If last Wednesday I was treated to some amazing neo-Tropicália, on Friday I dove head first into the source. Os Mutantes' show at Petit Bain, initially their only European date apart from their appearance at Le Guess Who? Festival (they later added a few more dates, including a show at London's Village Underground), was everything I'd hoped for, and more.

There were only two things that had initially lowered my expectations: one was the fact that two of their original members, Arnaldo Baptista and Rita Lee, hadn't been a part of the band for quite a long time (Lee left in 1972 following a bitter break-up with Baptista, her husband at the time, and a year later he left as well), and the other was a friend of mine, who attended the London show, telling me their set was filled with new material and that they'd barely played the classics.

But my apprehensions soon proved to be unfounded, not only because Sérgio Dias still puts on a major show, justifying the re-formation of the band in 2006 after almost 30 years of inactivity, but also because all (or almost all) of their most well-known numbers made their way into the setlist. After a minor technical problem with Dias' guitar that made the impatient audience wait an extra five minutes, they opened with an energised rendition of their English hit 'Tecnicolor' (which you may know from the multi-lingual album of the same name recorded in Paris during 1970 but only released 30 years later, with a cover by enthusiastic fan Sean Lennon), then continued the journey with 'Virginia' and 'Jardim Elétrico'. But it was the first chord of 'A Minha Menina', one of their biggest hits from their 1968 debut self-titled album that drove everyone insane. Another highlight, 'Bat Macumba', followed shortly after, with both Dias and drummer Dinho Leme leading everybody into a tribal trance and, of course, collective chanting.

The only faux-pas of the night was Bia Mendes' recorder solo in 'Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour', which she failed to deliver and eventually dropped after a few notes (her voice was flawless throughout the whole show though, and we can only acknowledge how hard it may be to try and fill Rita Lee's shoes). That didn't spoil the party though, as they continued to deliver brilliant renditions of their tunes (some of them sung in both English and Portuguese due to them having previously recorded versions in both languages).

The highlight was undoubtedly 'Ando Meio Desligado' ('I Feel a Little Spaced Out'), which featured another astonishing guitar solo from Sérgio Dias that places him second to few in terms of guitar skills (I admit, I shed a tear during that part). Dias himself addressed the audience quite frequently in both French and English, mentioning the attacks that occurred exactly a week before the concert only to encourage the celebration of life through music: "they [the attackers] must be pissed off right now, because we keep on playing and dancing and singing. So let's piss them off a little more."

After a brief faux ending, they returned for an encore to play the beautiful 'Panis et Circenses', which they once again sang in both Portuguese and English. An enormous ovation followed, asserting Os Mutantes' undeniable place in rock and roll history as one of the few bands that were able to break language and geographical barriers due to their pertinence in musical history and tremendous influence they had (and still have) on many bands ever since, be them Brazilian or not.

Yes, in an ideal scenario we would have had the three of them, Sérgio, Arnaldo, and Rita, but - as we say here - "à faute de mieux" - , this show was not a disappointment at all; in fact, it will definitely make my top ten list of the best shows I've seen this year, since the band managed to deliver classic tunes without relying on the nostalgia factor; every single one of the songs played sounded as if they had been written today, which confirms the timeless, iconic status of their music. In short, if you had a chance of catching them live and missed it, I pity you.