Classic Carlos Santana Concert

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and legendary concert promoter Bill Graham’s US Festival was a financial disaster. However, it created lasting memories for everyone involved, including the hundreds of thousands in attendance. Some performances from the US Festival have grown in acclaim and stature over the years like this one. It’s only right that iconic moments are preserved for newer generations of fans.

Originally taking place on September 4, 1982 in California, Santana: Live At US Festival offers an electric performance from legendary guitarist Carlos Santana delivering the goods, in one of his signature concert performances.

Originally formed in the 1960s, Carlos Santana and his evolving band have had massive hits across the decades, building an impressive legacy. Beginning with Woodstock fifty years ago, the gifted guitarist has become a Rock icon and one of its most enduring legends.

Filmmaker and rockumentarian Glenn Aveni has taken Santana’s blistering concert performance from the US Festival and book-ended it with new interviews featuring Carlos Santana himself. The icon comments on Wozniak and Graham, attempting to explain the US Festival’s vibe. While the interview clips with Santana kind of ramble on, Aveni wisely cuts them short and gets back to what everyone wants: the music.

Some say Santana’s classic US Festival set rivals his iconic Woodstock performance, featuring a tight band with special guest Herbie Hancock making an appearance. It is a dynamic and lively concert performance, by a band that has refined their stagecraft and live playing over many shows.

…essential for all real fans of the guitarist

A line-up of thrilling hits and popular Santana tunes are included, everything from a magical “Black Magic Woman” to “Jingo Lo Ba” receive lively renditions. Besides Carlos and his searing lead guitar, Alex Ligertwood provides lead vocals, Richard Baker is on keyboards, David Margen is on bass guitar, Graham Lear on drums, and percussion is provided by Armando Peraza and Orestes Vilat.

Special guest Herbie Hancock helps out on an engaging “Incident At Neshabur.” He’s appeared off and on with Carlos Santana over the decades.

This is an energetic show and the band is in top form. Carlos Santana is the star but it’s a real group effort. They don’t veer far from the script, knocking out each song with a commanding presence. Everything musically meshes together, led by a smoking and soulful guitar performance from one of Rock’s greatest guitarists. Alex Ligertwood has a good set, including his powerful vocals on songs such as “Searchin’.”

Santana has been treated fairly well over the years on concert Blu-rays. Santana: Live At US Festival continues that grand tradition and is essential for all real fans of the guitarist.

TRACKLISTING:

• Searchin’

• Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen

• Oye Como Va

• Nowhere To Run

• Incident At Neshabur

• Savor

• Jingo Lo Ba

• Hold On

• She’s Not There / Marbles

• Open Invitation

• Shango

Video

Santana: Live At the US Festival is a mix of new interview footage in pure HD and 1982 concert footage shot entirely in SD. The entire feature runs 67 minutes and presented at 1080P resolution, switching aspect ratios from 1.78:1 HD footage to 1.33:1 SD footage on the fly.

The actual concert footage of the band, photgraphed from a variety of angles on stage, doesn’t look bad at all considering the limitations of standard definition. Upscaled to 1080P, It’s in largely pristine condition, outside of a few odd horizontal lines that appear during the last couple of songs. Clarity is high with serviceable levels of detail and contrast. The concert direction doesn’t stray from a few set angles with the occasional crowd shot included.

Shout Factory encodes the main feature in AVC at strong bitrate parameters, on a BD-25. Technically, this is a superb effort that translates very nicely given the source material’s limitations. The picture quality is a clear cut above the HD cable broadcast that circulated on AXSTV this past year.

Audio

The concert/documentary is heard in excellent stereo by lossless 2.0 DTS-HD MA audio. The US Festival’s performances were professionally recorded. This is a great concert performance that has been beautifully captured for posterity.

Santana and his band are heard in perfect fidelity, from Richard Baker’s keyboards to the driving percussion section. Alex Ligertwood’s lead vocals are cleanly delivered without distortion while Santana’s guitar receives prominent placement in the mix. Imaging is rock solid for a stereo mix. Maybe drums could be bumped up a little but this is well-recorded live audio by musicians on top of their game.

The audio is smoothly mastered with a punchy low end. There’s no obvious limiting and tunes like “Black Magic Woman” demonstrate fine dynamic range.

Optional English subtitles appear in a white font.

Extras

Shout Factory tosses in a few short featurettes to supplement the main concert feature. These extras all consist of outtakes from the new Santana interview that didn’t quite make the documentary itself. The inclusion of a CD for the concert performance would have been nice.

The Blu-ray is coded for Region A.

Santana’s Music (02:52 in HD) – The legendary guitarist discusses the roots of so-called Latin music, going back to the tribal rhythms of Africa.

The Signature Sound (01:23 in HD) – Carlos Santana discusses how he approaches guitar playing, concentrating on melody more than anything else.

Woodstock & US Festival (01:51 in HD) – Santana attempts to draw comparisons between the iconic Woodstock performance and the US Festival.

Santana & Bill Graham (01:22 in HD) – Santana explains his relationship with the notorious concert promoter over the decades.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Santana: Live at US Festival
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A classic concert at the US Festival from one of Rock’s greatest guitarists.

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