Review: Rodrigo y Gabriela at 1STBANK Center, with C.U.B.A. and Bobby Long, 4/10/12

Categories: Concert Reviews

Britt Chester
Rodrigo y Gabriela last night at 1STBANK Center. Photo illustration.


Although Rodrigo y Gabriela are performing with a full band on their current tour, the most memorable moments of the act's set still come when the two are playing by themselves. About half a dozen songs into their set last night, with Gabriela jumping up and down and slapping the soundboard of her acoustic guitar between plucks and Rodrigo striking the most epic rock star pose ever held by a classical musician, the pair absolutely tore through a feverish version of "Buster Voodoo" before bringing their backing band back out for the remainder of the set.

A few songs earlier, C.U.B.A., the group of musicians brought on to help bring Rodrigo y Gabriela's latest album, Area 52, to life, kicked off the set with Tool's "The Pot," which has seemed to remain a constant on the tour thus far. Rodrigo y Gabriela usually tour alone, but given that the new album utilized a thirteen-piece Cuban orchestra, it makes sense that they would bring additional musicians to help recreate the songs live.

Britt Chester

When the pair came onto the stage after "The Pot," they were greeted by uproarious applause from the audience, which was seated but was on its feet dancing before long -- the ones who weren't sitting in slack-jawed amazement at what they were seeing and hearing that is. In spite of the energy emitting from the two musicians guitars, sitting almost seemed more appropriate.

The live-feed projected to the back of the stage offered everyone equal intimate close-ups of the performers, but the camera refresh couldn't keep up with how fast the two were playing. The concentration was obvious in both of their faces, but the real awe-inspiring moments came when you attempted to focus on their hands as they delicately chose each note in the frenzy of strumming.

Britt Chester

The chemistry between these two is absolutely amazing. They play as if each others lives depend on it, and it's completely visible in their non-verbal communication on stage. While Gabriela holds the rhythms, Rodrigo takes the lead, and the result is a orchestral phenomenon recreated by just two guitars.

Towards the end of the set, each member of C.U.B.A. received a short spotlight for a solo highlight, and each player was impressive as the next. C.U.B.A. was an excellent choice for tour mates; the energy during the solos -- and for the entirety of the show, for that matter -- was on par with Rodrigo and Gabriela.

Britt Chester
Bobby Long

Opener Bobby Long, a U.K. singer/songwriter, opened the night with depressing tracks about ex-girlfriends whom he currently hates, one song about living life, and finally closing with one about death. He pushed his voice hard, and played the hell out of the guitar, but really, there is no good way to go about opening for a duo like Rodrigo y Gabriela. The two are simply amazing.


Rodrigo y Gabriela
1STBANK Center - 4/9/12
Broomfield, CO

The Pot
Santo Domingo
Alfredo (C.U.B.A. band member) Solo
Master Maqui
Rodrigo Solo*
Hora Zero*
Gabriela Solo*
Buster Voodoo*
Juan Loco
Alex (C.U.B.A. band member) Solo
Edwin (C.U.B.A. band member) Solo


Diablo Rojo
(AC/DC track)

* denotes Rodrigo y Gabriela playing without C.U.B.A.



Personal Bias: I don't classical guitar, but I'll be damned if it isn't awe-inspiring to watch.

Random Detail: 1STBANK Center had one of those phone-booth, blowing-cash-at-you machines last night.

By The Way: You have never seen guitar playing like this.

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

Location Info


1STBANK Center

11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, CO

Category: Music

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Keith in Boulder
Keith in Boulder

Agree in general, but reviewer failed to mention the muddy sound in the barn that is the 1st bank center.  R&G were completely drowned out by CUBA during the first 4 songs, and the show was only saved when CUBA left the stage for the 2 person portion of the set.  The mix was improved by the time CUBA returned, and R&G were at least audible although in my opinion the gratuitous, generic Cuban salsa sounds failed to add anything to R&Gs unique classical stylings.  I love Cuban music and appreciate their musicianship, they just added nothing to the show and only served to mask R&Gs brilliance.


Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault