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Santana - Lotus CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.84 | 113 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars As far as 1970s rock excess goes you can't really get more excessive than Santana's psychedelic rock marathon 'Lotus', a triple-disc live offering featuring over over one-hour- and-fifty-minutes worth of music spread out over twenty-two tracks that originally was conceived as a Japan-only release. The epic running-time dwarfs many of the most ambitious rock records of the era, making seemingly-endless prog concept albums such as Yes' double-sided paean to the Shastric scriptures 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and Genesis's similarly-sized prog opera 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' seem brisk and economical in comparison, an achievement that is no easy feat.

The year is 1974. Latin-psych rock gods Santana, still dazed and star-kissed by the success, both critical and commercial, of their soon-to-be-seminal albums 'Santana', 'Abraxus', 'Caravanserai' and 'Welcome', are riding a wave of kudos that has seen them become one of the decade's most recognisable and popular acts, both on record and in the live arena, throughout the Americas into Europe and beyond. The group, headed by the liquid-fingered guitarist Carlos Santana, were performing another series of sold-out series of concerts and their focus at this time would be on the quickly-expanding, near-fanatical and highly lucrative Japanese market with Osaka the next stop on the seemingly never- ending road of gigs, parties, label events and recording sessions. Across three steamy nights, Santana's seven-man line-up lit up the city arena with a densely-mystical rendition of their jazz-and-latin spiced brand of psychedelic rock, stretching, bending and injecting hit tunes such as 'Black Magic Woman', 'Gypsy Queen' and 'Samba Pa Ti' with a raw sense of creativity and improvisational ability in that way great musicians seem to be able to when clutched in the heart of a live rock event. 'Lotus' was, after all, a product of the now long gone time of the 'name' musician, a time when rock music was at it's limitless apex, musicians enabled to push the boundaries of the limited pop formats of yesterday into boundless wonder whilst adoring audiences cheered their heroes with sycophantic glee. Santana, the temporary rock gods that they were, lap up the good vibes enveloping their every pore and blast forth the show of their lives. Such was album's impact and popularity that soon import copies began to make their way across the long seas to Britain, North America, Germany, Australia, Canada and France in all it's triple-gatefold glory. 'Lotus' is Santana in full-flowing, awe-inspiring mode, a mode that wouldn't again be reached on their upcoming studio albums that would slowly-but-surely decline in quality as the seventies wore on, punk began it's bloody cull and the eighties started to rise up in the distance like a panting, slavering, neon-coloured dog ready to devour the last vestiges of creativity an originality. 'Lotus', therefore, is two significant items. Firstly it is one of the great live rock albums of all time; secondly, it is the last great Santana album. Beauty tinged with sadness, brilliance filled with inevitability. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011

stefro | 5/5 |


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