Cracking farewell-tour performance 4/5 stars
Octogenarian singer and dancer Omara Portuondo reminded an enthusiastic audience why these Cuban veterans shook up popular music
Royal Albert Hall, London
Farewell shows sometimes prove to be nothing of the kind, but this emotional event marked what is surely the beginning of the end for a Cuban musical phenomenon. Buena Vista Social Club released only one studio album, in 1997, and gave only three concerts with their original lineup, but notched up worldwide sales of 9m. Then came solo albums, and more than 1,000 shows by the ever-changing success that is now officially known as Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. This was the London date of their Adios tour, and the Albert Hall was packed. One surviving member, Eliades Ochoa, had decided not to take part (though he will apparently be present for a final London farewell in July), but a 13-piece lineup that included three other original members made an impressive stab at continuing the club’s legacy.