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Bésame Mucho 2023 recap: Maná and Los Bukis bring the vibes


Welcome to live coverage of the 2023 Bésame Mucho festival.

This year’s headliners are Maná, Los Bukis and Gloria Trevi. Other acts will include Los Lobos, Los Ángeles Azules, Natalia Lafourcade, Café Tacvba, Caifanes, Ramon Ayala, Pepe Aguilar and many more iconic Latino acts.

The festival, which sold out within 70 minutes of ticket releases for the single-day lineup, will be held at Dodger Stadium with four stages representing various genres and eras: Rockero, Las Clasicas, Beso and Te Gusta El Pop.

Doors open at 11 a.m., with the first performance scheduled for 11:25 a.m.

Follow along for coverage on performances, fan experiences and photos from Chavez Ravine.

1:00 p.m. Despite the forecast for cool weather, the sun is beaming down on the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

Attendees are already torn between what stages to attend. “The classic or rock stage?” a group of attendees debated, with one person in the group wearing a Caifanes shirt who will be performing at the Rockero stage later in the day. — Andrea Flores

1:20 p.m. “Y arriba Los Angeles!” Roberto Verduzco Ramirez, the lead singer from Industria Del Amor says to the crowd at the Beso Stage. Cheers from the crowd follow. They follow up with a cover of Rigo Tovar’s “El Sirenito,” and fans dance along. The performance even had event staff pausing to take videos. — A.F.

1:27 p.m. The first performance at the ¿Te Gusta El Pop? stage comes from Flor de Toloache, an all-female band who came dressed in pink jackets and sparkling pants. They performed Spanish covers of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.” — A.F.

Fans approach the pink El Buki bus

El Buki bus parked at the West entrance of Dodger Stadium.

(Suzy Exposito / De Los)

1:53 p.m. Love is certainly in the air at the West entrance, where the El Buki bus is parked and primed for fan photos. Painted flamingo pink — and decked with portraits of the head Buki himself, Marco Antonio Solís — the bus blasts the band’s greatest (and weepiest) hits. Fans are allowed to board the school bus and role-play life on the road. — Suzy Exposito

2:27 p.m. Flanked by a mixed-gender ranchera band, Paquita La Del Barrio, Mexican queen of sass, leads a spirited singalong of “Rata de Dos Patas” from her cozy throne on the Clasicas Stage — dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief for dramatic effect. The men in the audience have been put on notice.

Paquita la del Barrio

Paquita La del Barrio performs at Besame Mucho 2023 at Dodger Stadium.

(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times en Espanol)

“Since 1947, I’ve received more applause than money, and that’s what matters most,” she tells the crowd. — S.E. and A.F.

Legendary Mexican singer Paquita La del Barrio graced the stage at the Bésame Mucho festival accompanied by an attendant and in a wheelchair as a precautionary measure after being hospitalized with respiratory issues a week before her appearance.

According to her representative, Rulli Vega, the singer was hospitalized 10 days ago and spent a week under observation from her doctors.

“It was very difficult for her to breathe,” said Vega. “She went to the hospital 10 days ago, but after five days she got up, and here we are.”

After arriving to the “Classics” stage, one of four at the all-day music festival at Dodger Stadium, Paquita was placed in a wheelchair after climbing the steps to get to the stage. Later she moved to a gold chair to sing some of her classics, “Invitame a Pecar,” “Cheque en blanco” and “Me saludas a la tuya.”

Her fans appreciated her performance and chanted her name while she plowed through songs from her legendary career. — Tommy Calle

2:49 p.m. Oscar, from the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, is visiting L.A. with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Olivia. Bésame Mucho is the only reason that they are here, they said.

“I grew up with my dad playing Cafe Tacvba in our car,” Olivia said. — A.F.

3:22 p.m. As the Rockero stage falls behind schedule, Maldita Vecindad tells fans to “shake away the bad vibes and welcome new energy.”

Maldita Vecindad play the hit song “Pachuco,” and members of the crown join in as they shake their heads from side to side. — A.F.

