David Hidalgo - guitar, vocals, percussion; Cesar Rosas - guitar, vocals, mandolin; Oscar Roasa - guitar, mandolin, vocals; Steve Berlin - harmonica, percussion, saxophone; Conrad Lozano - bass, guitar; Louis Perez - drums, guitar; Guest: Karl Perazza - percussion; Guest: Mario Valenzuela - harmonica; Guest: Ozomatli horn section - horns; Guest: Los Villians & Ozomatli members- percussion
Equally adept at rock, blues, folk, R&B, Americana, as well as traditional Spanish and Latin American idioms, Los Lobos have continually blurred boundaries and in the process have become one of the most successful Chicano bands of all time.
Like many aspiring 1960s era groups, Los Lobos began playing rock 'n' roll and R&B covers geared toward dancing, but by the mid-1970s had begun mastering traditional Mexican styles. David Hidalgo, the primary lead singer and most accomplished musician of the group, co-writes much of the band's material with drummer/guitarist/lyricist Louis Perez. Cesar Rosas, the second lead guitarist and primary singer of the songs with Spanish lyrics, is also a gifted musician who provides a distinct bluesy edge to the group. With the exception of sax player, Steve Berlin, who defected from the Blasters to join Los Lobos in the early 1980s, all the band members have been together since attending Garfield High School together in East Los Angeles. The longevity of the band and their unique chemistry is a direct result of years of experience playing every imaginable type of gig during their formative years and learning how to fuse many seemingly diverse styles of music into a cohesive stage show. Variety has always been a crucial element in the group's gritty, yet often graceful, performances. Inspired by the raw energy of the new wave and punk scenes developing in the early 1980s, Los Lobos developed their own fusion of high-energy rock and traditional Mexican music that, despite being played by older seasoned musicians, struck a nerve among younger listeners. With a career that now spans nearly four decades, Los Lobos have won the respect of listeners, concertgoers and critics alike, as they continue to spread the word of rock and traditional Mexican music the world over.
A long-standing annual tradition for Los Lobos is a run of shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco every December. Every year has included many memorable performances, often accompanied by special guests joining the band on stage. Indeed this is where the band wisely chose to record its first live album and DVD in 2005 as the San Francisco audience has always embraced the band, inspiring particularly magnificent performances. One of the most spectacular of these annual San Francisco runs occurred on December 4th and 5th of 1998, when Los Lobos again took the stage of the Fillmore, accompanied by many guest musicians including Santana percussionist, Karl Perazza, Ritchie Valens brother, Mario Valenzuela on harmonica and members of Los Villians and Ozomatli contributing horns and additional percussion. Riding high on the success of the 1992 album Kiko and its raw harder-rocking follow-up, the 1996 album Colossal Head, this two night run featured powerful performances spanning the band's entire career. Although both nights were incredibly inspired performances, the second night remains one of Los Lobos most astonishingly diverse and adventurous performances ever.
Here we present the Bill Graham Presents soundboard master recordings of that memorable night in its entirety. The set kicks off with a triple whammy of Spanish lyric numbers to set the mood, including a sneak preview of "Cumbia Raza," which would surface on the This Time album the following year. Santana percussionist Karl Perazza joins in on the second number and adds additional rhythmic fury to the next several songs, including a standout pairing of the Kiko track "Dream In Blue" with the lovely "Maricela" from "Colossal Head." Dipping back into their catalog, the band next deliver superb readings of "Evangeline," from their breakout 1984 album Will The Wolf Survive, an impressive nearly 20-minute excursion of "May Baby's Gone" segueing into "Just A Man" that features a horn section comprised of Ozomatli members and yet another inspired pairing of Cesar Rosa's bluesy "I Walk Alone" from 1990 album Angel Dance with "Peace" from the Kiko album.
Over the course of this show there are many remarkable moments that capture the band's seamless fusion of rock and Latin sounds, and the musicianship is impeccable throughout. Among the other highlights are "Come On Let's Go" matched up with "I Got Loaded" featuring Ritchie Valens' brother, Mario Valenzuela, joining the group onstage playing harmonica, with the latter song including a spontaneous verse of "Turn On Your Lovelight." However, the most powerful performance of the pre-encore portion of the show is an absolutely rip-roaring take on the Colossal Head track "Mas Y Mas." To experience the guitar prowess of Hidalgo and Rosas, as well as the high-powered grooves this band is capable of, look no further, as this "Mas Y Mas" set closer is one hell raising performance that enraptures the Fillmore audience and pummels any remaining doubters into submission.
Needless to say, the San Francisco audience clamors for more and Los Lobos return to the stage with members of Los Villians and Ozomatli in tow for a nearly half hour encore. With all these extra musicians adding percussive density, this begins with a highly engaged reading of the Kiko track, "Wicked Rain" that features a romp though Bob Marley's "No More Trouble" midway. Following this, but before they sail off into the final jam, the band and audience celebrate David Hidalgo's birthday. With everyone in high spirits, including all the percussionists who remain on stage, Los Lobos soar into the stratosphere, beginning with a searing guitar solo from the birthday boy that touches on Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile (slight return)" before heading full boar into "Are You Experienced?" Just when one might think things couldn't get more psychedelic, these musicians prove otherwise by veering directly into the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," before closing it out with a joyous "Angel Dance." Taken together, this encore is a captivating conclusion to a remarkable concert and a perfect example of this band's relentlessly adventurous spirit.