could notice that Juan Jade and Nancy Huerfano’s voices were the right ones for the concert. Juan Jade even danced like Axl Rose used to when singing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. He has got the moves!
The concert went on with ‘Wind of Change’ (Scorpions) which set the mood, creating a melancholic atmosphere, something sublime. Next song ‘Good Riddance’ (Green Day) raised the spirit a bit to welcome The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ that somehow announced a romantic set to come. Indeed, ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ (Aerosmith) confirmed it. People sang along motivated by singer Nancy. Next, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ (Metallica); the symphonic version of this song is something that the same band already did for their album ‘S&M’ back in 1999, but the String Orchestra of Bogotá showed what they can do and played the song superbly. Same happened with ‘Fade to Black’ in which the guitar player stood out by executing that long solo that the song features. What to say about ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (Led Zeppelin)? Simply “WOW!” it was stunning. Some people sure got the chills listening to that melodic piece of heaven.
‘The Final Countdown’ was the last tune before a short break. The setlist so far left the audience cheering for more, so the orchestra kindly came back for the last couple of songs that would amaze the audience even more. The last two songs were ‘I Hate Myself for Loving You’ (Joan Jett) and ‘Somebody to Love’ (Queen), by the end of which the audience stood up, applauded and cheered energetically, letting the orchestra know that it was a memorable night, something to remember for a long time. Alternatively, at least until next year, when the Symphonic Tribute to Rock will take place again.
In summary, we can say that we were lucky enough to enjoy one of the best Symphonic Tribute to Rock on a Saturday night; also, the orchestra sounded fantastic.