In the same way many rushed home to watch the Mexican telenovela “Rebelde” after class almost two decades ago, thousands made their way to see RBD, the then-teenage band born from that show, in concert once again in Chicago on Friday night.
After 15 years, the legendary Mexican Latin pop group reunited and came to Chicago as part of their global tour — a dream for many Latino millennials and Gen Zers who grew up watching the show but were never able to attend one of their concerts. For others, the reunion meant pure nostalgia, reliving younger years, but now being able to sing the same songs as their children.
“They meant so much to me because at the time I was trying to figure out my life, and began to finally live my life after coming out of the closet, becoming trans, so I really connected to being rebellious,” said Sammy Martinez, 41.
More than 60,000 other fans joined Martinez over two sold-out concerts at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday and Friday, where beloved band members Anahí, Maite Perroni, Dulce María, Christopher von Uckermann, and Christian Chávez sang the band’s greatest hits.
Including “Tras de Mí,” “Quédate en Silencio” and “Este Corazón.”
But perhaps “Salvame,” a song about finding healing and purpose, is one that strikes the hardest for those fans who grew up finding comfort in the turbulence of life by watching the show, but are adults now.
While singing along, many cried. Martinez was one of them. The song was one of strong significance, she said, because it reminds her of her emotional healing process.
“It means a lot to me because it’s so true that you can come out from a dark place and it’s going to get better,” said Martinez.
But the song also struck younger fans.
Sitting next to her mother, tears rolled down the cheeks of Analia Topete Jaurer, 14, as she sang along. The mother and daughter drove two hours from Elkhart, Indiana, for the show. It was a dream to attend the concert for Valentina Jaurer, 46, who has passed the love she has for RBD to her daughter.
When the band was at its peak, Valentina Jaurer had moved to the United States from Mexico and her daughter was born, but because her life was changing too quickly, she said, she couldn’t afford to attend the concert.
“My daughter hadn’t even been born when the show was airing. Sharing this moment with her makes me so happy because some things will never be the same,” said Valentina Jaurer.
Most fans wore RBD-inspired outfits and exchanged star stickers and bracelets, two accessories that symbolize the “Rebelde” generation.
Many more wore the iconic red tie and flashy hats, miniskirts, and tall boots.
“It’s surreal to be here. To see everyone dressed this way, I never thought it would happen and I’m emotional, so excited to be here,” said Isabel Bautista, 22.
A street vendor set up shop outside the field selling Anahi’s iconic pink hat, which was popularized after she wore it for RBD’s “Salvame” music video. Another one was selling the “Rebelde” red tie, which was a part of the school uniform in the telenovela.
On Thursday night, while his three children were inside listening to RBD, their favorite band, Jose Perez sold more than 200 hats. He said he came up with the idea after realizing that the band’s return was going to be a special time for many in the city.
Videos of hourlong lines to get into the band’s concerts have gone viral since the beginning of the tour. Many other fans have posted anecdotes about the band’s significance and impact on their life.
“I don’t think people understand how much this means for us, Latinos in the country,” Bautista added.
The last concert that RBD held in Chicago was in 2008 at the Allstate Arena, but before that, one of the band’s first visits was to perform at Hispano Fest, a small food and music festival in Melrose Park, right outside Chicago.
“We have a bond with Chicago because it was one of the first U.S. cities that we visited as a band,” band member Christian Chávez told the Tribune.
“Thank you for never stop dreaming,” Dulce María told the crowd as thousands of fans cheered, yelling “Rebelde.”