Even as Rodrigo y Gabriela play some of their best-known songs Wednesday at the Warner Theatre, they will come with different rhythms and even different soloists.
“Some of the fans are surprised,” Rodrigo Sanchez says from Los Angeles, the day after a lively performance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “But as the show goes along, they understand.”
Some in the audience may be relieved when the additional musicians performing under the name C.U.B.A. (Collective Universal Band Association) clear for the second half of the show, leaving the duo fans have come to love.
By the time the musicians rejoin them for the show’s conclusion with the remaining songs from their latest album “Area 52,’’ the fans are fully on board.
The augmented duo represents for Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, both 38, a return to their original form, a band.
When the longtime couple, who are not married, gave up on their hometown Mexico City metal band and moved to Ireland in 1999, they performed on the streets.
With Quintero beating a thumping percussion on her guitar and Sanchez soaring with an intricate melody line, they kept their heads down and played three different speeds, according to one early reviewer: “fast, very fast and super fast.”
Crowds grew, record companies called and suddenly Rodrigo y Gabriela were signed to an Irish label and playing big European festivals, quickly gaining a global audience and selling more than 1 million albums.
Though they’re depicted in their most famous music video in front of huge stacks of speakers, they produced their power on the nylon strings on acoustic guitars, breathing new life into songs inspired by classic rock or sometimes, specific tunes from bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Metallica.
Back with a band, and all the communication and musical exchange that represents, Sanchez says, “We feel way more relaxed; we feel we’re sharing responsibilities onstage after so many years of being on our own.” The two have enjoyed playing as a duo, too, he adds, but increasingly there has been “a certain amount of pressure on us, especially in recent years.”
In addition, “it feels good to introduce these amazing musicians to the audience.”
A wildly varied roster of musicians appear on “Area 52,” which was recorded in Havana and released in January. It included Los Van Van drummer Samuel Formell, sitarist Anoushka Shankar; Palestinian oud players Le Trio Joubran; bassist Carles Benavent, who has played with Paco De Lucia, Chick Corea and Miles Davis; and drummer John Tempsta who has backed metal groups from Testament to White Zombie.
Another addition to the multinational sessions was producer Peter Asher, a onetime duo member himself in Peter and Gordon, who previously produced James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.