Had the privilege of seeing Cyril Neville and Eric Lindell at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival over the weekend. And while they both turned in excellent sets, the band that elevated my soul above the green covered mountains at Hartwood Acres was Los Lobos. Fittingly, the only other time I've seen them was in 1987 opening up for U2 at Three Rivers Stadium (Little Steven was the other opener, as John Matthews reminded me today- he was there too!).
Let me put it to you this way: why they are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I just don't know (it's been 30 years since their debut record- 25 to be Hall eligible). David Hidalgo is one of the most underrated guitarist ever; his blistering solos and gentle voice are heavenly.
Guitarist Cesar Rosas's growl and unchanged look with the the well-manicured goatee and stylish shades proves a worthy foil for the warmth of Hidgalgo and chief lyricist Louie Perez adds even more guitar punch- plus he even plays drums if the song calls for it. And I haven't even mentioned the keyboard and sax-maestro Steve Berlin, who gives the band that impressionistic California-noir sound on masterpieces like Kiko and The Town and the City and steady bassist Conrad Lozano who brings a smiling assurance to the stage.
They pay homage to their Mexican-American heritage with plenty of danceable accordian-laced Spanish language songs and add to that their Dead cred, and what you've got is one of the most loved festival acts around.
Los Lobos is the tightest band I've ever seen live, an American classic that I want to experience many more times. Hopefully, I won't wait twenty-two years for the next time and this time, I'll stay a little closer to home.
Enjoy this performance of my favorite Los Lobos tune, "One Day One Night." Just listen to David's sweet guitar on this one and watch what the band creates withouth theatrics and hystrionics.