As captivating as the Gipsy Kings are on their studio albums, it's hard to imagine how a recording mixed by a studio engineer could compete for sheer impressiveness with the spectacle of six acoustic guitars ablaze simultaneously in the same room. Particularly when the guitars are managed with the flamboyant virtuosity of the Reyes and Baliardo brothers. Gipsy Kings Live, recorded during the band's 1991 Este Mundo tour, captures some of that concert magic and features several of their most memorable songs. There are fiery renditions of "Bem Bem Maria," "Bamboleo," and "Djobi Djoba," as well as several dynamic instrumentals. One of those instrumentals, "Galaxia," and the rousing "La Dona" were later included on the band's popular Greatest Hits compilation. And with good reason: Both capture the enthusiastic bravura that makes the Gipsy Kings such potent performers. Gipsy Kings Live might even rival Greatest Hits as the definitive Gipsy Kings CD were it not for the disappointing quality of the recordings. The sound mix, by Francois Delabriere, has a tendency to overemphasize the vocals and the gaudy keyboards that have regrettably become a staple of Gipsy Kings recordings -- with the result that the marvelously resonant tone of the guitars sometimes gets watered down. Unfortunately, the only way to really experience the power of a Gipsy Kings performance is to buy a ticket to one of their concerts.
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AllMusic Review by Evan Cater