Los Lobos Celebrate 'Kiko' 20th Anniversary in L.A.
Los Lobos Celebrate 'Kiko' 20th Anniversary in L.A.

The band revisited the album at the Grammy Museum on Tuesday

"Kiko," the album that elevated Los Lobos from rootsy party band to ambitious musical trailblazers in 1992, had its 20th birthday celebrated in front of 200 fans and guests at the Grammy Museum on Aug. 21.

"We're gonna attempt to play this album," said David Hidalgo, the band's primary singer, who shares lead guitar duties with Cesar Rosas and spoke very little during the show. "There are a few problem children on this album."

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Despite the caveat, Los Lobos only skipped three acoustic-based songs - "Reva's House," "Arizona Skies" and "Two Janes" - making the overall presentation bluesier and grittier than the Mitchell Froom-produced recording. Hidalgo, in introducing the second song, "Wake Up Dolores," may well have been speaking for the entire presentation when he said "there's no smooth way to do this."

The sextet, with the recent addition of vibrant, young drummer Enrique "Bugs" Gonzalez, extended "That Train Don't Stop Here" through dramatic guitar solos from Hidalgo and Rosas, made "Wicked Rain" a riff-heavy blues-rocker and in "Just a Man," revealed the song's debt to Doc Pomus' "Lonely Avenue." "Just a Man" provided an opportunity for Hidalgo to proffer some post-Hendrix solos and Rosas to revive some '70s-inspired blues-rock; for guitar fans it was the performance of the night.

A troupe of mariachis that had been hired in the afternoon joined Los Lobos for a finale of "Rio De Tanapa."

The concert, attended by Alejandro Escovedo and members of the Grammy Museum, was to celebrate Shout Factory's release Tuesday of "Kiko Live" and "Kiko 20th Anniversary Edition." "Kiko Live," which features all 16 of the album's original tracks, was shot Feb. 24, 2006 in San Diego during a short run of shows where Los Lobos was playing "Kiko" in its entirety.

Released initially by Slash/Warner Bros., "Kiko" was hailed at the time of its release and throughout the 1990s as a landmark album for the band and American music in general, winding up on several best of the decade lists.

Los Lobos, who will open shows for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in October and November, will play "Kiko" at five other cities: Foxborough, Mass. (Sept. 27); Tarrytown, N.Y. (Sept. 28); Glenside, Pa. (Sept 30); Alexandria, Va. (Oct. 1); and Windsor, Ont. (Oct. 3).