Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Santana: "Yours Is The Light" live 1973

By way of further comparison, here's a live rendition of "Yours Is The Light."  This was recorded on the 1973 Japan tour and included on the Lotus album.  Which is definitely a must-have album, both as a Santana document and as an objet d'art, if you can get hold of either the original Japanese vinyl or one of the deluxe CD editions that reproduces all the Yokoo Tadanori artwork. 

Flora didn't join the band on the tour, and maybe for that reason Carlos turns this number into a guitar showcase.  It's all guitar, all over, start to finish.  That's the case with most everything on this album, actually:  as retiring and team-oriented as Santana was in the studio during this period, on stage (if Lotus is fair evidence) Carlos was most definitely the center of attention.  On the live record this is accentuated by the mix, which puts Santana's guitar unbelievably far out in front, just dwarfing the rest of the band.  It doesn't help that the overall recording is pretty tinny, as if everything was overamplified in order to bring out some of the percussion and keyboard detail that would otherwise have been lost in the arenas they were playing.

It's a nice rendition, though:  the above makes it sound like I'm disliking it because Carlos has turned it into "just" a guitar showcase, but in fact it's a nice guitar showcase, with very tasteful playing.  But it's true that I think it's a lesser achievement than the perfectly-poised studio recording. 

Lotus does have its good points, though.  My favorite moments are two:  the opener, "A-1 Funk," and the later "Mantra."  (I can't find the latter to link to on youtube:  there's a studio version, but it's not as hot.)  Both reveal Santana doing some heavy-psychedelic brain-surgery guitar stuff that I've never heard on any of his studio albums.  There's an evilness (in a good way) that shows he was listening more receptively to all of Bitches Brew than Caravanserai and Welcome had suggested.

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