Earlier this year, veteran guitarist Carlos Santana and his fellow musicians released what is one of the most anticipated albums of the past forty years in the form of Santana IV. The album, released April 15th, it more than lived up to its expectations. And now the band has followed up the album’s release with what is an equally impressive live recording supporting that album in the form of Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues Las Vegas. This new live recording is available now in stores and online. It is a wonderful experience for those who were not able to experience the group’s live show during its most recent tour. That is due in no small part to the show’s extensive 24-song set list. That will be discussed shortly. The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the two and a half hour concert is just as important to note of its presentation. Last but most hardly least of note in its presentation is the companion booklet included with the recording. Of course one could even argue that the recording’s variety of platforms and its related packaging in said platforms are both important, too. Considering all of these positions it is safe to say that Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues Las Vegas is one of this year’s top new live recordings if not the year’s top new live recording.
Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues Las Vegas is one of this year’s top new live recordings if not the year’s top new live recording. That is because of the number of positives that it boasts. Those positives begin with the concert’s set list. The 24-song set list lifts liberally from Santana’s latest full-length studio recording and from all three of the band’s original albums. A little more than half of the set list is made up of songs from Santana IV to be precise. Simply put, all but three songs featured in Santana IV are included in this set list. All three classic Santana albums represented in the show’s set list are equally represented too, with the band’s debut album being represented by no fewer than three songs and the next two records—Abraxas and Santana III—getting no fewer than four nods each. As if that isn’t enough, Eagle Rock Entertainment made perfectly clear on the recording’s packaging how the set list was divided up – at least to a point. Even as minor as that might be to the recording’s presentation even it is important to note, because of the time that it saves audiences in trying to find out which albums were represented here. That is just one way in which the set list proves to be so important to the recording’s set list. The songs that are featured here could easily be argued to be a way to introduce and re-introduce fans to the band. For more seasoned fans, it serves as a great way to re-introduce them to this incredible act. For younger fans who are less familiar with the band’s body of work, representing those three albums right next to its latest album serves to exhibit the band’s roots and to educate those fans about the band’s history at the same time. Keeping this in mind it becomes especially clear why the set list presented here is so important to the recording’s presentation. Even with all of its importance, the concert’s set list is not its only key element. The band’s stage presence throughout its two and a half hour concert is just as important to note here as the songs that the group performs.
The songs that make up the body of this recording’s set list are important in their own right to the recording’s presentation. That is due to the fact that the set list serves at least a dual purpose. Even as important as the show’s set list is to its presentation it is not the presentation’s only key element. The band’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as important to note as the show’s set list. From beginning to end, Santana and his fellow musicians let their performances do the talking for them. The ease with which drummer Michael Schrieve switches between traditional and matched grip in each song is incredible to behold. The man misses not a single beat at any point. The passion exhibited by both Carlos Santana and Neal Schon as they make their way through each song, regardless of who takes the lead, is just as inspiring to see. The duo of Michael Carabello and Karl Perazo on backing percussion adds its own flare to the group’s presence throughout. The pair’s love for its craft translates just as well on screen as that presented by the rest of the musicians on stage. That is due to the energy that is displayed by each man as he drives each song forward. From one musician to the next, every member of this organization displays such a solid presence throughout the performance. Its presence is so solid that it feels that there is nothing left to give by the show’s end. That will leave home audiences feeling just as fulfilled as the audience that was in attendance at the show’s recording. It should be obvious by now why the band’s stage presence is just as important to note in examining this recording’s presentation as the show’s set list. It still is not the recording’s last notable element. The companion booklet is just as important to note here as the concert’s set list and the band’s performance thereof.
The set list that makes up the body of Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues Las Vegas and the band’s performance of that set list are both key elements to note in examining the recording’s presentation. Each element proves equal to the other in its importance to the recording’s presentation. While each element is important in its own way to the recording, there are still plenty of other elements that can be noted, not the least of which is the companion booklet included in the recording. The booklet is so important to note due to the liner notes presented therein. The liner notes, composed by Hal Miller, outline the band’s history and lead up to the band’s performance at The House of Blues Las Vegas. Miller’s notes are thorough to say the least in regards to the band’s history. They serve as yet another wonderful way to teach young audiences about the band. The closing remarks about the band’s performance are just as enlightening as those that outline the band’s history. That is because it really brings the band’s story full circle. If any one thing can be said to the negative about the liner notes, it is that it would have been great to see even more notes about the concert itself in place of the performance photos that are also included in the booklet. That aside, Miller’s notes are still a wonderful addition to the overall concert experience for audiences in this presentation regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Santana. Keeping that in mind, the liner notes presented in the recording’s companion booklet couple with the show’s set list and the band’s performance of that set list to paint a picture that exhibits vividly why this recording is so enjoyable. Even with all of this in mind, these three elements are still not all that one could note. The varied platforms on which the concert is available and the packaging of each platform is just as important to note. All things considered, Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues Las Vegas proves to be one of this year’s best new live recordings, if not the year’s best.
Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues is one of 2016’s top new live recordings if not the year’s best new live recording. That is because there is so much to say to the positive about this recording’s presentation. Its set list entertains and educates all at the same time. The band’s performance will keep audiences of all ages completely enthralled and engaged from beginning to end. That is because of the passion displayed by each musician for his craft and his love for performing with his band mates. Hal Miller’s liner notes presented in the concert’s companion booklet serve as a secondary education of sorts right next to the show’s set list. That adds even more to the concert’s overall experience for home audiences. When one adds in the varied platforms on which the concert is made available and their respective packaging, the concert’s overall presentation is solidified in whole. Each element is important in its own right. That should be obvious by now. All things considered, Santana IV: Live at The House of Blues Las Vegas proves wholly to be one of this year’s top new live recordings if not the year’s best. More information on this recording is available online now along with all of Carlos Santana’s latest news at:
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