Some say, “You can’t go back home again” but Feliciano did just that when we returned to Puerto Rico and to the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center, El Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is the most important performing arts venue and indeed, the Island’s Crown Jewel, beloved by all.
Jose returned home to P.R. to an extraordinary display of affection and appreciation for his work as Good Will Ambassador around the world in support of the Island he lovingly calls “Home.” In celebrating his ‘Golden Anniversary – 2018,’ Jose personally wanted Puerto Rico to be in the center of it all for him this year. Still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria last Fall, Jose was anxious to return to see the towns of his childhood, especially, Lares.
After two days of promotion ahead of his concert in San Juan, Jose returned to his birthplace in the mountains to visit his family and the place of his very earliest memories. He visited the local ice-cream parlor, la Heladería de Lares, on the town square, famous for their unusual flavors like rice and beans ice cream, corn ice cream and even shrimp! Jose stuck with the coconut, corn, and passionfruit flavors, then continued his visit nearby to the church of his Baptism, St. Joseph of the Mountain, also on the square. One can only imagine what he was thinking there in the peaceful calm of the little church that afternoon.
Afterward, he visited the pocket-park dedicated to him and his career, where he was met by throngs of friends and neighbors — even the mayor — as well as a local media outlet who had heard he’d ‘come home…’
Again in San Juan and ready to perform, Jose felt joy and an immense sense of gratitude for his people and the opportunity to be back in their midst. But he felt a degree of trepidation, also, as he entered stage right, following his introductory video. But when they greeted him, when he heard that roar of applause echoing throughout the house filled with ‘his’ people, he knew he was truly home and his conversations during the evening resembled exactly that — an intimate exchange with his friends filled with stories, laughter, lots of music, some serious topics and especially, mutual affection.
Jose Feliciano was back to share with his people and to let them know he’s still at the top of his game. And though considered global and as they put it, “Transcendental,” totally Boriqua.
It was an experience beyond his greatest expectations.