ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]

Ultimate Live Santana

For a souvenir of a conflicted Santana, this crucial show at Winterland offers some insight. According to fan Jim Deplitch, "there was much more going on at Winterland besides various groups of individuals making political or religious statements. I got a strong sense that forces of good and evil were having a head on collision."  By this time, Santana had put out an album called Love, Devotion And Surrender with John McLaughlin. Clearly he was striving for spirituality but Mammon insisted the Santana band sell records, hence a series of "commercial" shows playing familiar favorites.



Click on the panels to download artwork



Santana
Live At Winterland 1973 [no label, 2CD]
Live at Winterland, San Francisco, CA Dec 31, 1973.

The recent release of yet another compilation of Santana's works, Ultimate Santana, reminded of a time when Santana balanced precariously between populism and spiritual quest. The music at the time in 1973 was a sincere search for meaning. But clearly Carlos Santana had to keep his minders and his band happy that they were a commercial venture.

This show at Winterland on the final night of 1973 is frantic with Santana offering much love to an audience seemingly wanting nothing but a good time. We offer below a first-person account from a very young Santana fan.

At Winterland: Several bands were on the slate, so I'll fast-forward past the forgettable opening acts, with the exception of Journey, who was scheduled to go on just before Santana. Before this night, the band called "Journey'" was completely unknown to me. Some of the locals gave us a rundown, explaining that Journey included former members of Santana and that this was their first live performance.

People were speculating what kind of music Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie was going to come out with. Journey's debut had hints of the old Santana band sound without the percussion. Neal and Gregg looked like they had something to prove and made an impact with the crowd right away. My first impression of Neal Schon was that he came across as like an egotistical Carlos Santana impersonator, based on his playing style and facial expressions. I remember that Dave and I agreed that Journey was a hot act and would be worth seeing again.

The crowd was getting noticeably toasted by this time, offering Journey loud intoxicated cheers of approval. After Journey finished, there was a rumor going around that Schon and Rolie would appear with Santana at the end of the night to do "Song of the Wind".

Ironically, minutes later, "Song of the Wind" began playing over the PA as a clue that Santana would soon be taking the stage. It sounded so good through the sound system, and I started getting excited, realizing that Carlos would be playing live, right in front of me. The wait was over, Winterland went completely dark, and the pleasant fragrance of incense cut through the smoky air.

From the right side of the stage, out of the shadows, appeared a smiling Carlos wearing all white with his hair cut short. When the spotlight found him, the finish of his red and orange sunburst Les Paul gleamed and looked ready to take off. This was a beautiful sight. Carlos checked his volume knob, and then played a few quick bursts of melodic notes, using his trademark tone. The adrenaline hit! There was no doubt that I was in the presence of greatness.

Next, Carlos requested a moment of silence for prayer. This felt like an awkward moment as a few people refused to quiet down. Not respecting his wishes seemed so rude. Slowly, the dynamics of the music built with intensity, and the band already sounded far sophisticated above the previous acts.

I was on sensory overload panning across the stage, seeing Carlos, Mike Shrieve, Doug Rauch, Armondo Perraza, Chepito, Tom Coster, etc., realizing that, wow, what a lineup they have! Focusing on Carlos, his guitar intensity and tone was incredible. It was loud enough to be heard over the band, but melodic to the ear. His lead passages were like beams from heaven, piercing and soaring through the clouds of the Winterland smoke. As a bass player, I was also glued to watching Doug Rauch, knowing that he had a style and presence that completely inspired me. I remember, however, feeling a little saddened not hearing Gregg Rolie's voice on "Black Magic Woman" and "Time to See the Sun."

As the set progressed, the crowd became more and more obnoxious as loud demands for "Evil Ways" and the blowing of noisy air horns escalated to a major distraction. It became clear that Dave and I were in the minority for cheering Carlos' new material and welcoming his message of spirituality. The majority of the audience was indulging in drugs, alcohol, cultural intolerance, and resistance to enlightenment.

Well into the set, Carlos paused to address the crowd and said something about sensing all the pain in the audience, and that he would cry for them. He even said he'd "play all night if you want me to." I was thoroughly impressed by Santana's courage and compassion, the way he tried to reach a hostile crowd that was not open to receiving his words of kindness. The situation got uglier, as a few fights broke out close to where we were standing.

After Santana played their last song and left the stage, Dave and I worked our way over to the nearest exit. I could be wrong, but I don't remember them doing an encore. The rumored reunion of Carlos, Gregg, and Neal was obviously not going to happen and at this point of the night, I was more concerned about getting out of there safely.

Strangely, I don't remember the New Year being welcomed in or at what part of the show that it happened. It was now 1974, the house lights are on, and Santana is gone. - Jim Deplitch December 31, 2003. Jim was 16 when he saw Santana at this gig.

Click here to visit Jim Deplitch's site.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, this recording has never been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at mybigo@bigozine.com if you want to download these tracks at a later time.

 
Disc I
Track 101 Going Home (3.9MB)
Track 102

A-1 Funk (10.9MB)

Track 103 Every Step Of The Way (11.9MB)
Track 104 Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (12.8MB)
Track 105 Oye Como Va (7.0MB)
Track 106 Just In Time To See The Sun (3.0MB)
Bambele (officially released on Viva Santana, 1988)
Track 108 Um-um-um (7.6MB)
 
Disc II
Track 201 Batucada (6.4MB)
Track 202 Xibaba (She-Ba-Ba) (6.1MB)
Track 203 Stone Flower (2.0MB)
Track 204 Castillos De Arena (Sand Castle) (2.2MB)
Track 205 Free Angela (11.2MB)
Track 206 Incident At Neshabur (24.0MB)
click here if you reside in the United States
click here if you reside outside the United States
Track 207 When I Look Into Your Eyes (5.1MB)
Track 208 Se A Cabo (11.4MB)

Lineup:

Carlos Santana (g/perc/vo)
Michael Shrieve (ds)
Jose "Chepito" Areas (perc)
Armando Peraza (perc/vo)
Douglas Rauch (b/g)
Richard Kermode (kbd)
Tom Coster (kbd/vo)
Leon Thomas (vo)



At the end of 1973, Santana were promoting their new album, Welcome, which included jazz singer Leon Thomas. Click on the link to order the album.




For more... email mybigo@bigozine.com with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."


 
November 14, 2007









 

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