Acoustic Alchemy in Eden: Rodrigo y Gabriela's Gig at Longwood Gardens

Article Contributed by Jerry Anastasio | Published on Thursday, July 6, 2023

In the midst of their captivating In Between Thoughts… A New World tour, the acclaimed Mexican acoustic-rock duo Rodrigo y Gabriela found themselves serenading the verdant serenity of Longwood Gardens - an unexpected gem of a venue hidden in the over 1,000 acre botanical wonderland. Nestled amid this lush explosion of nature is the intimate Open Air Theatre, which, on a mid-week summer evening, became an extraordinary stage for a musical spectacle.

Rodrigo y Gabriela | Kennett Square, PA

The privilege of exploring the garden's sprawling expanse was bundled with every ticket, presenting an enticing proposition that few could resist. Upon navigating the maze of blossoms and canopies, the verdant labyrinth offered up its secret: the quaint theatre, waiting to resonate with the music of our Mexican maestros. Rodrigo, evidently awestruck by the surroundings, couldn't help but comment, "it’s fucking incredible." He was as enthralled by Longwood Gardens as we've been by his music for the past 20 years.

As the soft, melancholic strums of J.S. Ondara, a Kenyan immigrant with an uncannily soulful voice, reverberated through the botanical paradise, the stage was set for Rodrigo y Gabriela. Ondara's self-described "depressing music" was far from a mood dampener. On the contrary, it served as the perfect prologue to the main act.

Rod y Gab

Rodrigo Sanchez

The pandemic-induced hiatus inspired an outpouring of creativity from the duo, resulting in the creation of their latest album, released just this April. It came as no surprise when they started weaving melodies from this new repertoire into the evening's tapestry. Their latest tunes, alongside a few surprise additions like "Monster," filled the garden's air. The somber and brooding "Monster," echoing through the dusk, seemed almost at odds with the cheerful chirping of the resident birds. Yet this beautiful incongruity only heightened the joy and uniqueness of the experience.

Rodrigo on lap steel guitar | Photo by Daniel Ojeda

Gabriela Quintero

In "Simburgh," another new addition, Rodrigo unveiled his dexterity with the lap steel guitar. Gabriela, meanwhile, beguiled the audience with her extraordinary guitar skills and her distinctive percussive style. As if her fingers weren't spellbinding enough, the rhythms she coaxed from her guitar, using just about every part of it, left the audience in awe.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela | Longwood Gardens

They drew the night to a close with the crowd-pleasing, high-energy "Tamacun." As Rodrigo y Gabriela's diehard fans can attest, their performances rarely falter in delivering a memorable musical journey. True to form, this one was no exception. With just two more dates in Canada and a final showdown in Texas – available for free streaming, and featuring the Austin Symphony Orchestra no less! - the duo is leaving no stone unturned to end their North American tour on a high note. They continue to set stages and hearts ablaze with their spirited performances and soul-stirring music. Don't miss out on the final act of this exhilarating tour. More details can be found here.

Rod y Gab | Longwood Gardens

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