Carlos Santana - guitar, percussion, vocals; Tom Coster - keyboards, organ, piano, vocals; Pete Escovedo - percussion, maracas; Graham Lear - percussion, drums; David Margen - bass; Armando Peraza - conga, bongos; Raul Rekow - bongos, conga, vocals; Greg Walker - vocals, percussion
Santana had gone through an experimental stage (that explored everything from jazz fusion to eclectic new age stylings) just prior to the recording of this show for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Carlos Santana had done a number of solo projects but had decided to reconstruct the band to promote its Moonflower album, an odd mix of live tracks and studio cuts. As a fluke, Santana had a huge hit with its remake of the Zombies' 1964 hit, "She's Not There," and quite unexpectedly, Moonflower went platinum and pushed the band back into the Billboard Top 10.
Initially, the band was deeply steeped in its Latin roots, but by now Santana was about music from all over the globe, especially Africa, as can be heard in the opening medley of "Zulu/Jugando."
Even though the group was now on its fourth lead vocalist (Greg Walker) and the Woodstock line-up of the group was long gone when this show was recorded in 1978, they played a healthy chunk of the crowd favorites from its late-'60s era, including "Black Magic Woman," "Evil Ways," "No One To Depend On," and the incredible instrumentals "Incident At Neshabur" and "Soul Sacrifice." In addition to the newer hits, "Dance Sister Dance" and "She's Not There," they do memorable versions of more experimental and rhythm-oriented songs such as, "Europa," "Oneness," and "Transcendence."
Originally formed in 1966 as the Santana Blues Band (the name came about because the Musician's Local 802 Union required one member to be listed as the leader and the group picked Santana, although at the time he was just one of the members), by 1968, they had become what would be the last of the golden era San Francisco bands to emerge to national prominence.
Promoter Bill Graham shortened the name to Santana and pushed the shy Mexican-born guitarist to the forefront of the band, which also included Gregg Rolie on organ and vocals, David Brown on bass, Jose Chepito Areas on percussion, and Michael Shrieve on drums.
Graham was able to get them signed to Columbia Records, and a fluke landed them a gig on their first US tour at the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in August, 1969. Santana blew the festival away, with its distinctly Latin-flavored, blues based rock; and their reputation cast an even larger net with film and soundtrack releases of the event.
After the band's third album, Santana III, the Woodstock-era line-up dissolved. But in 1973, after two solo projects (Live With Buddy Miles and an album with Mahavishnu guitarist John McLaughlin), Santana re-organized the band with Areas and Shrieve, and several new members that included vocalist Leon Thomas, and, later, Greg Walker, who appears on this recording.
Without Rollie to do the well recognized vocals of the band's earlier hits, Santana became a more instrumentally-driven band. They completely rock out on "Soul Sacrifice" and "Incident At Neshabur," and also give faithful renditions of the hits "No One To Depend On" and "Black Magic Woman" (originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1968).
Carlos Santana (with the help of label exec and mentor Clive Davis) would re-invent himself and his band again in 1999, when Supernatural would take them back to the top of the charts on the strength of several popular celebrity duets that included Rob Thomas, Michele Branch, Everlast, and Wyclef Jean. In 2000, Santana walked away with an amazing eight Grammy Awards for Supernatural.