Feliciano's Finesse: A Legendary Performance at the Lobero Theatre

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Saturday, December 16, 2023

Nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara, California, the historic Lobero Theatre stands as a testament to over 150 years of captivating audiences. Renowned for its rich history and commitment to showcasing exceptional talent, the Lobero Theatre has become a cultural landmark in the region. An unforgettable performance graced its stage on December 11, 2023, when legendary Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and musician José Feliciano illuminated the venue with his extraordinary talent, further solidifying his status as a musical icon.

Feliciano, a versatile maestro, brought the Lobero Theatre alive that Sunday evening. Though he's widely celebrated for his holiday classic "Feliz Navidad" and the iconic Doors cover "Light My Fire," Feliciano's artistry extends far beyond these renowned tunes. Throughout the night, he masterfully blended Latin rhythms, jazzy improvisations, soulful crooning, and rock and roll energy, creating a rich tapestry of sound steeped in history and passion.

Lobero Theatre | Santa Barbara, CA

Humility and humor were his constant companions on stage. Between songs, he shared anecdotes from his six-decade career, each a testament to his enduring love for music. His infectious laughter filled the air, drawing the audience deeper into a world rich in music and memories. Feliciano was joined by an exceptional five-piece backing band, which included two of his sons on bass and drums.

Feliciano's mastery of the acoustic guitar was a highlight of the night. Each note leapt from the strings, alive with his distinctive timbre and the richness of a lifetime's experience. From the gentle sway of boleros to the driving pulse of blues, his guitar became an extension of himself, painting vivid sonic portraits with every touch. Demonstrating his versatility, Feliciano also ventured into rock rhythms on an electric guitar, delivering a blues-drenched rendition of BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone” and a wailing lead on Santana’s “Oye cómo va.”

José Feliciano | Lobero Theatre

The concert was a masterclass in musical storytelling. Feliciano's music transcended language, reaching hearts with the universal language of emotion. His voice, weathered yet brimming with life, wove tales of love and loss, joy and sorrow, leaving the audience spellbound.

Born in 1945, José Feliciano has become an internationally recognized artist, adept in various musical styles. His breakthrough came in 1968 with the album "Feliciano!", catapulting him to stardom. Over five decades, he has captivated audiences with his soulful voice and unparalleled guitar skills, earning numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards.

José Feliciano | Santa Barbara, CA

The Lobero Theatre, on East Canon Perdido Street, holds a special place in the hearts of both Santa Barbara residents and visitors. It is the oldest continuously operating theatre in California and the fourth oldest in the United States. Stepping into the Lobero is like traveling back in time; the theater exudes a charm and elegance that hark back to its 19th-century origins. Its intimate setting and superb acoustics make it a favorite among performers and audiences.

On that magical evening of December 11, 2023, the Lobero Theatre buzzed with anticipation. The holiday spirit was palpable as the audience eagerly awaited José Feliciano's performance. As the lights dimmed and the curtains rose, Feliciano and his band took the stage, ready to deliver a night of musical brilliance.

José Feliciano | Lobero Theatre

Feliciano's setlist was a carefully curated selection from his extensive discography, spanning genres and highlighting his versatility. The audience enjoyed classics like "Feliz Navidad" and "Light My Fire," as well as lesser-known gems that showcased his songwriting prowess. Each song was infused with his signature blend of Latin, jazz, and pop elements, creating a captivating sound.

José Feliciano | Santa Barbara, CA

One of the defining features of José Feliciano's artistry is his soul-stirring voice. From the first note, the audience was transported into a world of emotion and beauty. His voice carries a depth and warmth that resonates across generations, infusing each lyric with heartfelt emotion and impeccable phrasing. It was a testament to the enduring power and connection of his voice.

José Feliciano | Lobero Theatre

The concert by José Feliciano at the Lobero Theatre on December 11, 2023, was an unforgettable night of pure musical brilliance. His soul-stirring voice, virtuosic guitar playing, and undeniable stage presence left an indelible mark on the audience. The Lobero Theatre, with its historic charm and impeccable acoustics, provided the perfect backdrop for this extraordinary performance, a night that celebrated the unifying power of music and solidified José Feliciano's status as a true musical icon.