Arde El Cielo
Maná staged one of the biggest comebacks in the history of Latin pop with Amar Es Combatir, their sixth full-length and an album that, for all intents and purposes, had everything in common with the Maná that reigned supreme throughout the '90s -- a pop phenomenon that thrived on melodic acoustic rockers, heartfelt fingerpicked ballads, and a reggae-rock shuffle reminiscent of the Police, except en español. After all the records Amar Es Combatir broke, it was only a matter of time before the live keepsake Arde el Cielo: Vivo appeared, except the disc isn't a recapitulation of Amar in a concert setting -- a monster tour in its own right -- but the recapitulation of a career resurgence: a greatest-hits parade that's more a crowd-pleaser than a study on how much the band has evolved since their mid-'90s explosion. Recorded live over two nights at El Coliseo de Puerto Rico, the collection hits most of the highlights in Maná's career -- "Labios Compartidos," "Vivir Sin Aire," "No Ha Parado De Llover," "Rayando El Sol," "Bendita Tu Luz," "Déjame Entrar," and a half-dozen others comprise the set list, plus two studio tracks that serve as promotional signposts. The foursome plus a few guest musicians play the songs straight through, a by the book approach that yields very few surprises. These all-too-faithful interpretations can do one of two things: delight listeners who haven't kept up with the group since they plateaued with Sueños Líquidos, or simply remind them of Maná's best live album to date, the much more nuanced MTV Unplugged. Either way, Arde el Cielo: Vivo is a pleasant post-tour souvenir -- lightweight on recent repertoire but an otherwise nostalgic in-concert anthology from one of the original juggernauts of rock en español.