I spoke with Derek Trucks about Carlos Santana just before the Allman Brothers’ big 40th anniversary and concert run at the Beacon Theater in NYC. Of course there was no sense in asking him if Eric Clapton or Santana would be showing up at the Beacon, all of the band was sworn to secrecy. As we know, E.C. did show up. He played two nights and it certainly lived up to all my personal expectations. I thought to myself, it just doesn’t get any better than this – and then I saw the clips of Carlos Santana sitting in with the Derek Trucks Band on April 15, 2009 in San Francisco. (See video below & please take the poll at the bottom of the post.)
Eric and Derek have a great chemistry and their on-stage personalities and temperaments are rather similar. Both of them are rather reserved and rarely address the audience – on a scale ranging from playful to serious, they are closer to serious. Their guitars do the talking and express their emotions. They clearly respect and appreciate each other, and it’s obvious they enjoy playing together. Musically, they work well together with Eric bending strings on his Fender guitars and Derek using his slide to achieve a similar effect on his Gibsons. It is very easy to tell them apart.
Carlos and Derek also have great chemistry despite their very different stage personalities. Carlos is animated. After someone plays something special, he’ll turn to the audience, raise his arms above his head and heartily applaud. If he likes what he’s hearing, he might dance or sway. He loves to connect and encourage other musicians, seeking to draw them out. In the following video check out how he repeatedly engages Derek’s drummer Yonrico Scott (that must have been the night of his life.)
Musically I suspect Derek and Carlos are closer. Both are devotees of John Coltrane. They take their playing to a place that taps into something higher. At their best, they are extremely intense and can transport the audience to a state of ecstasy. Particularly with Carlos, it is not only intense, but joyfully intense.
So when I saw the various clips with Santana I was just knocked out, and it got me to thinking. What if I edited together clips taken by various fans, and replaced the cellphone audio with the great audio that the tapers have up on the open archives site. It turned out to be a very difficult task to sync them all together, but I think it turned out pretty well. And given the incredible magic that took place on stage, it was well worth the effort. So enjoy!
*note, if you have a slow connection, hit the pause button and let the video load to your temporary memory – watch the line that moves from left to right at the bottom of the video.
Remember EC & DT at the Crossroads Festival