For Mana drummer Alex Gonzalez, who spent his early years in South Florida, playing in Miami week was a homecoming.
The Mexican rockers are toasting the success of their first tour in four years, and an album that won't quit the top of the Latin Billboard charts.
Poised to go on Thursday night at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami, Gonzalez said he was excited to have run into a classmate from middle school while doing publicity in nearby Hallandale Beach a day earlier.
"Now we might have a reunion from my 7th and 8th grade when we come back through here on the second leg of the tour next year," Gonzalez told The Associated Press. "These are guys I haven't seen in 30 years."
Gonzalez was less excited about the ticket scalpers, whom he said were selling concert tickets for as much as $2,000 each online. That's particularly galling for the band because it has been vocal about keeping ticket prices in the same range as during the last tour — in recognition of the economic struggles many of their fans are facing.
"They're doing it right out in the open," he complained.
Billboard Magazine lists Mana as the third-biggest grossing act this week after U2 and Celine Dion with its four sold-out Los Angeles concerts. The band kicked off its tour with sold-out concerts in Puerto Rico. The Miami performance followed concerts in Dallas, San Antonio and two sold-out nights in Houston.
Next up, the band from Mexico then heads up the East Coast and over to Chicago.
Publicist John Reilly says the group has set about 130 dates in all and plans to return for more U.S. concerts in March of 2012, following legs in Latin America and Europe.
"This has been the first tour where we've kicked off so smoothly," Gonzalez said, adding he has seen more non-Latinos in the audience than in previous years.
"It's always amazing to connect with each audience," he added. "We're so happy. It's unbelievable, especially how the situation and the economy is."
Mana released its eighth album earlier this year, "Drama y Luz" (Drama and Light) through Warner Music, Singer Fher has called it one of the band's most intense. His mother died while the group recorded it, and at least one song is dedicated to her.