Sergio Mendes, Morcheeba @ Hollywood Bowl 07/30/10
Brazillian maestro Sergio Mendes has made the Hollywood Bowl something of a second home ever since his 1968 debut. On Friday night, midway through his set, he declared it “my favorite place in the world.” And the love is reciprocated almost annually; in the past five seasons alone, he’s been on three of them. It’s easy to see why the mutual love affair continues; Mendes’ breezy bossa nova sounds are the perfect soundtrack for a summer evening involving a bandshell, a picnic dinner, and a glass of wine.
Mendes’ shows shave taken on a familiar arc for the last decade. He’ll usually open with a mess of classic Brazil 66/77 songs, then drop a few tunes from his more recent albums, proceed to an instrumental segment, during which Bahian percussionist Bibi routinely leaves jaws on the ground with, I’m not kidding, a cowbell solo followed by a tambourine solo, then a few more new songs before going back to the oldies for the big finish. His band is always ridiculously tight and fluid, and radiates a relaxed intensity. His wife Graicinha Leporace leads the trio of gorgeous female singers who sing in eerily perfect unison throughout. And all of it flows like water.