Live review: Los Lobos @ Arvada Center

Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys inspired a fiesta Friday night at the Arvada Center Outdoor Amphitheater. Demonstrating Grammy-winning chops and collaborative spirit, the Latin playboys shook the suburb.

Los Lobos opened. In their third decade, the wolfmen — consummate musicians — still rock with the best of ‘em. Plus, they’re masterful on acoustic Chicano charmers sung in Espanol, or culturally influenced tunes in English: “Saint Behind the Glass” and “Teresa.”


Cesar Rosas, ever cool behind his ever-present shades, fought the sound system for much of the concert. His vocals sounded weak, but seamless music washed over the sold-out crowd. David Hidalgo busted out his squeezebox — especially provocative on “Kiko and the Lavender Moon.”

Mid-set, Henry and Ringo Garza joined Los Lobos for a series of songs, including a joyous rendition of “La Bamba.”

The second set showcased the extraordinary, Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar skills of Henry Garza. Los Lonely Boys generates unimaginable music for a trio of brothers. Wearing a large silver cross and a shirt embroidered with crosses, before beginning, Henry offered a brief prayer: “I’d like to thank the good Lord above for letting us all be here.”

Their Texican tunes leaned decidedly into rock—sometimes bluesy, sometimes acidy.

Los Lobos, in turn, joined Los Lonely Boys. The blended bands’ two dexterous drummers, four wailing guitarists and a bass, plus Steve Berlin’s sassy sax roused the rabble. In fact, a fight broke out in the audience.

But the mingled band played on, sustaining a mind-boggling set. They wound down their ensemble effort with Los Lonely Boys’ hit “Heaven,” and exchanged big hugs across generations. Neither band planed an encore. They’d already given their all.

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Friday Jones Publishing will release Colleen Smith’s new book “Laid-Back Skier” in September 2011. Her novel “Glass Halo” was a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize.

John DiTirro is a Denver-based photographer and a digital ad trafficker at The Denver Post. Check out his website.