Sometimes I have a specific topic in mind when I start writing a post for this blog. Other times. . . well, not so much. I had just finished reading “Live At The Fillmore East and West” by John Glatt (https://www.amazon.com/Live-Fillmore-East-West-Backstage/dp/0762788658) which told the story of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East And West through the careers of Graham, Janis Joplin, The Jefferson Airplane and Carlos Santana. The book talked about the series of concerts that Bill Graham presented at Tanglewood, the classical music venue located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts and the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Then I realized that the last of these shows occurred forty six years ago today. Presto! New post topic!
At the time, the idea of presenting rock music in a classical venue was a radical idea. The idea that rock music was anything but “low brow” was new and the thought that rock music had any artistic component was far from the accepted norm. Tanglewood had just begun to experiment with staging contemporary concerts on their grounds. Staging a rock concert in a classical venue had yet to be done, so of course the concept of doing so excited Graham. Graham was also very aware of the plans for the upcoming Woodstock festival which he did not think very highly of, as well as feeling it could be a threat to his business interests. So only a few days before the Woodstock Festival, Graham staged the first of several concerts billed as “The Fillmore at Tanglewood.” He brought the full-scale Fillmore East production team in, including the Joshua Light Show, and booked a great lineup. This first concert featured B.B King, Jefferson Airplane and The Who, and drew the largest crowd that Tanglewood had ever seen by far. Buoyed by the event’s success, Tanglewood and Graham agreed to stage three similar dates in 1970. It was the last of these shows, with Santana headlining a bill with The Voices of East Harlem and the legendary Miles Davis, that happened forty six years ago today.
The video below is the complete set of Santana at Tanglewood. It was just about one year after their career making performance at Woodstock. They were enjoying the success of their debut album with three hit songs, had a new Top 10 hit with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman” and were about to release their second album, Abraxas. This is the classic lineup of Santana, before a young Neal Schon joined the band and shows them in what I consider to be their prime. Enjoy.
Santana – Full Concert – 08/18/70 – Tanglewood (OFFICIAL)
0:00:00 – Batuka / Se A Cabo
0:07:38 – Black Magic Woman
0:13:19 – Oye Como Va
0:17:51 – Incident At Neshabur
0:23:25 – Toussaint L’Overture
0:28:25 – Evil Ways
0:32:53 – Hope You’re Feeling Better
0:37:31 – Treat
0:44:04 – Savor / Jingo
0:53:42 – Soul Sacrifice
1:06:53 – Gumbo
1:11:34 – Persuasion
Carlos Santana – guitar, vocals
Gregg Rolie – keyboards, piano, lead vocals
David Brown – bass
Michael Shrieve – drums
Jose “Chepito” Areas – percussion, conga, timbales
Mike Carabello – percussion, conga, vocals