Los Lobos

Over their 30 years together, Los Lobos have established themselves among the best live bands in America–which makes it all the more surprising that they've waited so long to release their first concert album (though anthologies have included live tracks). For this recording from the venerable Fillmore in San Francisco, the East L.A. band forsakes the greatest-hits approach in favor of a set dominated by recent material interspersed with some lesser-known earlier tunes (such as "How Much Can I Do?"). Omitting perennials such as "Will the Wolf Survive?" and their hit cover of "La Bamba," the Mexican-American band treats fans to the soulful balladry of singer David Hidalgo on "Rita" and "Tears of God," the bluesier strains of Cesar Rosas on "I Walk Alone," and the saxophone of Steve Berlin and a percolating rhythm section throughout. The music extends the Los Lobos imprint from the arty atmospherics of "Kiko and the Lavender Room" to the social conscience of "The Neighborhood" and the encore of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Whether the material is in Spanish ("Maria Christina," "Maricela"), English (most of the rest), or bilingual (the flute-laced "Luz de Mi Vida"), the enraptured crowd requires no translation.

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