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Live Reviews

Los Lobos + Los Lonely Boys
August 14, 2008

By Ernest Barteldes

Central Park Summerstage
New York City

On the closing date of their Brotherhood Tour, the two bands performed high-energy sets to an  enthusiastic rain-soaked audience who didn't seem to mind the almost uninterrupted downpour that came from the skies. Opening was Los Lobos, who played a mix of rock, blues, Tex-Mex and rancheras, all genres that reflect on the band's diverse background. Among several originals, they included covers of The Who's “My Generation” (with a bass solo from Jojo Garza, who was pulling double duty that evening).


The band was in a great mood, and encouraged their fans to sing along and clap their hands, pretty much ignoring the dire weather conditions and having a ball with it. Genres didn't seem to matter,and they crossed them deftly without a hitch, even including a Zydeco tune, the band augmented by Henry Garza, who shared the lead guitar duties with lead vocalist David Hidalgo.


Their set closed with a blend of the mega-hit “La Bamba” (from the soundtrack of the Ritchie Valens biopic of the same name) with “Down By The Riverbed.” Henry Garza handled the extended guitar solo, adding some bluesy licks to the original solo played by Hidalgo on the disc.


After a short break, the Garza brothers took the stage, playing their take on Texas blues and pop tunes, featuring plenty of material from their latest CD, Forgiven (Epic). Halfway through their set, they were joined by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin for a tune that dealt with others' perception of skin color as a reference to origin, which made a point on reverse racism.


The bond forged by this tour was evident throughout the performance. During Los Lonely Boys' set, other members of Los Lobos came on stage to sit in on various numbers – David Hidalgo did a guitar duet with Henry Garza during one breathtaking electric blues number that sounded like a mashed-up tribute both to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. In one impressive show of instrument ability, both the Garza brothers played their instruments by holding them solely with their left hands – sounds easy on paper, but try doing bass scales on a heavy five-string Yamaha without dropping it.