Charly García celebrated his 60th birthday with a series of three concerts in which he performed 20 of his songs each night, for a grand total of 60 selections from his lengthy and legendary career. The concerts were appropriately called 60x60 and were later released in a luxurious CD/DVD set collecting all three of those late-2011 performances at Buenos Aires' Teatro Gran Rex. The box also included a lavish photo book, a giant poster, and a limited-edition autographed drawing by García. The video and audio component, however, were also released in more affordable separate volumes under the titles La Vanguardía Es Así, Detrás de las Paredes, and El Angel Vigía. The concerts were warmly greeted as evidence of yet another step in García's miraculous comeback from junkie death land, as he continued to look healthier than in ages and his voice -- irretrievably hoarse as it may be by now -- is actually capable of singing once more. The show also included props, costumes, projections, voice-over narration by actress Graciela Borges and radio and TV host Juan Alberto Badía, and guests such as Juanse, Fito Páez, and Os Paralamas do Sucesso. Nevertheless, as emotive live performances go, this polished set lacks the passion, chaos, and urgency of García's previous birthday concert El Concierto Subacuático (2009). García's crack supporting band (now renamed the Prostitution) remains virtually unchanged, featuring veterans such as Fabián Von Quintiero, Fernando Samalea, and Carlos García López, but new vocalist Rosario Ortega does not seem as familiar with García's work as Hilda Lizarazu. Moreover, the string trio added for this latest incarnation somewhat smooths out the rougher edges that made El Concierto Subacuático so appealing, and in particular so well attuned to García's new rasping voice. On the other hand, this collection is much more comprehensive in surveying all the different periods of García's extraordinary musical genius, as it includes material from most of his solo albums and also revisits seminal classics from Sui Generis and Serú Girán, with mandatory cameos by Nito Mestre and Pedro Aznar, respectively. Strangely, the set list leaves no room for any La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros or PorSuiGieco songs -- true, these were briefer projects, but one song from each should have been here at least for completeness' sake. In conclusion, as with many sets of this kind, 60x60 is an exceptional collector's item or gift, but those interested in learning about García's astonishing musical legacy are advised to seek virtually any of his 30-plus original albums. ~ Mariano Prunes
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- Canta a Charly Garcia (Sosa, Mercedes)