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Santana - Sacred Fire (Live in Mexico) CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 19 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars The Latin jazz king himself, playing back home in Mexico, unleashes the hounds with this release. Cutting back and forth from the concert's footage (unquestionably dominating the DVD) and some footage of Carlos walking the streets of Mexico, playing his guitar. I found this strange: that during the middle of a song the scene would suddenly change. The stage to the streets is a sudden and polar shift, and I question the editors what inspired this artistic decision. Besides that, there are very little changes or effects. There's no visual show that you would expect to be playing on a large screen at a Porcupine Tree or Pink Floyd concert. Neither are there any significant effects like those throughout Arriving Somwhere... by the Tree. The only other significant effect is the flames that fade in and out during the softer songs. That, however, wasn't at all irritating or misplaced, and often actually improved the experience.

Video quality is decent-to-good (especially for '93's standards) and sound quality is a little better. One of the things that bothered me about this DVD was the ridiculous outfits the band members are wearing. Seems more like mid-late 80s than '93, if you ask me. The other problems I had with the concert: the cheesy and khaki keyboard voices, the absurd and funny faces that the singers make, and the over-enthusiastic crowd. But those things (except for the keyboard voices) do not affect the music itself. The main issue: the single focus of the concert is Carlos' solos, which appear in more than every other song, and are equally over the top and long. Don't get me wrong: the talent and conviction Santana plays with can not be overstated. But after seeing Carlos convulse in the fiery passion of his playing for the millionth time, and after hearing him mash the high notes like a mad man for the trillionth time, we begin to ask for some more variation.

Half of this video consists of fast, musicianship-heavy, percussion-dominated, rockers, in which Carlos does his soloing. The other half is occupied by the simpler pop songs, and the softer tunes, ruled by the cheesy 80s-style keyboard voices. Straying from English to Spanish, vocals are very scarce. This is mainly an instrumental concert, despite the many singers. In fact, I believe there's one member who only sings (and never or rarely lead, if I'm not mistaken) and during the extended blazing solos, and the complex jazzy instrumental, he does nothing but silly dances. In fact, he's not the only one who is possessed by the gaiety of the moment. It seems that most of the audience is going mad with excitement, and dancing like lunatics. In fact, I found there was actually too much footage of the audience.

But, although it is weighed by many flaws and shortcomings, the DVD offers a fun time. The soloing and incredible talent and synchronization of the three or four percussionists is very entertaining. Keyboards, bass and drums all have their own moments in the spot light, and the musicians are all incredibly talented. Even the inspiring, and sometimes spiritual, words from Carlos show his Utopian-spirit, and adds a nice message to the ensemble of songs. The subtitles for these words are clad in some minor colourful effects, and sometimes have a poor translation (or, at least it would seem so). Overall, though, the DVD is a good diversion from the dreariness of life, and can ignite a season of joy in anyone.

Shakespeare | 2/5 |


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