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Cuco's Celestial Serenade: A Stellar Concert at White Oak Music Hall

Cuco on the Pulse Power Stage

Enchanting Dream-Pop Sensation Cuco ventured out on a solo tour this fall, the Hitchhiker Tour, leading up to the release of his newest EP of the same title. The tour included 11 dates across the U.S and Mexico. The tour ended on November 7, 2023, with his last stop being in Guadalajara, giving him and his band members only a couple of days to relax before the EP's official release on November 10, 2023.

Cuco released the first track of the album, "Planet Express", on October 6, 2023 with an accompanying storytelling 3D animated music video. The song itself tells a story of a lost love and the empty feeling left behind from them no longer being by your side. It's quite a contrast to Cuco's usual theme of love songs, letting us hear a different side of the singer and how he experiences and expresses heartbreak. However, it's no surprise that even his songs about heartbreak sound like love songs. While listening to "Planet Express" you can very well feel the love Cuco felt for his old lover in the way he still continues to praise her and reassure her of the importance she has in his life through his lyrics. By all means, this is not his only song about heartbreak, songs such as "We Had To End It" off of his album Songs4u and "Decir Adios" featuring DannyLux from the Fantasy Gateway album go about heartbreak from a more loving take, transforming the passion of that love into an enchanting ballad of losing what once was.

The Hitchhiker Tour was announced on August 18, 2023 across Cuco's social media platforms and fans were ecstatic for the opportunity to see him live. I myself subscribed for presale tickets and went on a mini adventure to see him live in McAllen, Texas alongside my best-friend and also had the amazing opportunity to capture his concert in Houston, TX. Both venues had a giant contrast from one being an indoor show vs. an outdoor show. During Cuco's performance at the McAllen convention center, trippy, almost psychedelic-trip like visuals accompanied him and his band members in the background, bringing a completely new feeling to Cuco's performance.

However, Cuco doesn't need visuals to have an electrifying show. His Houston show, on October 29,2023, was held at the White Oak Music Hall's Pulse Power stage, an outdoor stage that many indie artists, such as TV Girl, like to perform in when in Houston due to its more intimate feeling. The day of the concert I walked over a mile to the venue and saw so many thrilled fans waiting in the long line, all dressed up, some even in costumes in an early Halloween spirit. As soon as the doors for the show opened, fans flooded the outdoor venue space, claiming their spots across the lawn with an hour until Cuco's performance. Other fans went straight to the merch line to purchase their Hitchhiker Tour merch, decorated with a beautiful, cosmic, colorful art piece, which also happens to be the art of the tour poster. The merch ranged from cds, to shirts, and even a hoodie, perfect for the chilly outdoor weather. It probably also came in handy for some fans, as it seemed the sky was threatening rain. The White Oak Music Hall is a rain or shine venue, and I was fully preparing myself to capture Cuco in the rain. Thankfully, it only sprinkled for awhile.

While his fans waited for his performance to start, Cuco decided to come out from the White Oak Music Hall balcony to greet them, erupting immediate cheers and

setting the crowds energy to an all time high. Seconds after he left the balcony, fans still continued to speak about his sudden appearance and whether or not he would pop back out or not. He did not, but it was still sweet that he came out to greet us. Fans were still pilling in after Cuco's greeting, the lawn quickly filling up. Despite the show not being sold out, the lawn was still full left to right with exhilarated fans. I even overheard a few of them gushing about it being their first ever concert experience.

After some time, the sun had finally set, and the show was set to begin at 7:30pm. Fans erupted in excitement as the lights dimmed and started chanting "CUCO! CUCO! CUCO!", the

stage was then over casted in green lighting, the crowd screamed even more when Cuco yelled out "Houston!" from the shadows of the stage. After a few seconds, he walked onto the stage and started off the show with an unreleased song, See The Colors. It was an immediate hit with the fans, I know for a fact that they can't wait to finally hear the studio version.

After he finished performing the unreleased song, he smoothly transitioned into "Foolish," a song from his most recent album Fantasy Gateway and one of my personal favorites. After hearing "Foolish" for the first time ever at the McAllen show, and then again at the Houston show, I fell in love. It was no surprise that the crowd went wild and excitedly sang along to it. "Foolish" is just the kind of song that makes you want to dance, even when you don't know how to. Really, a lot of his songs are, especially the ones with a Hispanic musical influence to them. During the performance of the new unreleased song, "Foolish," and "Lava Lamp" (seriously all HITS) I was able to capture Cuco from up close and got to witness how he interacted directly with the crowd, as well as his band members.

Throughout the show, Cuco interacted with his band members and the crowd quite a lot. There was a brief moment where the crowd waved to him and he waved back, causing fans to try to catch his attention again throughout the show, during various songs he walked around the stage singing directly to his band members and making silly faces at them

, he took time out of the show to sign fans various items like a show setlist and other

memorabilia, he even received a custom painting from one of the fans, he stopped mid performance during Lover Is A Day to make sure a fan in the crowd was safe after the crowd signaled him for help, he had the crowd pass around water bottles that the venue had after the incident and said his famous line (which he post on Instagram on a daily bases) "Drink your f*cken water.", he made sure everyone was okay before starting the song from the top and he dabbed up his band members right before starting the song over. Him stopping mid song was actually a very heartwarming thing to experience, especially how he had a whole crowd of strangers become a community by helping each other stay hydrated to ensure their safety and referring to them as such.

