Jenni Rivera's live album La Diva en Vivo (The Diva Live) comes only a year after the Mexican-American banda star's last live album: the 2006 release Besos y Copas Desde Hollywood. Some will no doubt ask, "Why, in God's name, would Rivera want to have two live albums only a year apart when radio stations that play regional Mexican music are so dominated by studio recordings?" That's one perspective, but a much more insightful way of looking at it is that because live albums aren't nearly as plentiful as they should be in regional Mexican music, Rivera is doing the world a huge favor by offering another live album sooner rather than later. Besides, La Diva en Vivo (which was recorded at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, CA, a Los Angeles suburb, on August 5, 2006) emphasizes an appealing side of Rivera that hasn't been discussed extensively: her mariachi side. Although La Diva en Vivo contains banda as well, mariachi is a high priority on this 47-minute CD. The combination of Rivera and a mariachi band was hardly unprecedented before this Gibson Amphitheater show; those who have seen Rivera live know that she has been incorporating mariachi on-stage for a long time. But her studio albums have emphasized banda, and it is great to hear a Rivera disc that -- although not mariachi-exclusive -- is certainly mariachi-heavy. Rivera performs a variety of material at the Gibson, embracing everything from two Juan Gabriel songs ("La Diferencia" and "Inocente Pobre Amiga") to her biting "La Mentada Contestada" to a medley of the ranchera standards "Por un Amor" and "Cucurrucucu Paloma" -- and whether she is employing mariachi instrumentation or banda instrumentation, La Diva en Vivo is a consistently rewarding, if brief, document of Rivera on-stage.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson