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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Cast/crew biographies - Carlos Santana bio
  • Featurette - Behind The Scenes Rehearsal Footage, Supernatural featurette
  • Production notes - Song Lyrics, Fan Club Info, Programme and Album Credits
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • 4 Music video - Maria Maria, Corazon Espinado, Smooth, Put Your Lights On
  • Interviews - With Carlos Santana

Santana - Supernatural Live

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 84 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

With the state of the popular music world seeming to revolve around wanna-be teenage popstars, girly-faced boybands and talentless starlets trying to convince us that their overnight success has been thirty years in the making, it’s nice every now and again to see the merry go-round of life swing back to the tried and trusted talents of legends of the past.

With our throw-away pop culture, I think it brings a nice sense of perspective and balance to those of us jaded by the “here today-serving fries in McDonalds tomorrow” morons currently passing as talent, when someone actually deserving of our accolades steps up to the microphone once again and can listen to the sweeeeet sounds of people crying out “THANK YOU! Thank you for playing music I can listen to without going deaf or insane!”

Up to this microphone steps Carlos Santana. With the vocal and songwriting help of contemporary acts such as Everlast, Dave Matthews, Lauryn Hill, Sarah McLachlan and Rob Thomas to give a flavour and edge that tips him in the favour of the safest popular music buying demographic, Carlos Santana coolly lets fly with the soothing sounds of a guitar that exist on a different plane of existence and seems to sing a song all of its own.

  Video
Contract

I've pretty much come to not expect too much when watching music dvds, so this one made for a pleasant surprise. After viewing some average to mediocre music video transfers over the last year or so, this would have to rate in my memory as one of the better.

Sure, there are a few lapses here and there, such as when the compression is a bit too tight around the fringes of high activity onstage in the opening number, or the slightly soft look to the picture, but there are numerous positive aspects of the lighting and stage design which help override any negatives of the transfer itself.

Most importantly, the fullframe picture is very easy on the eyes with good vivid colours for a stage show, helped no end by the colourful theme running through the act. Many different colours are used throughout to create a lively atmosphere, and it really does work a treat, with dancing girls and colourful and detailed stage sets to breathe some life into the show. This makes the event look interesting and definitely helps in making it one of the more attractive live acts on a dvd.

For a change, the typically oppressive and constant black/blues around the fringes of the stage and the audience which are a staple of live music acts are given plenty of breathing space and don’t seem too muddy, revealing enough detail so you don’t feel as though someone turned all the lights off. The major benefit in this is that you feel the show experience is more encompassing than just the immediate area surrounding Santana. Again, this really does make a difference to how open and enjoyable the overall viewing experience is.

  Audio
Contract

You’ve got to be happy when you read that you have a DD5.1 and a dts5.1 mix on a disc. Although I generally like the sound afforded by dts, this one in particular with a 754 Kb datarate just doesn’t seem different enough to really warrant the inclusion. But not that I’m complaining! Lordy NO! If there's room on the disc and you feel up to it, by all means give us a dts mix. In fact, I insist! It’s just that the people who persistently carry on that dts buggers all over DD won’t find all that much help with their argument here. To put it simply (maybe a little too simply some might say), for close to double the bitrate I don't hear even close to double the difference.

With blind listening test held with two other people switching between the two audio streams, the consensus was that generally both worked out even and each had their good and bad points. It just goes to show how subjective these things can be, I guess, and the biggest difference is sometimes in the ear of the listener.

Now, lets get my one (very small) gripe out the way so I can finish on the positive note that this transfer deserves. In the past I've made comments with other music dvds regarding strange instrument placement. On this dvd for example, occasionally you'll hear bongo drum type sounds in the rear channels. These are clearly not produced as a result of reverb, but rather deliberately placed in the rear channels for a specific effect. I'm sorry to have to say it, but nobody plays bongos behind your head at a live show (well, none that I've been to recently, but ten years ago while at RMIT you wouldn't believe what they played behind your head at some clubs). Now I'll agree it makes for an interesting gimmick if you want to show off a system to friends, because you can hear them say "Oh wow man!…really, really cool…the bongos are like, moving, like around my head!" but in recreating a concert it sounds just a tad odd to me. Okay, gripe over, let's move on, shall we?

Simply put, either mix is very good and won't disappoint you at all. The audio has a nice solid front mix with fairly good instrument separation that doesn't draw too much attention to any particular corner. It retains that "live" feel well, and where it really counts with Santana's cool guitar work, it gets the attention it deserves and comes across clean and natural and oh so...now what's the word?...oh yeah...smooooth.

  Extras
Contract

When you’re finished with the live main act, take a trip to the Bonus Materials section and settle in for a nice selection of extras to round out the Santana experience.

Supernatural featurette
Quickie featurette looking at how the album came together with snippets of interviews from acts collaborating with Santana and management. Unfortunately it's a bit short, but still interesting.

Behind The Scenes Rehearsal Footage
Not so much as behind the scenes look as it is a full song jammed out. Nice inclusion.

Music Videos
Smooth, Maria Maria, Corazon Espinado, Put Your Lights On. Four music videos on top of the main music feature and rehearsal song? Pretty bloody good value if you ask me. Everyone sit up and take notice on how a good music dvd should be done.

Carlos Santana Interview and Photo Gallery
This plays an audio only interview of Santana over a slideshow of images. Running at around 18 minutes. He is eloquent and easy to listen to as he expands on his history, influences, thoughts on his music etc. The small number of photos are looped though.

The rest is made up of Song Lyrics, Program and Album Credits, Carlos Santana Biography, and Fanclub info (just a web address).

I'll say it again -this is how a music dvd SHOULD be done. Bra-bloody-vo.

  Overall  
Contract

C'mon man, what else can I say? If you are a Santana fan in any way, or just like some easy on the ears tunes, then rush out and buy this now. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=422
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      And I quote...
    "If you thought Carlos Santana was Smoooooth, just wait till you see this dvd."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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