Live Santana...

Looking at live with BUddy miles, Lotus, and Moonflower...of the 3 which one is the best recording...and which one the best performance...have heard Lotus has slightly inferior sound...looking at vinyl...for Lotus could go CD if remaster is up to snuff...
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I believe that Lotus was only available on LP as a three LP set, pressed in Japan by Sony. My copy has excellent sonics and the performances highlight the jazzier, more stretched out, side of the band. Moonflower has better sonics, but noiser surfaces on all of the copies that I have heard. The performances are more powerful and recorded in a closer perspective, they highlight the latin rock aspect of this music. The Buddy Miles disc is a bit sloppy as far as playing goes and the sound is a bit murky. Maybe that's what happens when you record inside a volcano. I would pick one of the other two. Having seen the band many times, perhaps Moonflower is a more authentic slice of that experience. But why not buy all three? They are not that expensive and are essential recordings.
Thanks...will do...Lotus and Moonflower I havnt seen used in my area...Miles is $3 and very clean...thanks..
I have Lotus pressed in Holland. The quality of Holland mastering and vinyl is very good, not sure how it compares to Japanese pressing. The recording is pretty good although a little bass shy. Mix is very heavy/up front on Carlo's guitar, unfortunately keys are recessed a bit too much and overall sound is a little flat in terms of sense of space and stage.
I've had Moonflower on U.S. pressing, and Holland pressing. Holland Vinyl MUCH better; cleaner, clearer, more detail, less distortion... better recording quality than Lotus... drums hotter and with greater dynamics. Not all of Lotus is live, there were some studio cuts, some cuts are, like all Santana, so-so artistically speaking, others are great. If you sit down and listen to Moonflower all the way through you'll probably end up with a headache! I love Carlos but after an hour or so you want to get off the ride.
The Buddy Miles thing has never been recommended and I don't have it.
Correction to above.. "Not all Lotus is live" meant to say "Not all of Moonflower is live"
they are out of print now, so hard to find, but all are on limited edition japanese mini lp cd's.
I have a copy of the Lotus album that was origianlly done in SQ quad and has been transferred to DVD-Audio. It sounds terrific. I also have Caravanserai done this way as well as Santana III. If you ever get the chance to hear these in surround sound, you will never again be satisifed with plain old stereo renditions.

Caravanserai sounds especially good and is my favorite Santana album. BTW, Abraxas is also available in surround sound but it sounds *awful*. The best version of that album is the SACD closely follwed by the Sony MasterSound Super Bit Map (2 channel) version. The SBM sounds excellent, a very good use of that technology.

Lotus is available as a regular CD at amazon. They also refer to a "DSD mastered" Japanese version. Not sure which that is, but might be worth looking for.

BTW, the Columbia CD remaster of 'Caravanserai' is a revelation, both musically and sonically; the 1/2 speed Mastersound 'Abraxas' lp is excellent, especially compared to the remastered CD, which sounds strangely dull.
Yeah I have the CD of Caravanserai as well, this is the newer remastered one that came out in 2003 or so (?) and it is no slouch.. rich full sound lots of detail retrieval and tape hiss minimum.. very nice..
I also have the same for Welcome. Wish they would do a "Borboletta" cd the same way.
I have Borboletta in surround sound, too. Sounds pretty good...

Caravansarai was a paradigm shift for the band. When I saw the tour, at the Springfield Civic Center, my friends and I were expecting the "Black Magic Woman" type sets that Santana had done on previous tours. Wow, shock and awe. Kind of like seeing an impressionist painting for the first time. Armondo Pereza, always generous with his time, was nice enough to hang out and talk with us after the set. He seemed quite aware that the band had aquired a new depth and flow, and that they were at a pivotal turning point.
If only Santana had kept it up! my three fav. Santana's were Caravansarai, Welcome, Borboletta... after that, he changed again. Bits and pieces on later albums refer to this era but never equaled again.
Some people do not talk highly of Borboletta but I think it hangs with the other two as his best.
Carlos lost his creative mojo a loooong time ago, and yet, he's worth more than ever today!
Xie, I would put "Love, Devotion and Surrender" into that camp. I rather like the straight up reading of Coltrane's "Naima" on this record.
Viridian, True, true.. Great music (I love the Naima rendition) but that recording is not quite as good though.. lacks bass overall. Sounds like the early Mahivishnu's.
To me "Welcome" was the peak. The industry was different back then. Artists could explore new directions and the record company would support it. Very few current artists have that freedom now.