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Los Lobos serves New Year’s opener hot, spicy

Video Credit: YouTube
Video Credit: YouTube

Critical faculties gave way somewhere around the fifth (or was it the sixth?) New Year’s Eve whiskey, but that’s the point of ringing in a new decade with a band as versatile and talented as Los Lobos, isn’t it?

ALL PHOTOs by CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM No re-use without hyperink

(I mean, I can say: “Hi, Remy. You’re a knockout,”  and it doesn’t affect my credibility one bit, not when I’m describing the perfect party night at City Winery.)

Never mind that, just past the stroke of midnight, the hottest Tex-Mex band to ever take a stage played the immortal “Evangeline.” Or that they segued from “La Bamba” to “Good Lovin’.” Or that they walked off after “Cinammon Girl” — which they once played live with Neil Young.

(Thanks, Vicky…. Tell Christina I said hello.)

SLIDE SHOW, 12/31/10-1/1/11 (City Winery) :

This was exactly what the patrons expected, and “the wolves” from East L.A. didn’t disappoint — even after playing an early show.

Except for co-founder Louie Perez, the band seemed a bit stuck in gear at first. But “Will the Wolf Survive?” shook the cobwebs loose and, before long, icon Dave Hidalgo was riffing through “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” into the Lobos‘ “All Night Long” as if he’d just awakened from a long slumber.

It came moments before midnight, and the band pile-drove its way to the magic moment. Then, after counting down from “8,” the band blazed through “Evangeline,” followed quickly by “Serenata Nortena” — two get-up-and-dance rockers.

As if they weren‘t enough, “I Got Loaded” had many in the sit-down crowd on their feet. The Colombian classic “Cumbia” took Manhattanites and bridge-and-tunnel types to a place and time they’d never experienced. And the timeless “Volver, Volver” had couples swaying to the march-like waltz.

Understandable, I suppose, that no one would’ve let Los Lobos leave without “La Bamba” — although those who’ve known the band nearly three decades could have just as easily done without it. Then again, the vox populi would’ve never heard of the band if not for the Anglo hit. And Los Lobos certainly wouldn’t have been invited to play at the White House last year for the O-ba-ba-bamas.

Perez kept the band tight, Hidalgo was the creative center, as always, and the crowd lapped it up. Rare is the night you’ll see people dancing in the aisles at City Winery. But the advent of a new decade — in the wake of a year many of us would sooner forget — was as good a time as any.

Los Lobos, who played more than 120 dates nationwide in 2010, have been nominated for two 2011 Grammy Awards for their critically acclaimed album “Tin Can Trust.” They’re also about to hit the road opening for Eric Clapton….So it was a blast for the 350 or so gathered at City Winery to usher in the new decade together.

And that’s the beauty of such a time, and a place, and a moment: No one knows what the new year will hold.

To that, I say: Salut! Happy New Year…. and don’t forget me, Remy.


We’ve praised City Winery often in these spaces, but, frankly, New York’s only operating winery deserves it. Besides its unique take on producing and serving wine (you can make your own cask), it also has become THE premier spot for singer-songwriters, with a vibe that Dave Alvin described as “like the Bottom Line, only nicer.” READ MORE (INCLUDES VIDEO)

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