I had no intention of falling in love on this trip.
I also had no intention of going to Carnival in Matzalan, Mexico.
But both those things happened at once.
I’ll talk about Carnival in another post.
For now, a story of love, loss, moral confusion, and alleged criminal activity that took place one night in the small beach town south of the border…
It was the night before the big Carnival parade.
We hear tell of a show going on at the local baseball stadium. They’re going to announce the queen of the Carnival…or something.
It’s the main thing going on that night so we go to check it out. (They’re also having a ceremony for the King in another place but who the hell cares about that.)
We go to the stadium with no clue what we’re getting into. But there’s a giant dragon behind the stage so things look promising.
The show starts with a ballet. Dude’s dancing with spears, girls doing whatever girls do. It was probably cool but we were so far away who really knows.
And then I found out what love was.
The lights went down, the crowd got rowdy, and the fog machines went to work.
I hear a kind-of-familiar song start to play.
Out charges a woman with a mane of blond hair. Wearing some kind of black spandex dress thing that woke me right up.
The song felt more and more familiar and finally clicked when the chorus hit.
Gloria! Gloria! Gloooria!
Except this was an all-spanish version.
But who cares? It sounded awesome. I was up on my feet singing and dancing like an idiot along with the rest of the crowd.
I’m thinking “Okay, this must be a cover band before the real show. If they’re just playing 80’s songs I can get down with this.”
Then she played some song I never heard of. And another.
Each one was straight fire.
Apparently, there’s an entire world of badass Latin music that never made it past the boarder. Who knew?
The crowd is going nuts. By song 2 or 3 my friend and I look at each other with our eyes wide open going “What the hell is going on? This woman is incredible!”
She was like a lion up there. Running around, dancing, belting out songs and just killing it. You got the feeling she was born to do this.
Now, I came to the show with about 7 friends. At some point, we separated into 2 groups. So we started texting to share our disbelief at what we’re seeing.
My first text to the group is:
“Gonna go be a groupie for this chick. Catch ya’ll on the flip side.”
My friend Becca replies “I think Erica might join you. Girl has done her research.”
Then Erica sends a long post informing us that we are watching Gloria Trevi, “The Madonna of Mexico.”
Apparently, she was huge in the late 90’s. Then went to prison for four years for “corrupting minors”.
When I heard that, I figured a few 17 year olds drank beer at her concert and the Mexican government was being waaayyy to hard on her. So I brushed it off with a handful of “she can corrupt me any day” jokes.
Besides, the rest of the crowd was going nuts for her. Not like she could have done anything bad, right?
By song 4, I’m like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Completely swept off my feet, unaware there is a world outside of this woman on stage.
I’m up dancing and trying to sing along to songs I’ve never heard in a language I don’t understand.
The 60-year-old woman in front of us found us wildly amusing.
The show wrapped up and it was time to go home. Apparently a “Crowning of the queen ceremony” was just code for “Gloria Trevi concert”. I’m cool with that.
It was easily one of the best shows I’ve been to. And none of us saw it coming. By the end, I felt like I was floating. That lion of a woman blew us away and was all I could think about.
Me, after the concert
Theeeeeeen we went back to the hotel. And did our research . And things got awkward.
Turns out, “corrupting minors” was a bit more aggressive than I thought. Gloria’s manager/husband had a habit of telling young women he’d help them become stars and would then abuse them.
Was Gloria complicit in it? Was she a victim herself? There seem to be people on both sides of the argument.
After learning this, I felt guilty for enjoying the music. And confused as to why there were so many Mexican girls going nuts when this woman was mixed up in some horrible things.
So now I’m asking myself, am I allowed to listen to her songs? Would that make me a bad person?
Michael Jackson did some messed up things and everyone still rocks out to Billie Jean.
There are countless athletes who get involved in horrible stuff and we block that out when they take the field for us.
Hell, Thomas Jefferson had slaves! We still threw him on the $2 bill.
I shared my inner turmoil with a few girls I went on dates with in Mexico City.
I asked what was going on with the Gloria Trevi situation. They just kinda shrugged and said “Yeah, that’s a controversial topic…” And that was that.
The only thing that stopped this moral dilemma was listening to her songs on Youtube.
Apparently, something got lost between the stage and the recording studio. Because the songs that were badass live sounded dull and watered down online.
With these new revelations, my love has fizzled quite a bit. And it looks like my new career as a groupie won’t be happening. (Though she’s married so maybe that was never in the cards.)
But as Celine Dionne taught us, my heart will go on. My friends and I still break into the chorus of Gloria way too often on bus rides and nights out.
Gloria! Gloria! I think they got your number. Gloria!
I think they got the alias, Gloria, that you’ve been living under
But you really don’t remember, was it something that they said
Are the voices in your head calling, Gloriaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Love is complicated.