Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2004 // 181 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // August 9th, 2007
Jammin' for the sake of peace.
Carlos Santana was all over the 2004 Montreux Jazz Festival. Aside from this performance, he played as a supporting musician in separate concerts for Buddy Guy, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Bobby Parker, blues legends who got the chance to wow a new audience of admirers. The review of that performance is included in the "Accomplices" section for your consumption. Santana managed to maintain a relationship with Festival Director Claude Nobs through three decades, and was given a separate opportunity to set up his own concert and wish list of musicians (which originally started as an idea from Santana and the late Miles Davis). He still managed to put together a group of guest performers together with whom he could perform while celebrating peace and freedom. The group, which included artists like Steve Winwood, Nile Rodgers and Herbie Hancock, appeared and performed the following:
* "Afro Blue"
* "Redemption Song" (yes, a Bob Marley cover)
* "Exodus/Get Up Stand Up" (more Marley bang for the collective buck)
* "Blowin' in the Wind/A Place in the Sun"
* "Just Like a Woman" (guess it's logical that at a peace show they cover Dylan)
* "What's Going On" (some Marvin Gaye to give the room some soul)
* "Peace on Earth/Boogie Woman"
* "Why Can't We Live Together"
* "Light at the Edge of the World"
* "Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord"
* "Banana Boat Song" (Harry Belafonte?)
* "Day of Celebration"
* "Ah Sweet Dancer/In a Silent Way"
* "A Love Supreme" (Santana doing Coltrane? Not bad!)
* "Ode to Joy" (I guess every guitarist has to learn this at some point)
There are even several bonus tracks of more peace songs, including:
* "One Love"
* "Give Peace a Chance"
For almost three hours, you are exposed to what is a fairly decent concert experience. Aside from the group of musicians that comprises his band, in musicians like Hancock, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter and others, he gets together a group of people that just enjoy jamming. Very often you're going to get a song that lasts upwards of 10 minutes, thanks to the solos and whatnot. It's not a bad thing at all; it sets the expectation that the performance of the evening is going to be a mellow experience, which it lives up to. It incorporates blues, jazz and African world music in a melodious combination. Granted, covering quite a few reggae and calypso (if that's what I can call Harry Belafonte's music) does lend itself to those rhythms, but they also reinterpret songs by Bob Dylan, John Lennon and others in a way that makes those songs unique and memorable.
From a technical perspective, this is the first concert that I've viewed on HD DVD and the image looks better than I expected. The stage lights show off the particular performer one way or the other and the level of detail picked up is quite good. As in previous cases, the audio is to be the big performer in these shows, and you get your choice of a PCM, a 5.1 surround and a DTS HD soundmix to pick from. Each is good in their own right, the DTS HD track is the one I listened to for most of the performance, and its range is the broadest and to my plebian ears the clearest of the three, and well worth it for those who have next generation equipment.
Overall, I've got to give this Carlos Santana HD DVD a hearty thumbs up when it comes to the question of whether or not the disc is worth it. The Montreux series of discs have been pretty good for the most part, and ramping up to the HD world hasn't been a long trek for them to make. They are at least worth renting to check out how good they sound, and you might wind up buying them.
Review content copyright © 2007 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* DTS HD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 181 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Carlos Santana Web Site
* Official Montreux Jazz Festival Web Site
* Santana's Blues at Montreux 2004 DVD Verdict Review