As the lights dimmed at the Allstate Arena recently, the crowd applauded Marco Antonio Solis, one of Mexico’s most popular former singers and songwriters. He said “El Buki”, as many people know him, is known for his ballads and romantic songs, many of which are inspired by his love for his wife.
His show at Rosemont on October 15 concluded his solo tour in the United States. His wife also joined the crowd and sang along with thousands of fans.
Solis said his wife, Cristy Salas, tries to go with him to every show and on all the trips he takes.
“Cristy is a fundamental part of my life. That’s part of the secret to why we’re still together 30 years after we got married,” he said in an interview with the Tribune. That’s the love he says he hopes to share through his music, especially with younger listeners who have moved away from love songs in recent years.
“Love lasts forever,” Solis said.
According to tour management, more than 60% of ticket sales for his concert in Chicago were from millennials. For some, it is the lyrics of the songs that evoke a broken heart or falling in love. Others find it nostalgic; These were the songs they grew up listening to because their parents listened to them.
“It is a great honor for me to know that the letters of my songs are now representative and important for young people,” Solis said. “It’s amazing how they find a way to express what their heart feels in my songs.”
He said a concert in Chicago is always more special. The city is where he confessed his love to his wife and proposed to her in June 1993.
The two had been together for nearly three years, and after a show, Solis asked Salas to marry him backstage. A month later, in July, they celebrated their wedding in Las Vegas and then in her Mexican hometown of Morelia, Michoacán.
Chicago was also the first city in the United States where Solis performed outside of Mexico with the band Los Bukis, which gave him his nickname.
The band reunited in 2021 after 25 years and sold out Soldier Field.
His musical career began in December 1977, when Solis, then 18, and three bandmates crossed the U.S. border undocumented through Tijuana and flew to Chicago days later to perform at a small venue.
The group’s then-manager had arranged for their first performance in the United States but had not taken into account the need for proper documentation.
Solis remembers praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe as she passed by, but by the time the band finally arrived in Chicago, their show dates at the old Alameda’s Casino venue in Milwaukee and Pulaski had already passed. Solis describes how the owner heard their story and allowed the band to perform.
“It’s always a nice memory,” he said. “I would like to tell that little boy who came here decades ago that everything will be okay, that working wholeheartedly, being honest and being consistent are the keys to a happy life.”
About 20 people attended Bukis’ first show in the city. Solis later composed a song about his travels called “Los alambrados”.
“ …now they’re in Chicago, having fun with the dollars“says the song. “Now they’re in Chicago, having fun with the money.”
Solis said he hopes his story will inspire a new generation who now listen to his music.
“This is truly a wonderful thing, a full experience that fills my heart and also a great example for new generations that hard work and believing in your goals can take you anywhere you dream of,” Solis said.
Currently performing to more than 16,000 people at Rosemont, he keeps his promise to spread the love with his ballads, many of which have been covered by other Latin artists.
Couples held hands, families laughed and lonely people sang their hearts out as Solis played some of his hits.
Maria Acevedo, 32, was sitting next to her 85-year-old mother at Solis’ concert. Acevedo said it felt like a “blessing” to listen to the artist his mother and father listened to growing up.
“These songs never get old,” he said.