Label: Eagle Vision HD - ERBRD5007 • Format: Blu-ray • Country: Europe • Genre: Jazz, Rock, Latin, Pop •
In lateMontreux Jazz Festival director Claude Nobs approached Carlos Santana about doing something special to honor the annual event's 37th year. The result was 'Hymns for Peace. At first glance, some may be disappointed by the setlist. This is no Santana solo show, and you won't find recent hits like "Smooth" among the 18 peace-lovin' tunes here. Where 'Hymns for Peace' excels is in the looseness of its performances -- this group cranks em out!
Sure, there are plenty of incredibly talented guitarists fronting popular bands today, but Santana is, without argument, a Afro Blue - Santana - Hymns For Peace Live At Montreux 2004 (Blu-ray) guitar god.
I don't think I recognized more than a couple of songs on 'Hymns for Peace,' but I was never less than mesmerized by his playing. The man can truly captivate with the flick of a finger. This is a long show, spanning more than three hours, with the average song running a good eight minutes. Improvs and extended jams are frequent, with the band simply inspiring awe as they seem to dream music up out Afro Blue - Santana - Hymns For Peace Live At Montreux 2004 (Blu-ray) thin air, as if under the guidance of some higher force.
The fun they seem to be having and the sheer joy displayed on stage, were clearly contagious, and by mid-set the band and the audience seem to become one, everyone swaying to the same universal groove. Visually, 'Hymns for Peace' is a straightforward show, there are no pyrotechnics, no cavalcade of dancers, just a bunch of musicians up on stage, jamming for three hours in support of a cause they passionately believe in.
At times, the show may become a tad self-indulgent, but when you have artists as mesmerizing and talented as these, who cares? The song setlist features the following songs: Ode To Joy.
As with most shot-on-high-def live presentations, it generally looks excellent, with a three-dimensional level of clarity that doesn't disappoint. Though the photography and stage design are without frills don't expect any jumbo-sized video screens or bombastic lightingit's definitely colorful.
The band and special guests wear some, um, rather cheesy '60s-meets-'80s hippie-esque clothing, resulting in some very vivid hues that always remain nice, clean, and stable. Typical of shot-on-HD material, detail is excellent, with only some fuzziness in the darkest areas of the picture. The picture is generally sharp, although a fair amount of fog is used during the performance, which sometimes gives a soft and flat Afro Blue - Santana - Hymns For Peace Live At Montreux 2004 (Blu-ray) and can flatten out apparent depth in the transfer.
This is the only real problem area of the presentation, as fine Obsession - Nicole Kidman - 7 Things I Hate About Me in the shadows can be lost in a soft haze, making the darkest areas of the picture appear impenetrable.
However, such small nitpicks aside, 'Hymns for Peace' looks quite nice. While the quality of the recording is clearly high, the lack of a true high-resolution track such as PCM or Dolby TrueHD ultimately results in a sound presentation that never truly soars.
It's too bad Eagle Vision didn't pony up for a new high-res mix, especially as its been several months since the previous HD DVD, and there was certainly enough time to upgrade.
In any case, both the DTS and Dolby Flag Day (Original Single Version) - The Housemartins - London 0 Hull 4 mixes boast bass that has some strength, but which never really delivers those deep, powerful low tones that can challenge the subwoofer.
Similarly, highs don't have that truly bright, realistic quality of the best live recordings I've heard on high-def. Surrounds are also not fully employed, with only slight crowd noise and little in the way of exciting, creative placement of instrumentation. To be sure, purely in terms of clarity and sheer listen-ability, 'Hymns for Peace' sounds just fine, but compared to some of the truly exceptional high-resolution mixes available on Blu-ray, this one is decidedly average.
Though fans won't find any of Santana's biggest hits in the setlist, a strong group of collaborators and some intense, extended jams still make 'Hymns for Peace' a must-see for the faithful. This Blu-ray release from Eagle Vision is a solid high-def music release. The video transfer is typical of live concert recordings, with a very vivid presentation, plus there are a couple of good supplements.
However, while the included Afro Blue - Santana - Hymns For Peace Live At Montreux 2004 (Blu-ray) Digital and DTS tracks are perfectly fine in their own right, they just can't compare to the true high-resolution audio on similar releases.
Still, this one is probably worth a look for Santana fans. Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. Founded in AprilHigh-Def Digest is the ultimate guide for High-Def enthusiasts who demand only the best that money can buy. Updated daily and in real-time, we track all high-def disc news and release dates, and review the latest disc titles.
Blu-ray: Worth a Look. Leave A Comment. Special Features : Bonus Tracks Featurette. Featurette: "An Interview with Carlos Santana" HD, 8 minutes - This short vignette Broken Hope - Omen Of Disease a good amount of behind-the-scenes footage, as well as rehearsal clips with Santana talking about what drew him to stage the concert and choosing his collaborators, but it's still a bit too thin.
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