Santana: Supernatural Live

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Ever seen an older musician who teams up with younger talent, in a mutual agreement to help each other? You know, the older artist is given a new edge in the business and the younger party is given some real credibility as a musician? It seems to happen a lot in recent memory and of course, this disc covers some of those relationships. The older artist is rock legend Carlos Santana and the younger folks range from Rob Thomas to Everlast. I was never a huge fan of Santana and his tunes, but after seeing this performance, I find it hard to revisit the old music of his I did like. He seems so desperate to be cool and if record sales & awards count, the whole ploy worked out very well for all involved. Here we see Santana perform songs with his own band, as well as artists such as Everlast, Rob Thomas, Lauryn Hill, Wayne Shorter, Dave Matthews, Cee-Lo, and Sarah McLachlan. A few of them were good enough to remark on, but on the whole, this just proved to me it is retirement time for Carlos Santana.

This disc looks good and sounds even better, but I guess this music just isn’t for me. I like some older Santana tunes and I liked the performances with his band, but when the MTV crowd jumps on stage, that is when I felt the need to press the fast forward button. I am never that impressed with the likes of Lauryn Hill or Rob Thomas, who have about as much charisma as a dried up lemon peel on the ground. Santana himself is a nice showman & is able to work the crowd well, but the others seem to reliant on cheap methods to rile up the fans, which loses me in the process. So this disc just didn’t work out for me in terms of the performance, but I was very impressed with the presentation. The video is good and the audio, oh man does this disc have some outstanding mixes on deck. Dolby Digital or DTS, your ears will thank you if you like this style of music. I was also glad to see some supplements included, which too few music based titles seem to do and need to focus on a little more. I admit it, this disc was a real pain for me, but I think fans of this music will be very pleased with this performance & disc.

Video: How does it look?

This was a television project and as such, is shown on this disc in full frame. I was pleased with the overall image, but a few problems do emerge, though they lie within the source material and not this transfer. This is a live musical performance taped on less than stellar equipment, which means it looks less impressive than feature film, but I suppose that is to be expected. The black levels seem to be sharp enough to provide a nice level of contrast, while the colors look rich and full at all times. As far as live musical performances go, this is one of the better looking ones I’ve seen.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a musical release, so you expect an excellent audio track and this offers your choice of 5.1 surround sound in Dolby Digital or DTS versions. I listen to both at various times throughout the program and while both sound superb, the DTS option comes in a little ahead in the tightness section. It just seemed to have the edge in a few small areas, but that was enough for me to give my recommendation. In either case though, you will be treated to an active and immersive mix, as your system pulses through each & every song. I also like how distinct the vocals & individual musical instruments were, this was impressive to say the least. You can also activate Spanish & French subtitles, just in case you might need them.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I didn’t expect much from this musical title in terms of extras, but there some nice ones included on this disc. A trio of music videos (including the ever popular Smooth), information on Santana & his fanclub, lyrics, an interview with Santana, a brief rehearsal featurette, and a behind the scenes piece on this performance have all been jammed onto this title. These might not be that extensive, but I am glad some bonus content was packed onto this release.

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