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Pachanga: Mexican pop/rocker Julieta Venegas closes festival

Nancy Flores

Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 11, 2014

It had been about eight years since Mexican pop/rock superstar Julieta Venegas performed in Austin. On Saturday night, fans at the Pachanga Latino Music Festival showed the Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter exactly how much they’ve missed her.

Venegas closed this year’s one-day fest by delivering a performance that made up for lost time. It seemed especially tailored for longtime fans especially since Venegas reached deep into her discography and played hit song after hit song, only occasionally mixing in some tunes from her latest album, “Los Momentos.”

Despite a mellow start, Venegas’ show rose to a crescendo. Classic songs such as “Limón y Sal,” “Eres Para Mi,” and “El Presente” sparked fan sing-alongs that had the Fiesta Gardens’ pavilion vibrating. Venegas masterfully floated from sitting at her piano to rocking the guitar to squeezing the accordion.

Venegas, who first fell in love with music through the piano, played it on stage for songs including the classic hit “Lento,” as well as “Verte Otra Vez” from her latest album, which incorporates more electronica into her music. But it’s her signature skills on the accordion (which she played while wearing heels) that got the party started. A sea of cell phones immediately went up to capture this multi-instrumentalist in action.

Venegas chatted with the overflowing crowd about her songs, at one point saying, “Life is like a dance and the rhythm changes all the time.” She also gave a shout out to her sister who has lived in Austin for several years, and recognized all the mothers who on Saturday celebrated Mother’s Day in Mexico.

When fans chanted for an encore, Venegas returned to the stage, strapped on her guitar and proceeded to charm the crowd with “Algo Está Cambiando,” a song from her third studio album “Sí,” which catapulted her as a major Latin music artist.

After fans endured a long wait to see her perform in Austin, Venegas promised that her departure wasn’t a goodbye, but more of a see you soon.