Los Lobos

Live at the Fillmore

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While Los Lobos have made a handful of great albums during the course of their career, you have to see them live to fully appreciate their status as one of America's best rock bands. Their material is smart and wildly eclectic, they're superb musicians whose interplay has been honed to a fine edge by years of road work, and they know that great chops will never be as important as a strong dose of sweaty enthusiasm if you want to get over with an audience; put it all together and you get a group that never disappoints a crowd. It's a bit surprising that, after more than thirty years together, no one ever thought to record a Los Lobos live album, but in the summer of 2004, as the band was celebrating their official 30th Anniversary, they brought in a camera crew and a mobile recording truck to document a two-night stand at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium; the results were released as a DVD in late 2004, and now an audio-only version of Live at the Fillmore has come out on CD. Given how impressive a backlog of material this band has, it's almost inevitable that Live at the Fillmore would be a bit of a disappointment, given that there's only so many of los Lobos' many great songs can appear on a single disc, especially since the band puts the strongest focus on their most recent material in this set. But with an eye towards history, they do offer a taste from most of their albums in these 14 songs (going all the way back to 1984's And a Time to Dance), and the recording gear caught the band on a good night -- Los Lobos are clearly having a good time on these tunes, and playing with confidence, style and soul, running the gamut from the flat-out rock of "Good Morning Aztlan" and "Viking" to the soulful Latin groove of "Cumbia Raza," finally closing with an impassioned cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On." Los Lobos are a band who would do well to consider a series of live albums that could capture the full breadth of their capabilities in concert, in the manner of Pearl Jam and the Grateful Dead, but Live at the Fillmore captures a taste of the band's on-stage magic with accuracy and finesse, and both fans and newcomers will find it tasty stuff indeed. The initial pressing also includes a bonus CD including three acoustic tracks.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 03:27 Amazon
2 03:59 Amazon
3 04:59 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick