By Chris M. Junior
To borrow a phrase from baseball great Yogi Berra, it was déjà vu all over again for Los Lobos.
In December 2012, the East Los Angeles-bred band performed three gigs at City Winery in Manhattan, and from that concert run came “Disconnected in New York City.”
Since the album’s October release on 429 Records, Los Lobos has returned to the road — and that has included a return to the same New York venue late this year for another three-night stand.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Los Lobos, and when you’ve lasted that long in the music business, you can pretty much do whatever you want in concert. On Dec. 2 at City Winery, the band played it loose and by ear, seemingly setlist-free, as its members — Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin — often looked to one another and the audience for song suggestions.
In the end, the show still featured healthy portions of the three main courses found on the extensive Los Lobos menu. There was dynamic, rhythmic Spanish-language material (which prompted a few audience members to get up and dance, despite the lack of open space from the tabled seating). There were deft covers, presented in various lengths and styles (a chunk of the Temptations hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” an Allman Brothers Band-flavored take on the blues song “One Way Out” and even a snippet of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” from Rosas). And there were rockin’ originals (among them the down-and-dirty “Don’t Worry Baby,” which closed out the main set).
Upcoming Los Lobos concert dates include a Dec. 3 stop in Albany, N.Y., Dec. 20-21 in San Francisco and New Year’s Eve (two shows) in Chicago.