kevin statham photo
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 2, 2000
Carlos Santana has been blowing folks away with his fiery, straight-from-the-soul fret work for more than 30 years now, but at GM Place on October 26, he never let his status as a guitar god override his main goal for the night. Santana was more concerned with turning the sports rink into a percussion-driven Latin dance-music palace, so he avoided the extended guitar solos that typified his band in the early ’70s. Heck, he even left out his best-known guitar showpieces, “Black Magic Woman” and “Samba Pa Ti”.
But considering the wondrous overall effect of the two-hour show, you could hardly complain about the set list. You couldn’t even whine about the $100 it cost for primo seats.
The tone of the concert was set early on by Spanish-language groove workouts like “(Da Le) Yaleo” and “Africa Bamba”, both off the enormously popular Supernatural CD of ’99. Santana called on Everlast, who opened the show, to return to the stage and re-create his lead-vocal performance on Supernatural’s “Put Your Lights On”, then spruced up the foreboding tune with some serious shredding.
Santana was accompanied by about a dozen musicians, including two expressive lead singers, a powerful brass section, and three smashing percussionists. Benny Rietveld pulled off the most staggering bass-guitar solo I’ve heard since Stu Hamm’s Beatles medley with Joe Satriani at the Vogue last May, but most of the 13,000 fans in attendance seemed more impressed by the inclusion of Supernatural’s massive hit, “Smooth”. That cute guy from Matchbox Twenty wasn’t there to sing it, but the bouncy number still went over exceedingly well.
After Santana’s first encore, some bozo let off a massive firecracker that shot up to the arena roof and exploded while Carlos was in the midst of addressing the crowd. “This isn’t a heavy-metal concert,” chided the spiritual rock legend. “Don’t do that again, you could hurt a brother or sister. Use your head. It’s common sense.” After that little lecture, there were no more pyrotechnics from the jackass with the Judas Priest mindset. If only all peace-loving types could have that stultifying an effect on the thoughtless morons of the world.