Cuco expressed his gratitude for his fans and crew throughout the entire show as well. He had the crowd sing happy birthday to his manager Verne Patrick, and shouted him out as the reason so many of the things Cuco is doing have come to fruition, as well as his other manager Eddie, he announced he was thankful for them for taking care of him and the band. Before his performance of "Aura" off of his Fantasy Gateway album he proclaimed, "I love every single one of you guys, I'm not just here 'cause I just magically appeared from a tree or some sh*t. I was created and whatever by the universe but the people that support me is all you guys. You make this sh*t happen, so thank you guys so much. I just wanted to say that sh*t 'cause I really appreciate you guys and you make this possible for all of us. You make this possible for the people on the side of the stage that are making sure this all sounds good and works and functions, the people that are right there in that tent, the people that run everything that has to do with this. You guys make it happen, so thank you guys, for real." At the very end of the concert he declared, "Houston , thank you so so much. I'm so thankful, and grateful to be here, so happy to see all of you, you guys are all beautiful and I'm so excited to come back next time. I love you guys."

The overall show contained every single one of Cuco's top hits such as Lover Is A Day, Amor De Siempre, and the song that escalated his popularity, Lo Que Siento. It truly feels like a lot of thought was put into this solo tour setlist, as he performed a variety of his best tracks

from all across his discography. The song CR-V from his EP Chiquito was, at both shows, by far the song fans were most excited about. The song itself is a catchy classic about Cuco's Honda CR-V and his everyday use of it. Mid-show Cuco announced they would be playing three songs that they had never performed live on any tour or ever at all, one being a new one, another an old one, and the last one an even older one. Those three songs being their recently released "Coastin'" featuring Alemán (another one I fell in love with), the song "Best Friend" off of his Para Mi album which released in 2019, and lastly his song "Cupid's Quiver" off of his album Wannabewithu which was released in 2016. Cuco himself posted on his Instagram story about how much of a spiritual experience it was playing "Cupid's Quiver" live throughout this tour, and especially on their stop in Puebla due to his connection with his parents, Puebla, and the song all together. The connection he has with it is due to the fact that it is the song that shifted everything for him in high school because it made him decide how he was going to make music.

The band performed "JUNKIES AND RARITIES," as well as "Planet Express" (which he made a little joke about by saying, "Planet Express, not Planet Fitness"), off of the new album. Planet Express had already been released prior to the tour, however, it was everyone's first time hearing "JUNKIES AND RARITIES." The thing that most stuck out to me about the song was its psychedelic rock sound, as well as the guitar only parts were you feel almost like you're traveling through space in an 60's tv show. Hearing it live just makes you want to cheer at the sheer talent of the guitar chord playing. In fact, the whole performance made me cheer non-stop of the sheer talent of Cuco and the band. Cuco himself is so multi-talented and getting to experience seeing and hearing him sing, play the trumpet, and the guitar, is insane. Knowing he also produces music makes you admire his pure talent. His friends

Julian on the drums, Esai on the bass, and Fernington on the guitar put on an amazing show alongside him, showcasing their talent as well.

The songs that had the crowd swaying, dancing and singing along the most were songs like Bossa no sé, CR-V, Dontmakemefallinlove, their cover of Piel Canela (originally by Bobby Capó released in the year 1952, it is an iconic Spanish song), Coastin', Best Disaster, Best Friend, Under The Sun, Aura, Summer Time High Time, One and Only, Planet Express, Lover Is A Day, Amor De Siempre, and of course, Lo Que Siento. It truly feels like Cuco and his team put a lot of intention into crafting the perfect 28 song setlist to make the crowd feel like they were traveling through the cosmos.

The band, at both shows, dressed in beautiful custom Cuco branded clothing. From denim jackets, to jeans, which had Cuco's latest spiral logo printed on them, totally making me wish they sold them as merch. In a Hispanic eye, you can clearly tell the clothes is representative of their culture. From the hats, to the denim jeans and jackets, to the boots, it's very modern Hispanic dress wear. A little detail I loved was Cuco's own outfit, a white wife beater, a denim jacket adorned with silver buttons, denim skater jeans with a patch of the eagle from the Mexican flag, a belt with a shiny buckle with the Mexican flag on it, and dress shoes. Truly representing his heritage. This is probably how they all just dress on a daily basis, but I couldn't help but be filled with pride as a Mexican-American myself seeing them incorporate their heritage into their stage presence.

Not only that, but their music itself as well incorporates elements of Hispanic culture. It's one of the very reasons I got into Cuco in the first place. He's one of the few popular Hispanic artist that isn't afraid to have bilingual lyrics, and even traditionally Hispanic musical elements, like cumbia instrumentals incorporated into his music. The incorporation of the trumpet in many of his songs is also representative of mariachi music. A prime example of his versatility is his song Under The Sun, which he performed during this tour and had me trying to dance cumbia around a bunch of strangers, which no traditional cumbia artist has ever accomplished to do. The cherry on top of it all was the display of the Mexican flag that the bassist, Esai, held across the stage as the show came to an end, cementing that Mexican pride.

Honestly, I could go on and on about Cuco's concert, his talent, the setlist, the fact that it was an hour and a half plus show, his pure interactions with the fans, and did I mention THE SETLIST, but if I'm being honest this tour is something that needed to be experienced first hand to understand the true intimacy of it. I'm glad I get to give our readers a glimpse into the show. Who knows when, or if, Cuco will ever go on a solo tour again. What we do know though, is that he'll most likely tour again in the near future for Hitchiker's official release. So, make sure to keep an eye out and snag those tickets up! For now though, make sure to stream the heck out of Hitchhiker. If this is the first you've ever heard of Cuco, I welcome you to listen to his music, you won't regret it. Thank you to Cuco and White Oak Music Hall for this intimate show and making strangers into a community, the love was truly felt that night.