Don’t quote me on this, but I think it’s illegal for ska bands to bring anything but good vibes. — S.E.

3:36 p.m. In stark contrast to the second-wave feminist rally that was Paquita’s set, the crass rap-rockers of Molotov walk onstage to a hip-hop classic, Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says” — then open with its raging breakout single from 1997, “Chinga Tu Madre.”

Later, its anti-racist fight song, “Frijolero,” galvanizes the crowd into shouts of “No me digas beaner!” The group powers through a few other songs with lyrics not fit to publish — including the return of a hateful, anti-gay slur they once retired from their repertoire.

The lead singer-guitarist, in a shining moment of squalor, yanks at his armpit and sprinkles the hairs towards the audience. — S.E.

3:38 p.m. Conjunto Primavera played the tear-jerker song “Necesito Decirte.” The norteño-sax band from Chihuahua, Mexico, paused its singing to hear the first chorus from the audience. — A.F.

There are so many people around me making out to Conjunto Primavera. It’s amazing what one sexy sax can do. — S.E.

4:17 p.m. Nostalgia hits the stage in the form of Kumbia Kings who announce they’re in the house after kicking things off with “No Tengo Dinero.”

“I am Selena-certified and that’s not A.B.,” a Kumbia King fan says as she points to the stage. Kumbia Kings was started by A.B. Quintanilla, Selena Quintanilla’s brother (A.B. was, in fact, on stage).

Missing on the Kumbia Kings stage was Pee Wee on the fan favorites “Chocolate” and “Dulce Niña,” but the audience sang along regardless.

After the Kumbia Kings finish their quick set (the briefest I’ve seen of the day) practically all the crowd shuffles to the other side of the festival, presumably to catch the main acts of the night, Maná and Los Bukis. — A.F.

4:53 p.m. Inside the press tent, the Latin Grammy-winning, all-woman mariachi band Flor de Toloache spoke to the L.A. Times about carving a niche for itself in an unlikely hometown for any mariachi band: New York City.

The band members reflect the city’s reputation as a melting pot, as they rep Mexican, Dominican and Cuban heritage.

“We started grassroots — by playing in the subways,” said vocalist-vihuela player Shae Fiol. “And if you can make it in New York … you can make it anywhere!” — S.E.

5:20 p.m. On the rock stage, the indie Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade delivers her soft rendition “Soledad y el Mar,” before switching mics and covering a Juan Gabriel rendition of “Ya No Vivo por Vivir.” — A.F.

5:45 p.m. The moment the crowd has been waiting for finally arrived during Natalia Lafourcade’s set as she performs her cumbia mix of “Nunca es Suficiente,” which she originally remixed with Los Angeles Azules. No sight of the band to accompany her, but that doesn’t stop the crowd from dancing along. — A.F.

6:00 p.m. In true East L.A. fashion, groundbreaking Chicano rockers Los Lobos convert the Beso Stage into a rockabilly family kickback. Generations of festivalgoers chow down on birria while the band rips through hits like “Soy Mexico Americano” — but several drop their plates and get up in a frenzy to dance to their chart-topping cover of “La Bamba.” — S.E.

6:21 p.m. Standing halfway between the classic and rock stage is arguably the busiest side of the park. It’s chilango time with Los Angeles Azules and Cafe Tacvba playing on their respective stages, and people are standing in the middle passageway to listen to both bands. But as soon as the Cumbia band starts playing “Nunca es suficiente para ti,” it’s clear those in between have chosen a side. – A.F.

7:00 p.m. Right on time, one of the most anticipated bands onthe night, Maná opened with their song “Señal.” Fans are already yelling “Échale vampiro,” the opening line from the band’s song “Me Vale.”- A.F.

7:07 p.m. Hot tip to those struggling with the evening chill: There is a man with a cowboy hat selling hot cocoa by the ¿Te Gusta El Pop? Stage. It’s eight bucks — which is about how much it’d cost in Silver Lake — but a toasty little thrill goes a long way in this weather. — S.E.

