Santana was a major force in my musical life in the middle/late 70s. I came late to the game, turned onto their music way after they had left a major splash at Woodstock as well as with their previous and subsequent live outings, but, when I bought into Moonflower, a rather controversial album with its mix of studio and live tracks, I spun it 24/7 forever and have been doing so ever since. It’s a seminal album in my collection.
Actually, Santana is one of the very bands I bought into time and again, trying to upgrade whatever I had owned previously, simply because I liked Carlos Santana’s free-flowing lines, and, especially, the tight rhythm section he always had on board. Because of the fun that makes you dance around the apartment although you are inadequate.
When Santana IV’s reunion album rolled around this year, I was both elated and a bit weary, simply because time has told me that the magic of the past cannot be repeated, aside from very, very few acts I have witnessed doing so. Still, IV was a good album. It didn’t have that spectacular magic, but it had the sound that I once loved.
Then I shelved it.
And then “Sanatana IV Live at the House of Blues (Las Vegas)” rolled around.
It effortlessly recaptures that elusive magic and, to be quite honest, in an age in which most live albums are little more than auto-tuned, polished and spectacularly selective/spliced, over- and redubbed recording extravaganzas, I had the feeling that, not surprisingly, these musicians just delivered. To me, raw energy and all, this sounds exactly like what I heard when I saw Santana live way back when, and that’s what I was looking for.
In short, this double-live recording is one of the few saving graces of a musically meager 2016. It has been in constant rotation ever since it arrived on my doorstep and I am again listening to it as I’m writing this. That’s no mean feat in a collection that spans more wall space than most people have across several floors.
Highly recommended … if you have long hair, like to wear camel-jackets or are otherwise stuck in a time long gone.
This live recording is …
Santana IV: Live at the House of Blues, Las Vegas (2016)
01 – Soul sacrifice
02 – Jingo
03 – Evil ways
04 – Everybody’s everything
05 – Shake it
06 – Anywhere you want to go
07 – Choo choo
08 – All aboard
09 – Samba pa ti
10 – Batuka
11 – No one to depend on
12 – Leave me alone
13 – Sueños
01 – Caminando
02 – Blues magic
03 – Echizo
04 – Come as you are
05 – Yambu
06 – Black magic woman / Gypsy queen
07 – Oye como va
08 – Ronald Isley intro
09 – Love makes the world go round
10 – Freedom in your mind
11 – Toussaint l’ouverture
Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals)
Neal Schon (guitar, vocals)
Gregg Rolie (Hammond B3, lead vocals)
Michael Shrieve (drums)
Michael Carabello (congas, percussion, backing vocals)
Karl Perazzo (percussion, vocals)
Benny Rietveld (bass)
David K. Mathews (keyboards)
Special guest vocalist: Ronald Isley
Note: Whichever version you buy, it’ll be accompanied by DVDs/Blu-ray discs. The quality could have been better, but I see them as more than a bonus to the fabulous music etched into the bits and bytes that are the CD(s).