“Rain Dance – Live” by Gregg Rolie Band

Artist: Gregg Rolie Band
Title: “Rain Dance – Live”
Label: 33rd Street Music
Release Date: 6/24/2009
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4/5

Recently I was afforded the opportunity to enjoy a live performance of the Gregg Rolie Band who was on point to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Rock documentary film “Woodstock”. Rolie was in the film with the band Santana, a group in which he was a founding member, and resultant of the appearance on this particular stage Santana was forever imprinted in the minds of generations of Rock and Roll fans. He left Santana in 1971 and would form the eventual juggernaut of a musical enterprise Journey with fellow Santana alumnus Neil Schon. Fast forwarding a number of years found him forming groups like The Storm and Abraxas Pool and eventually The Gregg Rolie Band where he and his compatriots deliver what amounts to the closest thing to the original Santana vibe that one can enjoy anywhere. For the rare opportunity I attended Rolie and his band delivered a rousing set of Santana classics much to the delight of the room.

The live CD “Rain Dance” allows all of you to enjoy what I was able to dig into as Rolie and band dish out the Santana in a fashion that I feel even Carlos himself fails to do these days. The hits come at you fast and furious and the groove is intoxicating to say the least. Numbers like “No One To Depend On”, “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman” still sound as fresh as the day they were first delivered and if you let your mind wander you would feel as though you were taking part in a vintage Santana show. Yes, it is that good and when played at the proper volume will probably spark instantaneous moments of movement in your own and any guests you have over as you listen to it. I felt that Gregg’s voice was still perfectly suited for the material and his keyboards matched the way that I remembered these tunes when I first heard them myself. Having never seen Santana perform in concert even once, I feel that now I only need to see Gregg do his thing because he is keeping these venerated tunes in play while Carlos’ own material has been rather tepid in recent memory. Joining Rolie in the group are the following amazing players: Kurt Griffey (guitars), Alphonso Johnson (bass), Wally Minko (keyboards), Michael Carabello (congas), Ron Wikso (drums) and Adrian Areas (timbales). Musical historians will instantly realize that Carabello is the same one from the original Santana years and Johnson was one of the bands bass players over the course of time, but perhaps the coolest part is how Adrian is the son of the legendary “Chepito” who handled this very same instrument in the influential band. The overall “lock” into the material that the guys all have can be felt on tune after tune. Griffey is to be complimented on the difficult task of presenting the riffs of Carlos based on how good he does it.

The show was recorded almost two years ago in 2007 and having seen them perform several weeks ago in middle 2009 I can safely say that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the musical treat that it will offer you should you investigate further. While most of the CD encompasses Santana classics, there are also offerings from his acclaimed solo CD “Roots”, an album that is homage to his beginnings. These tracks are also very Santana-like and hence fit in well with the rest of the material performed at the show. There is not a dull moment to be found here and it’s a live recording that you will play from beginning to end more than once. Fans should be aware that this is a limited edition release and can be ordered from Rolie’s site directly so act fast before he runs out. He will follow this with a live DVD film that captures his band in action during the Sturgis Motorcycle rally. Watch out for that and get a copy of this CD while you can.

PiercingMetal’s Coverage of the “Woodstock” Event that featured Mr. Rolie and Company can be enjoyed by clicking THIS LINK. It is here that you can see full event green carpet photos and a lot from the performance that we initially reference.

Track Listing:
1. Jingo
2. Going Home
3. No One To Depend On
4. As The Years Go Passing By
5. Evil Ways
6. Across The Water
7. Give It To Me
8. Soul Sacrifice
9. Black Magic Woman
10. Gypsy Queen
11. Oye Como Va
12. Bailamos El Son

Official Website: http://www.greggrolie.com

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