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Blu-ray Review: Santana Live At Montreux 2011 (Eagle Rock Entertainment)

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Santana Live at Montreux Blu-ray

Whew! If you’re looking for a good whopping dose of Santana, go no further than this Blu-ray. Filmed at the Montreux Jazz Festival (source of many excellent music Blu-rays) in 2011, this three-hour-plus concert featured a 23-song set list covering Santana’s classic hits as well as covers of other guitar-oriented rock standards as heard on the band’s recent Guitar Heaven CD.

Of course, Santana the band is all about Santana the man, and Carlos Santana remains the man. He stills brings his patented mix of fire and precision to his performances, and here he is the essence of control, never overwhelming the listener with too many notes or overplaying for speed. Every note has feeling and meaning.

Fans of Santana’s 1999 smash CD Supernatural, which featured a number of famous guest vocalists, may be somewhat disappointed that those voices aren’t here—for example, “Smooth” sorely misses the snarky attitude of Rob Thomas)­—but there are some cool guest artists, such as Allman Brothers slide guitar whiz Derek Trucks and his singer/guitarist wife Susan Tedeschi, along with Santana’s wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, best known as the former drummer for Lenny Kravitz. Carlos doesn’t “Yoko” us by overusing his wife, but her vocals and percussion are a welcome addition.

Elsewhere, Santana and his very capable band (including two lead vocalists and a full percussion line) drive home extended versions of classics such as “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” along with their own Latin-tinged covers of AC/DC’s “Back In Black” and “Sunshine of Your Love”, among others.

Like other Montreux concert discs, this one is notable for its high production values. Color is bold and bright, camera moves maintain momentum without being too jumpy, and the sound is clear and nicely mixed for surround—a crucial element, considering all of the instruments at play.

Buy Santana: Live at Montreux 2011 on Amazon[Blu-ray]
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