The Christmas song that makes me happy all year long

Had occasion to see legendary guitarist and singer Jose Feliciano this summer at, of all places, the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Why do I say that, you ask. For one thing, I didn’t know this ’70s icon was still performing.

For another, the venue was so unlikely. If you’ve ever been to Harrisburg, you know it’s a far cry from Philly or Pittsburgh. And I’m not talking just distance. This dot in the middle of Pennsylvania is about one thing, and one thing only: state government. And all the bureaucratic, stuffy (not to take away from its importance) stuff that entails.

That they plunked such a happening into all that seriousness was refreshing.


The ceiling at the Harrisburg Forum.

We were there because Feliciano’s co-star — aka the “Latin Phoenix” —  is an acquaintance of Mitch. We were among the few in the crowd who weren’t Latino.

If Feliciano wasn’t blind, he might have been disappointed that it was far from a sell-out crowd. (Couldn’t understand; no better place to be on such a perfect summer night.) But if he was strictly going by sound, the crowd was electric. More than enthused to be in the company of this Puerto Rican trailblazer.

Oh, well.

Oh, well. I tried.

Our concert pictures were a washout. I blame it on the stage lights.

At almost 70, Feliciano still had it. When he sang his famous cover of The Doors’ Light My Fire, the place was on fire, just like the old days.

But this being Christmas: Wanted to share my very favorite Feliciano performance at my favorite venue — Live at Daryl’s (Hall) House. (If only I could be at one of these sessions live — I adore this series.)

I get a real kick out of watching Feliciano taking over the room and watching these uber-cool performers really get into performing his charming but, let’s face it, well-worn holiday staple: Feliz Navidad. (Until they got their hands on it.)

I confess I never get tired of this version. I watch it to get myself going on the treadmill or whenever I need a general upper.

Do me a favor. Turn the sound up. Watch it all the way through, and notice the smiles from this too-cool-for-the-room crowd. Especially the cute drummers and Mr. Watch Me Shake My Hair, Daryl Hall. (Still lots of hair. And heart.)

I guarantee you’ll be smiling too, all the way through.

Feliz Navidad, everyone.


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