Space Caravan (Mainstream MAST-120)
Freiburg Stadthalle, Freiburg, Germany – November 12, 1972
Setlist: Every Step Of The Way, Samba Pa Ti, Look Up (To See What’s Coming Down), Just In Time To See The Sun, Incident At Neshabur, Bambele, Stone Flower, Xibaba, Waiting (fade)
This recording features a very good clear audience tape. It is a little thin sounding, however, there is still great balance between the instruments and it is free from any audience interference. Unfortunately, it’s not a complete show.
This tour follows the October release of Caravanserai. Times were changing for Santana, a difference in musical direction saw the departure of Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon, who left to form Journey. Carlos and Michael Shrieve wanted something different. This new lineup, dubbed The New Santana Band, featured two outstanding keyboard players, Richard Kermode and Tom Coster. These new players would help take Santana’s music into a new experimental direction, bringing a heavy jazz influence to the band.
Tom Coster and percussionist Armando Peraza, were also to become integral parts of Santana’s band, now and for years to come. Their sound here would also be expanded upon on albums like Welcome, and the live in Japan set, Lotus.Carlos’ playing is solid throughout this recording and he has no problem keeping up with this new direction. He even throws in a nice reference to The Beatles “Fool On The Hill” at the end of “Incident At Neshabur”. The band are debuting new songs from the Caravanserai album with “Every Step Of The Way”, “Look Up (To See What’s Coming Down)”, “Just In Time To See The Sun”, and “Stone Flower”.
This first half of the show is almost entirely instrumental and features great playing from all the musicians. The only song on this disc with vocals, (other than group chants), is “Just In Time To See The Sun” and they are almost inaudible so I can’t identify the vocalist. The recording unfortunately fades during “Waiting” leaving us hanging. Hopefully someday the entire show will surface. This is essential material from an important transitional period for the band. This release is highly recommended to fans of Lotus and to anybody who wants to explore the deeper side of Santana. If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)