Vicente Fernández

Primera Fila

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Given the depth of his discography, which extends all the way back to the 1960s and includes innumerable releases, it's surprising that Primera Fila is the first live album of Vicente Fernández's illustrious career. Released as the follow-up to Para Siempre (2007), his chart-topping collaboration with songwriter Joan Sebastian, Primera Fila indeed puts you in the front row for an intimate performance of favorites new and old at the ranchera legend's personal concert arena, El Centro de Espectáculos Vicente Fernández Gómez in "Guadalajara," Mexico. Beginning fittingly enough with "El Rey," the in-concert CD/DVD features Fernández performing roughly two dozen songs alongside the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra. Highlights include a few songs from Para Siempre: "El Ultimo Beso," "Para Siempre," and "Estos Celos." The latter two are particularly delightful, as they're sequenced back to back toward the finale of the concert and include lively participation by the crowd, which sings and claps along with evident glee. Also especially well received is "Guadalajara," which leads into the show-closing performance of the song "Gracias." Recommended as a best-of complement, if not a supplement, to the two-volume Historia de un Idolo series, Primera Fila boasts not only a wide range of Fernández's greatest hits, but also crystal-clear sound quality on a par with any of his studio recordings. [The album was released as a CD/DVD package as well as an audio-only CD.]

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