Friday, December 14, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 288 - Santana - Sacred Fire (Live in South America)

Album – Sacred Fire: Live in South America
Artist - Santana
Key Players – Jorge Santana – guitar. Vorriece Cooper – lead and backing vocals. Alex Ligertwood – lead and backing vocals. Karl Perazzo – timbales, congas, lead and backing vocals. Raul Rekow – congas, percussion, backing vocals. Walfredo Reyes – drums and percussion. Myron Dove – bass, backing vocals. Chester Thompson – keyboards, backing vocals. Carlos Santana – guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals and percussion.

Produced By – Carlos Santana and Chester Thompson

Release Date – October 19, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I heard a track from Santana on a classic rock station recently and decided I wanted to go back and check his stuff out more. This one just reached to me first for some reason.

Overview – This is a live album recorded at various locations and was also released as a long form live concert DVD. Santana has been writing and performing since the late 1960's. He has sold over 90 million albums worldwide and is considered one of the greatest living guitar players. Even with his massive discography, this was only his second live album to be released. In 1999 Santana was again brought to the forefront when he released the widely popular “Supernatural” album. Along with various collaborators it would go to be his most successful release to date.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – This is a pretty long record. Close to 80 minutes for the 13 tracks. It all opens with “Angels All Around Us (Introduction)”. This is much like the band “tuning up” with a lot of audience in the background. The good part is the mix sounds good right from the start, and the sound from Carlos is great. Carlos speaks to the audience in Spanish. Right away we head to “Vive La Vida (Life is For Living)” with the salsa infused groove from Santana. The percussion instruments are right up and the bass from Dove rises out of that. There is a “lot” going on with the various timbales and congas as well as the Thompson fed keyboard sections. There are many folks singing, but that just adds to the festive feel of the track. Each member seems to sway in and out of solos. Of course this is a Carlos affair, so you are going to get a trademark soaring solo. “Esperando” is much more “calm” that the previous track. A bit more focused on the keyboards at the start. The vocals harmonies are nice and Dove continues to lay a solid foundation on the bass. Reyes also seems to lead the percussion players with his simple, yet rhythmic tempo. The vocalists later reach to the audience for a large call and response on the song. Carlos is quick to take the lead back and has a tight solo. Dove and Thompson lead the charge as “No One To Depend On” starts. Dove has some big slap bass fills and Carlos really works to take it all off. The intro is solid and the band eases back some as the verses begin, but whenever given the shot the percussion all rumbles out. They are fun to listen, when the all take off and seem to work as one. The big one two punch of “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen” follows. The band stretches this over eight minutes long. Carlos just soars on the intro, as expected. Thompson is laid back, while Perazzo, and Rewkow seem to have octopus arms, hitting everything in reach. It is nearly impossible to sit still and listen to this track. Either your toes are tapping or you've strapped on your air guitar. Its okay..go ahead. I swear I hear him tease “Paint in Black” as well. The band just goes on a mission and everything really takes off. This is one very tight band that has found its groove. The fire keeps going as the staple “Oye Como Va” comes. The Tito Puente penned tune gets all the full glory. Need an argument for one of the finest guitar players ever? Look no further. “Samba Pa Ti” is a little more laid back track than we've been getting and Carlos is okay with his “softer” side, but after a bit the instrumental track really blossoms. Another stunning showcase. Dove and Thompson are the focus as “Guajira” begins. This is really a solid showcase for Thompson as he gets an extended section on the piano and the band is happy to play second fiddle if you will. A bit more in the track after Carlos has his first run the percussion section all fires off and then Carlos comes back around. You can still hear the work that Thompson does for the duration, which is great since everyone seems to build up and up. “Make Somebody Happy” has a quiet intro with just some light notes from Carlos, but mostly a keyboard. Carlos speaks to the audience and the band comes in. Its a slower track and no one person really stands out until Carlos has his solo, but then everything seems to come back to what it was. We kick it up again on “Toussaint L'Overture”. Carlos flies out of the gate and everyone is right there to keep pace. Dove finds his slot, and the timbales are just cooking too. Your hands almost hurt just listening to the tempo and ferocity at which this is played. The workout continues as the band starts up “Soul Sacrifice/Don't Try this at Home”. Percussion reigns supreme before Dove comes in and we really get cooking. The track ebbs and flows from calm to frantic. Honestly though, when the band gets moving..look out. The extended dueling percussion portion is really great. One of the most well know (and personal favorites) follows as “Europa” soars off the speakers. One word...Sustain. That is all. The collection ends with “Jo-Go-Lo-Ba” and rowdy annual festivcal like track that is a perfect closer.

Where are they now? - Santana is still writing and performing live. In 2013 he will take up a residency in Las Vegas.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have seen Santana on two occasions. The first was August 13, 1995 at the Comcast Center. We had pretty close seats and Jeff Beck was actually the support act. It was a tight fun show. The second time was July 25, 1997 at Comcast again. Rusted Root shared the stage with Santana at this show. This was one of the earliest shows I also recorded. I haven't listened to it in years. Maybe I should.

FDF Overall Take – For a new, or casual fan this is a pretty solid collection. The full band is very good and there are few “down” moments. It might be lacking in the hits that some newer fans would be looking for, but it is pretty cheap and easy to track down. You should check it out.

Official Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
No One To Depend On
Oye Como Va
Europa (not from this set, but a great live version)

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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