The pairing of Vicente and Alejandro Fernandez is an irresistible proposition for lovers of traditional Mexican music. The undisputed king of ranchera — Mexico’s bitterly melodramatic song format — Fernandez Sr. evokes the genre’s golden era, a time when singers were larger-than-life hombres and recordings had a warm, timeless beauty to them. His son Alejandro, on the other hand, represents the latest tendencies in contemporary Latin music, the triumph of digital slickness and syrupy pop over rootsy substance.
This stark contrast was apparent throughout Saturday’s three-hour perf, which saw father and son alternating half-hour solo segments, with the occasional duet thrown in for good measure. Both men were accompanied by a massive orchestra that included 35 musicians and the obligatory pair of hip-swaying, female backup vocalists.
As expected, Fernandez Sr. favored a repertoire of traditional rancheras, with sweet staples such as “Si Nos Dejan” and “Nos Estorbo La Ropa.” Alejandro, who juggles parallel careers in the traditional Mexican and Latin pop worlds, was adventurous enough to perform a couple of tunes by Juan Gabriel, Mexican pop’s King Midas. His rendition of morbidly erotic “Te Sigo Amando” was particularly arresting.