July 15, 2012
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Concert Review: Carlos Santana

Molson Amphitheatre- July 14, 2012
By Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency


(QMI File)

Carlos Santana may have “gone Vegas,” recently setting up shop at Mandalay Bay’s House Of Blues for a two year residency that started back in May, but he’s still got soul.

No more was that heartfelt and still vital talent on display than on Saturday night at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in front of a healthy crowd that looked to be around 12,000 in numbers.

The 64-year-old Mexican-born, San Francisco-raised guitarist - one of the best in the world - led his tight 10-piece band through two-hours-and-35-minutes of joyous Latin, African and jazz-infused rock, feeling each note as he played it, and preaching love while he did it.

“I am still, at heart, a hippie from the ‘60s,” said the straw fedora-wearing Santana, whose rise up the ranks culminated with his performance at Woodstock in 1969.

“I still believe that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

His hits, both classic and newer like Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va, Jingo, Evil Ways, Soul Sacrifice, and Maria Maria and Smooth, resectively, co-mingled nicely with jam-filled instrumentals and lesser known songs like Foo Foo and Corazon Espinado and a cover of The Zombies’ She’s Not There.


The musicians kept up with Santana’s every move with special mention to drummer Dennis Chambers, percussionist Karl Perazzo, tiger-stripped congas player Raul Rekow, bassist Benny Rietveld, keyboardist David K. Mathews and vocalists Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay.

“Good Lord, how high am I?” said Santana following one particularly loud and long amount of applause from the crowd to one of his numerous solos.

“Every time I remember to be grateful, I get really high. Higher than ganja in Jamaica.”

On top of all that Santana goodness there was an amazing cameo from his wife and drummer Cindy Blackman, 52, best known for playing with Lenny Kravitz until she decided to return to jazz full-time, whose lengthy solo also brought the crowd to its feet.

“Hey baby, where you been?" said Santana while introducing her.

Afterwards, he said in appreciation: “Whooooo - how about that? That’s good energy.”

The couple then kissed four times before she exited the stage to sit on a chair at the side where she remained watching her husband at work.

It was a cute display by the duo, who got married in December 2010. Just imagine the seriously talented children they could produce.

And when it came time for Chambers to do his drum solo, he approached it so differently and took his sweet time - chewing gum and blowing bubbles, wiping his face with a towel, slugging back Gatorade before eventually leaving his drum seat to stand - that he also drew a standing ovation.

Such was the musical prowess on display all night long.

 


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