I’ve been to some really fun, wild house parties back in my “good ol’ days”. And all the best one’s had good friends’ bands set up and rockin’ in the garage or back yard. Only made better when I was one of the band members or just got to sit in to rock a little. I often long for those days as I get older. My friends are older and not many of them rock as much as they used to. And even though my mind is still reeling to pick up a guitar and let loose, my age tends to remind me to calm it down just a bit. But make no mistake—I’m still ready for a good rockin’ party.
Well, the Peace Center threw one of the best I’ve been to in years. They hosted what turned out to be one of the best “house parties” I’ve been to in a long time.
The Peace Center? Yep. They have just the right environment to bring two incredibly talented, fun bands together, put them in a cozy, intimate theater, have great sound, and invite a bunch of friends for just the right size party. And last night, although I knew I was going to have a good time, turned out to be one of those great parties.
Los Lobos pulled into town from East L.A, and brought along Texas friends Los Lonely Boys. I was anxiously awaiting the show for weeks, but had no idea what a great one it would be.
As the old school fashion of earlier days of rock, when a promoter, roadie or radio announcer would excitedly introduce the band—”YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST. THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD…KISS!!!” or “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. Ladies and gentlemen, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER!!!” (aaahhhh, I miss those days)— the night started with a great introduction for Los Lonely Boys. And thus, the party started.
The three singing Garza Brothers (drummer Ringo, 6-string bassist Jojo, and guitarist Henry) had more enthusiasm, energy and elation for being on that stage and playing at this party than the screaming fans did for being there. Henry started by welcoming the crowd, and as always, thanked and praised God for being here. This, by the way, was the brothers first show in months, after Henry fell off the stage and was injured in a show a few months earlier. But you’d never know it. Jojo even commented that they must have all been practicing secretly, because they hadn’t played in three months, but sounded better than ever—as if never skipping a beat.
The Texicana Rockers flowed through a seamless wash of rock, blues, swing, and even a segment with Henry’s delicious scat mirroring of his soloing, of which George Benson would be proud. Song after song, they partied and rocked. Midway through they invited Los Lobos’ sax player Steve Berlin to sit in. And the Jam began. A song or two later, on strolls Los Lobos’ guitarist/singer Cesar Rosas to join the jam. And jam they did. But not wanting to be left out, here came Los Lobos guitarist/singer David Hidalgo. And the jam just kept jamming. Guitar solos and licks being traded and fired at each other aggressively. And the three Garza brothers never stopped smiling.
They even worked the words Greenville, South Carolina into the last song of the blues jam.
They finished just as enthusiastically with the reason most were excited to see them by playing their Grammy hit “Heaven”. And heaven it was. The brothers took their time leaving the stage as they obviously were not ready to go—thanking, waving, bowing and shaking hands even after intermission lights were up. When they finally disappeared backstage, I commented to a friend that if i didn’t like Los Lobos so much, my night would have been complete right there.
So glad I stayed though.
I’ve seen Los Lobos a few times, and every time was a party. After a couple songs with a few minor equipment issues, they settled in and played hard. Still celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their album KIKO, they revisited three decades worth of their material, each one sounding as new as ever. And still played by ALL the original members. They paid tribute to their heritage and early music with some great traditional Mexican/Spanish tunes, and as that music always does, it got everyone dancing.
And a special treat Los Lobos style, they of course played their version of PLENTY of cover songs. David Hidalgo led the band through the Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out” which was absolutely phenomenal and received a standing ovation. Sly and the Family Stones’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, The Band’s “Evangeline”, and Ritchie Valens’ “Come On Let’s Go”. The most special treat for me was the tribute to the Grateful Dead by covering “Bertha”, “Not Fade Away”, “Lovelight” and “Good Lovin’”.
And to finish the night, the boys encored with the eagerly awaited “La Bamba”. But of course, being a party, they couldn’t just play it. They made it a “La Bamba > Good Lovin’” > “La Bamba” jam medley.
The entire night, both bands treated the crowd like we were all life-long friends at a summer house party. And thank you Peace Center for hosting and inviting us all. Next party is when?
By Jack DelGado