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BottleRock Napa fans get sneak peek of Festival La Onda with Mana show


Mana is spending two consecutive weekends in Napa Valley.

Fans witnessed part of the first one when the supremely popular Mexican rock-pop act performed on Day 2 (Saturday, May 25) of the 2024 BottleRock Napa Valley.

That appearance served as a telling preview of what fans can expect do see on next weekend, when Mana returns to the exact same site to headline the inaugural Festival La Onda.

That two-day event, also presented by the BottleRock organizers at the Napa Valley Expo, runs June 1-2 and also features Junior H, Alejandro Fernandez, Fuerza Regida, Los Angeles Azules, Eslabon Armando and many other top Latin music acts. (For more information, visit laondafest.com.)

Yet, nobody on that bill is a bigger attraction than Mana, the Guadalajara band that has scored dozens of No. 1 hits and sold more than 40 million albums since forming in 1981.

The group — vocalist-guitarist Fher Olvera, drummer Alex González, guitarist Sergio Vallín and bassist Juan Calleros — sounded strong as it ran through a 75-minute set on the biggie JaM Cellars Stage that included such highlights as “Corazón Espinado” and “¿Dónde Jugarán los Niños?”

“I am so happy to be here in this beautiful land,” exclaimed Olvera, who commented that he had gone from the land of tequila to the land of wine.

Olvera was a charismatic, energetic front man as he led the band through a variety of material, from fiery rock en espanol numbers and big, heartfelt Latin pop ballads to reggae-tinged tunes. The rest of the group were beasts on their instruments — especially González, who delivered a flurry of beats and embellishments on the drumkit.

After the gig, the band stuck around to watch and groove along with Pearl Jam’s headlining set on the same stage.

Smart move.

Performing their second Northern California show in just under two weeks — following their gig at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on May 13 — the Pearl Jam guys were nothing short of brilliant as they opened the set by running through a triple shot of “Lukin,” “Corduroy” and “Why Go.”

“Good evening,” Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder said to the crowd. “Why go home? We are in Napa.”

Vedder was obviously thrilled to be in Wine County. At one point he took a big sip from a bottle of wine — which possibly was worth more than this critic’s car — and asked a question:

“Why haven’t we played here before?”

That’s one question that people have been asking for a long time. Pearl Jam has been high on BottleRockers’ wish lists for years. Now, it’s finally happened.

And the iconic band — and its passionate fans — would certainly make the most of it, with tens of thousands of voices joined in as Vedder belted out such favorites as “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” “Daughter” (complete with a cool snippet of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”), “Even Flow” and “Alive.”

Vedder also had a big surprise in store for fans during Pearl Jam’s set — none other than Oscar-nominated movie star Bradley Cooper.

The 49-year-old Hollywood A-lister took the stage late in the band’s set to do a duet with Vedder on “Maybe It’s Time,” a song Cooper originally recorded for the 2018 film “A Star is Born.”

The two traded verses on this Jason Isbell-penned country ballad, and sang in harmony at one point,  while Vedder softly picked away at an acoustic guitar.

Thousands of smartphones simultaneously rose in the air to capture the performance, as fans documented for their social media feeds what was certainly one of the defining moments of the 2024 BotttleRock Napa Valley.

At the conclusion of this song — which Vedder has covered previously as well — Cooper departed the stage and Pearl Jam continued its march toward the finish line with “Crazy Mary,” “Do the Evolution” and “Alive.” The actorreportedly returned to the fold for the final selection of the night, helping these Seattle rockers close up shop with a fierce version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Cooper wasn’t the only A-List celebrity visiting BottleRock on Saturday.

Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry was on hand to display his bartending skills. The basketball legend as pretty good at the job as he poured drinks for fans in one of the swanky VIP areas at BottleRock Napa Valley.

He wasn’t making any of those complicated mixed drinks, however, but rather just offering up tastes of his new Gentleman’s Cut Bourbon.

And Curry was certainly every bit the gentleman, as he talked with fans while filling their glasses and posing for selfies. (I even had the chance to exchange greetings with him and he was as nice as could be, although I did not sample his bourbon.)

Gentleman’s Cut is a 90 proof Kentucky straight bourbon that is aged between five and seven years.

The 2024 BottleRock Napa Valley festival was scheduled to close on Sunday (May 26) with a lineup that included Ed Sheeran, The Offspring, Stephen Marley, Norah Jones and more.

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