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



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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I must have seen SANTANA on stage at least 8 times plus a huge number of videos, concert films and bootlegs but never had the chance to appreciate him playing with such enthusiasm as in "Sacred Fire" filmed in his native Mexico.

Seems like the call of the blood is very strong in him and Carlos gives all he has for his people, this identification is so strong his musicians from different coutries seem inspired by this spirit and also offer us an spectacular performance with no weak spots..

If we need to talk about the musicians, it's necessary to highlight the presence of Chester Thompson who is simply amazing with the keyboards. Sounds as a Cuban pianist when playing "Oye Como Va" by the "maestro" Tito Puente or the traditional "Guajira" with arrangements by José Chepito Areas (Legendary musician and former SANTANA percussionist), but he is also able to sound as a San Francisco Psychedelic keyboardist during the late 60's in tracks as "Black Magic Woman" or "Soul Sacrifice", there's no difference for him, always adequate changing of style when required as a human chameleon.

Jorge Santana (Carlos youngest sibling) has a very similar guitar style to his famous brother but of course not as skilled (well hardly anybody is as skilled), despite this fact he's always accurate, he even offers a couple of very convincing solos.

Traditionally the strength of SANTANA (Apart from the guitar) has rested in the rich and eclectic rhythm section and mainly in the percussion....."Sacred Fire" is not the exception, Walfredo Reyes on drums, the spectacular Raul Rekow in the congas and Karl Perazo playing the timbales make a perfect team with Myron Dove who adds the required power with his bass.

The vocals are also outstanding with the already member of Santana family Alex Ligertwood supported by the force of Vorriece Cooper.

I believe it's unnecessary to talk about the individual tracks because all are well known including material from all his career, the sound is very good and the picture also but the most emotional sections are when Carlos Santana appears surrounded by beautiful Colonial landscapes from Mexico, specially in the nostalgic "Europe".

But the review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the public, who surrenders to their famous compatriot and some señoritas almost in a mystic trance showing a bit of their attributes to the cameras.

I don't care if it's 100% Prog or not, neither if some people believe I'm being subjective or consider me a fanboy, I honestly believe beyond any reasonable doubt than this release is 5 stars material, if you don't own a SANTANA DVD, forget "Supernatural Live" and go for "Sacred Fire", no possible regret.

Report this review (#106941)
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars This is the best Mexican party you can attend, Carlos Santana playing a home game (recorded in Mexico City, 1993)! From the very first second on this DVD Carlos and his outstanding band blow you away: a super-inspired 'Sustain Santana' with lots of moving, often howling guitar soli, hot Afro-Cuban percussion play on conga's and timbales, strong vocalists and a keyboard player who delivers great work on the Hammond organ (with the spirit of Greg Rolie) and keyboards. Jorge Santana plays a beautiful guitar solo in Guajira, obviously inspired by his brother Carlos! It's fun to see all those swinging gorgeous women and air-guitar playing macho men in the crowd, they enjoyed themselves very much with great renditions of 'classics' like Black Magic Woman (sensational work on the bottle-neck by Carlos), Oye Como Va (exciting vibraphone solo on keyboards), Samba Pa Ti (sustain- time!), Soul Sacrifice (percussion-time!), Europa and of course the super-catchy conga rhythm of Jingo-Lo Ba, everybody freaks out (including many children who were invited to join Carlos on stage), Carlos Santana should be president of this world because he is the one who tries to unite people from all nations!

Report this review (#108734)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#133855)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent Stage Act, Excellent Live album!

During the days of laser disc (LD) era, I purchased this concert film and found it very entertaining. I always played it loud to get clear and best sound. One thing that really makes this live album excellent is the fact that all players in the band contribute their performance energetically - not only play their instruments but also their stage acts.From the opening track "Angels All Around Us (introducción)" which features Carlos Santana's guitar solo, it's very obvious that it's gonna be a great show. It's basically showcasing Carlos Santana himself without any band members. But the next track "Spirits Dacing In The Flesh" all the band members appear together and they perform excellently with their respective instrument. My favorite is the congas player Rauld Rekow. Not that he plays his congas skillfully but more importantly he does it with charm and energy. He is so enthusiastic with his work. He rocks!

Under "Batuka" I can see an excellent blend of drum, guitar, congas and keyboard. Not only that, all musicians do excellent stage acts that really rock the audience. My astonishment with this live video is when "No One To Depend On" performed beautifully. The song has been with me during my childhood and I cannot believe that I see them playing this favorite tune "live". Oh, what a great performance! Not only that, each individual track is performed really well by the band. Again, I cannot believe it's true that I can see them play another favorite of mine "Guajira" followed by "Open Invitation".

Overall, this is truly an excellent show and it's very enjoyable whether or not you like progressive music. It's more on latin rock - and who in the world does not like latin music?

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#133870)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent video from Santana, captured live on stage in Mexico. The film direction is awesome capturing both the band on stage and the diverse generation audience bursting out of joy. There are occasional video clip sequences shot across the Ciudad but they are masterfully edited within the concert scenes. It is 1993 and must admit I do not know any of the band members, but they are all excellent musicians, with the keyboardist and the timbalero stealing the show. The track list stresses the two perhaps most popular albums of Santana, Abraxas and Santana 3 which is just fine. If you love Santana you must have this DVD in your collection, but if you are new to this legendary artist it is highly recommended to see!
Report this review (#179351)
Posted Sunday, August 10, 2008 | Review Permalink

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