Personnel: Janina Rosado (piano); Luis Mojíca (congas); Juan De La Cruz (tambora).
It is only fitting that an album as successful as Dominican singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra's and 440's A Son de Guerra would be followed with a live offering documenting the tour. The record won three Latin Grammys including Album of the Year, and hit the peak position on three Billboard charts -- Top Latin Albums, Tropical Albums, and Spanish Albums -- and reached a very respectable number 52 on the Billboard Top 200. Guerra and 440 closed their tour at the Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo in June of 2012; it began in a rainstorm. This date is no mere by-the-numbers performance. Guerra and band feed off their homeland audience and deliver these songs with the musical sophistication, passion, and stylistic diversity that are their trademarks. There are four cuts from the studio album interspersed with hits from Guerra's back catalog in a wide range of styles -- son, bachata, merengue, guaracha, mambo, and salsa. The set's first single is a reprise of the midtempo tropical ballad "Frio Frio" from 1992's Areito; the new twist is that here it's a duet with Romeo Santos. The other special duet features Juanes reprising his role from the studio album on "La Calle," Luis Payan's brief but stinging guitar solo, and a tight, propulsive horn chart equal to the vocalist's performance. Other highlights include the burning "Las Avispas" from 2004's Para Ti, "Bachata en Fuoco," and the title track from Llave de Mi Corazon. "En el Cielo No Hay Hospital" closes the set on the audio version. The encore is an acoustic performance of "Ojala Que Lueva Cafe." This is a stellar live offering, impeccably performed and recorded. [The double-disc version contains a DVD of the entire concert, shot with five cameras and sequenced in proper running order. It includes several extra tracks including a medley of the bachatas "Estrillas y Duendes" and "Burbujas de Amor," as well "A Pedir Sau Mano," a selection of highlights, and a short interview with Guerra.] ~ Thom Jurek