Music follows trends, and the prevailing trends at Woodstock were blues-oriented rock and folk/folk rock. Only four acts didn’t fit into one of those buckets. On day one Ravi Shankar laid down the sitar goodness; just before Hendrix closed the show Monday morning Sha Na Na did their fifties schtick. Sly and the Family Stone funked up the joint in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
The fourth oddball act? The psychedelic Latin-rock fusion of San Francisco’s Santana.
Forty-three years later one easily forgets just how new rock and roll was in 1969. When Santana hit the Woodstock stage at 2:00 on Saturday most of the audience likely new Latin rhythms only from Tito Puente and I Love Lucy. In Wadleigh’s Woodstock documentary one can see just how startled the audience was by this new sound. We’re old hat at fusion these days. Once you’ve mixed Gregorian chant and synthesizers what’s left?
Anyway, there’s probably nothing I can tell you about Carlos Santana that you don’t already know. He’s a legend well deserving of his “shit hot guitarist” label. Some of you may not know that a big chunk of this version of Santana’s band went on to form Journey, and others may not know that drummer Michael Shrieve was only twenty years old at Woodstock.
Santana’s set is one of those iconic Woodstock performances, and as such bits and pieces of it are available all over the place. The only CD that includes every track is Santana: The Woodstock Experience, but the Santana fans prefer the bonus disc packaged with the Legacy Edition of the Santana album even though “Evil Ways” is missing.
Here’s the complete Santana Woodstock set list:
- Evil Ways
- You Just Don’t Care
- Soul Sacrifice
- Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries
Your official Woodstock soundtrack count to date: 47