At the Rockero Stage, Mexican avant-gardists Café Tacvba breeze from ska to disco to dance punk — to the biggest crowd the fest has seen all day. (And that’s not just because Maná is on next.) Picture the moodiest primo/a in your family, multiply them by 2,000 and you get Café Tacvba’s audience, singing along wistfully to the emo-tinged indie-rock ballad, “Eres.” — S.E.

7:19 p.m. “Sigue estando Mexico aquí en Los Angeles” the lead singer Fher of Maná says to the audience, denoting the food, culture, and even people (women specifically). –A.F.

8:00 p.m. Besame Mucho’s jam-packed schedule is tricky for folks. Many are leaving Maná’s almost 2 hour show to catch other acts like Alejandro Fernandez and Gloria Trevi. But as folks pass through crowds, they’re jamming out to “Me Vale.” Fher manages to give the audience the middle finger as a symbol of the No-fucks-attitude of Me Vale. – A.F.

8:05 p.m. At long last… a gathering of the rocker foos commences at the Rockero Stage, where Maná hold court for nearly two epic hours.

Back at the Beso Stage, cumbia ensemble Grupo Cañaveral wages a sonic battle against Mexican pop-rock band Camila, whose piano-fortified power ballads struggle to rise above the bass booming from the rival stage. The strange mix of sounds (and vibes) has Camila fans confused, but dancing nevertheless! — S.E.

9:03 p.m. The temperature dropped but Los Bukis are bringing that Michoacán heat with their love ballad, “Quiéreme.” Their act transports us back to the 90’s, a time for long hair and carefree vibes. The Bukis reunited again in 2021 for their 1st tour in 25 years and are now one of the headliners this year at Besame Mucho this year. – A.F.

9:23 p.m. though the years have passed, Marco Antonio Solis continues to bring the same flare and excitement to the stage. Not only is he donning a long sparkling blazer/suit, but he’s playing standing drums as he sings. A multi-talented, and fashionable legend. – A.F.

9:46 p.m. “Hace frio, pero aquí siente muuuy calentito!” says Gloria Trevi to her screaming fans, shedding her shaggy pink coat to reveal a glittering silver getup fit for Club Renaissance.

The fashionably late Mexican pop queen makes up for the 10-minute delay with an explosive dance-rock marathon. She changes looks mid-set, emerging in an orange fishnet mini-dress to sing a nu-disco remix of her 1991 smash, “Pelo Suelto;” she then belts her way through a stretch of other 90s hits, including a breathless performance of “Con Los Ojos Cerrados,” and even sings upside-down for a spell in “Dr. Psiquiatra.”

She manages yet another costume change for her incisive new dance track, “Medusa” — perhaps to address her latest legal issues, in connection to her years ensnared in a disturbing arrangement with her convict ex-manager.

“They say I’m a monster … This is for all those they call monsters,” she says, dressed in scarlet sequins, with nod to her most disenfranchised of fans. Her high-octane set ends with a dose of high drama — and we wouldn’t expect anything less from La Trevi. —S.E.

10:39 p.m. I spy on the Beso Stage: three drum kits, three giant mushroom sculptures and one glowing Li Saumet from Bomba Estéreo. The Colombian singer wears flowers for earmuffs, and spreads her arms to reveal rainbow day-glo tassels streaming from her elbows.

The electro-tropical ensemble leads a psychedelic dance party, accented with samples of bird calls and massive, rumbling percussions.

“Let’s go to the beach,” says Saumet, ironically putting on a pink coat she famously sported at a Bad Bunny’s SoFi Stadium concert last year, embellished with a frilly vulva decal. As if under a trance, members of the audience undulate in sync to the beat as she leads us into a sultry rendition of 2015’s “Somos Dos,” followed by a sing-along to their dreamy ballad “To My Love.” The band takes an upbeat turn with a champeta jam session, jolting the crowd awake and steering us all into a Caribbean dance frenzy. — S.E.



Read More:Bésame Mucho 2023 recap: Maná and Los Bukis bring the vibes