‘Live At Us Festival’ Is Santana’s Third Solid Release So Far This Year

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Studios/Icon Television Music, Inc./Sony Music

Carlos Santana has been in the headlines a lot this year.  He released a new EP in January.  That record ­– In Search of Mona Lisa — was followed up in June, with a new full-length album, Africa Speaks.  Early this month, even more music from Santana saw the light of day with a new archived concert from Shout! Factory, Icon Television Music, Inc. and Sony Music in the form of Live at Us Festival.  Originally recorded Sept. 4, 1982, the vintage recording was released on Blu-ray Sept. 6, almost 37 years to the day after the concert featured in the presentation.  The recording is another welcome presentation for fans of Carlos Santana in part because of its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The recording’s editing adds to its interest and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content featured with the recording rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted here plays its own part in making the concert appealing for Santana fans and music fans alike.  All things considered, they make the recording in whole, one more of this year’s top new live Blu-rays and DVDs.

Carlos Santana’s latest live recording Live at Us Festival is an enjoyable new offering from one of the elder statesmen of the music industry that his fans and music fans alike will enjoy.  That is due in part to the set list featured in this vintage concert recording.  The show’s set list is made up of a total of 13 songs, two of which – ‘Gypsy Queen’ and ‘Marbles’ – are actually part of some two-song collections.  The songs in total show, even then, they wide range of Santana’s talents and his fellow musicians.  The whole thing opens with a performance of the group’s own work, ‘Searchin,’ which is then followed up by the first of the two-part pieces, ‘Black Magic Woman’/’Gypsy Queen.’  What is important to note here is that ‘Black Magic Woman’ was originally composed by peter Green and made famous by Fleetwood Mac.  Fleetwood Mac is a far cry, stylistically, from Santana.  Yet Santana and company made the song their own, and did so impressively at that.  The musicianship of the percussionists – Raul Rekow, Armando Peraza and Orestas Vilat – adds so much to the performance.  The control they have on their respective instruments is astonishing in the best way possible.  Much the same can be said of the trio’s performance during ‘Savor.’  The timbales, guiro and congas really serve as the backbone for the arrangement, which in this case is one of the group’s originals.  The keyboards, handled by Richard Baker, add even more enjoyment to the performance.  This is just one more way in which the set list shines.  Between the group’s own originals and its covers, the whole of the set list makes for a presentation that without any doubt, will keep audiences fully engaged and entertained.  The only down side to the whole thing is the fact that audiences don’t get the band’s whole set in this concert.  Also featured in the concert were performances of the songs ‘Primera Invasion,’ ‘Dealer/’Spanish Rose’ and ‘Soul Sacrifice.’  They were also omitted from the concert’s broadcast on AXS TV.  That aside, what is presented in terms of the set list and performance thereof is enjoyable in its own right.  To that end, it creates a solid foundation for the recording’s whole.

While the concert footage featured in the recording is a key piece of its whole, it is not the recording’s only important element.  The recording’s editing plays into its whole, too. In examining the editing, the most notable aspect thereof is the separation of the recording between its concert and interview segments.  Each performance segment is preceded by an interview segment with Santana that is clearly much more recent than the footage from the concert.  Those breaks from the concert not only serve to help the recording’s pacing, but also to make the overall presentation more personal for viewers.  That is thanks to Santana’s very real and frank commentaries.  Those commentaries tackle a variety of topics, such as his view about the roots of what so many people label as Latin music, “real guitarists vs. not-so-real guitarists,” and the purpose of music.  Those discussions in themselves are just as certain to keep viewers entertained and are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The bonus extended interviews featured with the recording make for even more interest.

The extended discussions that are featured as bonus content show Santana’s lighter side as he talks about “real guitarists” playing from all throughout inside instead of just their fingers.  He also goes into more depth about his sound and that of his band not really being a signature sound.  That discussion is one of the most enlightening of the discussions.  He also goes into more depth as to his view of how “Latin” music has been mislabeled by the powers that be.  Between these discussions and more, the extended discussion cuts truly are bonuses that are just as worth taking in as the concert’s main footage.  When both elements are considered along with the recording’s editing, the whole of the recording becomes a presentation that Santana’s fans will appreciate just as much as music fans in general.

Live at Us Festival is a positive new offering from Carlos Santana that music lovers across the board will appreciate.  It offers a set list that clearly puts on display the talents of Santana and his fellow musicians and the breadth of the band’s influences.  That in itself makes the concert well worth viewing.  The concert’s editing ensures even more, its appeal for viewers, as it is broken up into varying live and interview segments.  The bonus extended interview cuts that are featured with the recording put the final touch on the recording’s whole.  Each item discussed is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Live at Us Festival one more welcome addition to the music libraries of Santana’s most devoted fans and of audiophiles in general.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory




More information on Live at Us Festival is available online now along with all of Carlos Santana’s latest news at:




Website: http://www.santana.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carlossantana

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SantanaCarlos




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Styx Announces ‘The Mission’ Re-Issue, Tommy Shaw Live Release Dates

Styx has a bunch of news for its fans this summer.

The band is currently on the road on a co-headlining tour with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.  The tour includes a stop in North Carolina’s capitol city, Raleigh next week at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek.  Fellow veteran rock act Tesla is also on the bill as support.  Tickets for that show are available now here.

Courtesy: UMe

Styx’s latest tour run is in support of its latest album, The Mission, which was released June 16, 2017 via UMe.  This summer, the band will have two more reasons for its tour as it re-issues The Mission and as vocalist Tommy Shaw prepares to release his new album.

The Mission is currently scheduled to be re-issued July 27 via Alpha Dog 2T/UMe.  The new re-issue is expected to include a bonus DVD with bonus videos, “making of’ documentary interviews with Tommy Shaw and producer Will Evankovich, music videos for ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ and ‘Radio Silence,’ and three hi-res playback modes and more.  Pre-orders are open now.

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

On June 29, Shaw will release his new live recording Sing For The Day via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  Shaw was joined by the Contemporary Youth Orchestra for the 13-song performance.  Originally recorded in 2016 at the Waetjen Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohhio, the concert — which will be available on CD, Blu-ray and digital platforms — features unique takes on classic Styx and Tommy Shaw songs such as ‘Blue Collar Man,’ ‘Girls With Guns,’ and ‘Too Much Time on My Hands.’

Along with presenting some familiar songs in a new format, the concert also marks the 10th anniversary of Styx’s original 2006 performance with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra.  That performance was captured in the band’s live recording One With EverythingSing For The Day!‘s set list is noted below.  Pre-orders are open now.

SING FOR THE DAY! Track Listing:
1. Overture
2. Girls With Guns
3. Too Much Time On My Hands
4. Fooling Yourself
5. Diamond
6. Crystal Ball
7. Boat On The River
8. Sing For The Day
9. Renegade
10. Man In The Wilderness
11. Come Again
12. High Enough
13. Blue Collar Man
Blu-ray Bonus songs:
Down That Highway
The Great Divide
I’ll Be Coming Home
The Night Goes On

Along with the noted releases, AXS TV will present on June 30, a “Saturday Styx Lineup.”  The broadcast, which starts at 1 p.m. ET, will feature conversations and classic Styx performances.  Shaw and band mates Jame “Jy” Young and Lawrence Gowan will sit down with legendary news man Dan Rather to talk about the band’s history, the writing process an more in “The Big Interview.”

The celebration continues at 2 p.m. as the band joins none other than Sammy Hagar (ex-Van Halen, Chickenfoot, ex-Ronnie Montrose) for a special session backstage at The Venetian in Las Vegas on “Rock and Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar.”

At 2:30, AXS TV will air the band’s 2015 recording Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas.  The 18-song set was originally recorded during a performance by the band at said venue in 2014 during its “Soundtrack of Summer” tour.  The recording was released in stores and online September 2, 2016 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Shaw’s previously noted upcoming performance with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra continues the network’s afternoon-long schedule at 3 p.m. ET.  It all starts over at 5 p.m. ET.

