RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

McLaughlin-Santana -  Invitation To Illumination—Live At Montreux 2011
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating: C

Eagle Rock Entertainment is now releasing a 2-CD set of the Blu-Ray concert which they previously released in 2013.  The concert was recorded in 2011 during a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Titled Invitation To Illumination—Live At Montreux 2011 the ‘audio only’ CD release will consist of select tracks from the performance. 

Both men have played the festival many times and are fan-favorites anytime they are on the bill.  This was, however, the first time they headlined a concert together since they toured to promote their 1973 John Coltrane tribute album, Love Devotion Surrender.

This is basically a live performance of the pairs 1973 album with a few melodies and inspirational cover tunes thrown in.  Both ax-men sound as they are very much enjoying themselves.  The put a lot of emotion into this performance, making it difficult to give this issue a less than stellar rating.  I know music purists may disagree with me, but that 1973 title was not anywhere near the best these guys can deliver.  In fact, it was a self-indulgent affair that was most enjoyed by the musicians playing on it!  That said, the guys are talented and the music at hand is challenging.  It was not the most fun to watch on the Blu-Ray, however, and that lack of enticement only gets worse on the audio-only section.  Once again, these guys are pretty darn good, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I am certain there is some amazing stuff going on during this concert, I just had a hard time sifting through amazing riffs and the mindless fluff.

This one is mostly for fans of the two famous guitarists, as I am sure their mega-fans will roast me endlessly by not bowing down in worship of the event that was unleashed upon my ears.  You gotta remember… I listen to a lot of AC/DC… my ears are shot... so what the hell do I know?

One cool thing that was captured aside from the famous reunion of the two awesome guitarist is that Claude Nobs (1936–2013), the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, plays harmonica on the track “Shake It Up And Go.”  That’s pretty cool no matter who ya are!

Disc One:
1) Echoes Of Angels
2) The Life Divine
3) Medley: Peace On Earth / A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall / Stairway To Heaven / Summer In The City / Our Prayer / Free America / The 8th Of January / La Marseillaise / SOCC
4) Medley: Right Off / Guitar Interlude / Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
5) Vuelta Abajo
6) Vashkar
7) Medley: The Creator Has A Master Plan / Guitar Interlude
8) Naima
9) Medley: Lotus Land Op.47 No.1 / Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Disc Two:
1) Downstairs Blues
2) Medley: Venus / Upper Egypt
3) Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord
4) Medley: Black Satin / Smooth Criminal / Land Of 1000 Dances
5) Cindy Blackman Santana Drum Solo
6) A Love Supreme
7) Shake It Up And Go

By Jeb Wright