Carlos Santana has mixed, performed, and jammed with a plethora of musicians. Whether it’s Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews, or Michelle Branch, Santana has had quite a few mainstream hits over the last decade and it’s only further exposed the world to his mesmerizing guitar playing. But mainstream is not where Santana originated from and in 2004 Santana presented three separate legendary Blues musicians: Bobby Parker, Clarence Brown, and Buddy Guy. It wasn’t just Santana directing the show, however, as he was the special guest guitarist for the night during some pieces as well. Through three different sets and thirty one different songs, the Montreux Festival returned to its roots in July of 2004.
July 12, 2004 was a very special night at the Montreux Festival for any blues fan. With Carlos Santana as musical director (and special guest guitarist), three musical legends took to the stage. Each one delivered a full concert set packed with some of the finest blues guitar playing you’ll ever hear. Bobby Parker, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Buddy Guy are all headline acts in their own right so it was a real coup to get them on one line-up. Throw in the guest appearances by Carlos Santana and Chic maestro Nile Rodgers and blues heaven is complete!
Once again I’m out of my element with the music presented here. But at the same time it doesn’t matter in the least because it’s just such a fantastic collection of musicians. It doesn’t matter that I’ve no real experience listening to blues and I doubt learning to appreciate it by watching the likes of Carlos Santana perform it is a bad way to learn. While it’s obvious it’s the bigger name of Santana has likely drawn the crowd here, the three other musicians that join him at different intervals are certainly no strangers among the more die-hard blues fans of the crowd.
What’s great about this concert is it’s not brief in any way. The original DVD release was spread across three DVDs and this concert is presented on a single Blu-ray disc running nearly four hours in length. Not something you can breeze through in one sitting, but I honestly didn’t mind coming back again for part two after taking a bit of a break. There’s a lot here, to be sure, but that just means there’s a ton of it to enjoy. There are no extras, but that’s hardly a disappointment or surprise after nearly four hours with the blues legends presented here.
The three individual set lists are broken down as follows:
01. Straight Up No Chaser
02. Break It Up
03. Breaking Up Somebody’s Home
04. Nothing But the Blues
05. So Glad I Found You
06. I Ain’t Superstitious
07. It’s Unfair
08. Going Down Slow
09. Chill Out (feat. Carlos Santana)
10. Mellow Down Easy (feat. Carlos Santana)
11. Watch Your Step (feat. Carlos Santana)
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown
01. Bits and Pieces
02. Strange Things Happen
03. I’m Beginning to See the Light
04. Sunrise Cajun Style
05. Honey Boy
06. Further On Up the Road
07. I’ve Got My Mojo Working (feat. Carlos Santana & Buddy Guy)
08. Drifter (feat. Carlos Santana)
09. Grape Jelly (feat. Carlos Santana)
10. Okie Dokie Stomp (feat. Carlos Santana & Nile Rodgers)
01. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
02. Louise McGhee
03. Done Got Old
04. Hoochie Coochie Man
06. Drowning on Dry Land
07. Stormy Monday (feat. Carlos Santana)
08. Jam Session 1 (feat. Carlos Santana & Buddy Parker)
09. So Many Roads So Many Trains (feat. Carlos Santana & Bobby Parker)
10. Jam Session 2 (feat. Carlos Santana, Nile Rodgers & Bobby Parker)
Overall a delightful concert and one that’s Recommended.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Carlos Santana Presents: Blues at Montreux 2004 to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information and photos from the concert as well as information about the group, while the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. Sadly there are no extras aside from the aforementioned booklet, but as I said previously the concert is nearly four hours long…that’s plenty in of itself!
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded 1080i transfer. Being a fairly modern production there’s plenty of detail squeezed in and out of this transfer. There are no abundant fancy stage effects to disrupt the flow of the transfer and aside from some soft visuals due to floating fog or stage lighting, the overall quality of the concert is quite nice. Very solid transfer from start to finish.
Audio arrives in three mixes, as usual: LPCM Stereo, DD5.1, DTS-HD MA 5.1. As can be expected, especially since this is still a fairly recently performed concert, the DTS-HD MA track reigns supreme over the other two. Not that they sound bad, but the DTS track definitely has a more robust spread with a stronger presence in the surrounds and with the LFE output.
And…that’s it. A Recommended release for fans since newcomers likely won’t be too inclined to spend four hours watching the concert again. Although it is something that’s nice to have going in the background.
Carlos Santana Presents: Blues at Montreux 2004 is now available on Blu-ray.