More information on Styx’s forthcoming recordings, its AXS TV schedule, its latest news and more is available online now at:


Website: http://www.styxworld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/styxtheband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/styxtheband


More information on Shaw’s new live recording and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:


Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews


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Les Paul 2006 Tribute Concert Comes Up Short In Its Attempt To Honor A Legend

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/MVDVisual

Les Paul is an American Master. Period. For decades, Paul has been known as “one of the music industry’s greatest minds, having created one of the industry’s most well-known and respected guitar lines. He also was responsible for recording tech that has become the standard across the board. On June 18, 2006, a concert was held — fittingly — at the Gibson Amphitheatre to pay tribute to Les Paul and his legacy. Originally aired on AXS TV this past June, the concert was released on DVD early this past September via MVD Entertainment Group. While it is an enjoyable experience overall, it is not a perfect recording. The concert itself , which features some very well-known Les Paul devotees, sits at the center of the recording and is both a positive and a negative in the program’s overall presentation. Another notable negative to the presentation here is a total lack of a program guide. That will be discussed later. The segmentation of the concert and interview segments is its own positive to this presentation. Each element is, in its own right, important to the recording’s whole. All things considered, A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood proves to be an unsuspectingly entertaining program.

MVD Entertainment’s recently released A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood, is a program that, while entertaining, leaves something to be desired in the end. That is due in part to its set list. Coming in at 93 minutes, the concert’s lineup features performances from some very well-known and respected guitarists including Joe Satriani, Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit), Steve Lukather (Toto) Neal Schonn (Journey), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band), Buddy Guy and others. Even famed front man Edgar Winter (The Edgar Winter Group) came along for the ride along with Joe Perry (Aerosmith). Many of the songs performed throughout the concert are covers, though Satriani did perform a pair of his own works in the form of ‘Satch Boogie’ and ‘House Full of Bullets.’ The covers included takes on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition,’ Willie Dixon’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man,’ which was first made famous by Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter And’s ‘Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo’ among others. Between these and other songs featured throughout the concert, and the artists tapped to perform them, audiences get in the performance, a dual music history lesson for all intents and purpose. They see veteran performers taking on some equally well-known songs, some of which are their own and some of which are covers. Considering all of this, the very setup for the concert serves as a positive for this recording. At the same time, being that the concert is only 93 minutes long and considering Les Paul’s legacy, it is surprising that more stars were not tapped for the concert. That lack of more performers (and in turn songs) actually detracts from the recording to a certain point, leaving audiences wanting more, but not in a good way. This sadly is not the recording’s only negative. The lack of a program guide hurts the recording’s presentation to a point, too.

Audiences will note in examining the recording’s packaging that nowhere inside or outside the box is a program guide to be found. It is listed on the program’s main menu, but nowhere else. As has been noted so many times before about similar products, it would be nice to have that piece of the proverbial puzzle as it serves not only as a guide, but as a marketing tool that can serve to increase potential viewers’ chances of purchasing the program. By not having that guide included either in physical or printed form, MVD Entertainment Group has only hurt itself here. It really is a critical piece of the whole, even as much as it might not seem like it is. It is in reality, its own companion to the actual concert, which ties in a handful of interview segments with the featured artists. That segmentation, by the way, rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

Segmenting the concert footage in this recording with the companion interview footage was truly a smart move here considering how little actual performance footage was actually included in its presentation. Without the interview segments, the program’s run time might have only run about half of that 93-minute run time, ultimately making it a failure. Luckily, those behind the program knew well enough to add in the interview footage, which itself adds its own insight to the program while also breaking up the concert and keeping audiences engaged. Audiences will be interested to learn through the interview segments that Les Paul was the person responsible for initially developing the 8-track recording machine (I.E. multi-track recording). Audiences also learn through Slash’s interview segment how much his appreciation for Paul grew as he himself grew. Joe Satriani also offers a funny anecdotes about being pranked by Les Paul at one point in his segment. Theirs are not the only interesting interview segments. Edgar Winters adds his own interesting thoughts in his interview, too. All things considered here, the segmentation of the program’s concert and interview segment proves a critical part of its overall presentation. When it is coupled with the recording’s very concert footage, the two elements make A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood worth at least one watch.

MVD Entertainment Group’s recent home release of AXS TV’s Les Paul tribute concert A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood is an entertaining recording worth at least one watch. The lineup, which featured a number of well-known artists performing some equally well-known songs, played into this in a big way, both to the pro and con. The lack of any program guide hurt the program’s presentation in its home release, too, sadly. Luckily, the program’s overall presentation, which mixed the concert footage with interview footage, makes up at least to a point for the issues raised by the concert’s short run time and lack of program guide. It helps establish the program’s relatively short 93-minute run time. As noted already, each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, they make A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood a concert that while not necessarily one of the year’s most memorable recordings, worth at least one watch. It is available now and can be ordered online via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store. More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MVDEntertainmentGroup

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

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