“The Woodstock Experience” by Santana

Artist: Santana
Title: “The Woodstock Experience”
Label: Sony Legacy
Release Date: 6/30/2009
Genre: Rock
Rating: 5/5

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, Sony Legacy has released a number of special recordings under the title of “The Woodstock Experience”. While available as a limited edition boxed set, the five recordings are also available separately. Each comes packaged in a sturdy cardboard slipcase that houses the album that the artist had released or been supporting at that time in 1969 along with a second CD that features their full Woodstock Festival performance. They are placed in mini-album covers and where the original album is a complete replica, the Woodstock set offers historical liner notes about the gig. It also features a poster of the artist that was taken at the show. The five releases present Johnny Winter, Santana, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Sly & The Family Stone. As we did not have the limited edition box set we are instead offering up views on the releases on a one by one basis. Here are our thoughts on the “Santana: The Woodstock Experience” CD.

“Santana” – Santana’s self-titled debut album was a really interesting point in music history as it bridged the gap between soulful Latin styles and Progressive Rock music while managing to keep you interested in its groove with melody after melody. The stunning guitar wizardry of Carlos Santana and Neil Schon combined with the powerhouse drumming of Michael Shrieve made this a powerful Rock combo in and of itself but when you added in the likes of Chepito and Michael Carabello on timbales and congas, the unmistakable Latin flair just hooked you in and kept you. When you consider how the rich Hammond organ sound and vocals from Gregg Rolie were there as well you knew that the output was just going to be magic. This debut album from the band had only just come out after their appearance at the legendary Woodstock Festival and there are no less than five numbers on it that were played at the show. Most of the release is instrumental in base, but there are bona fide classics among these such as “Evil Ways”, “Jingo” and “You Just Don’t Care”. It’s one of those amazing places to start ones adventure into a bands material as many of these songs are still played in concert today by Santana and the other members of his band that have long gone their separate ways.

The Woodstock Set: Saturday, August 16th 1969: The liner notes for the live set cite that “sometime’s being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference in the world” and truer words were never uttered in my opinion especially when it comes to Santana. These guys were working with the legendary Bill Graham and his commanding presence assured that these then unknowns got a full song presented in the concert documentary being filmed while most other bands only had bits and pieces. As I listened to the live set from Santana in full for the very first time I can only imagine the tribal effect this performance must have had on the audience. From beginning to end the percussion hypnotizes you and gets your body and soul moving to its beat. It’s clear that Carlos was a superstar on the guitar but for many who hear this album they will most likely say how Michael Shrieve is also a force to be reckoned with as the powerful drummer was only about sixteen years old. He is very well known for the ripping solo during “Soul Sacrifice”, but he also gets some time with the other percussionists during a number listed only as “Percussion”. There are five numbers performed from the bands debut that I believe was released just days after their appearance and this show proved that they were a band that meant business. This show forever changed the bands destiny without question. In today’s music world Santana still performs but with a number of different players and interestingly enough, Gregg Rolie tours with a group and plays many of these legendary tracks to perfection. Schon of course went on to form Journey (with Rolie) and has taken his music to an entirely different level.

If you can only purchase one of these special edition Woodstock releases then I am going to suggest that you make it the Santana edition.

PiercingMetal was on point to cover the 40th Anniversary Gala for the “Woodstock” film. Held at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square NYC, the grand event featured both musicians and organizers that were key factors to the events overall success. To enjoy our coverage of the green carpet and live performances just click HERE.

Track Listing:
1. Waiting
2. Evil Ways
3. Shades Of Time
4. Savor
5. Jingo
6. Persuasion
7. Treat
8. You Just Don’t Care
9. Soul Sacrifice

Woodstock Set:
1. Waiting
2. Evil Ways
3. You Just Don’t Care
4. Savor
5. Jingo
6. Persuasion
7. Soul Sacrifice
8. Fried Neckbones

Official Website: http://www.woodstock.com
Official Website: http://www.santana.com

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