March 18, 2015
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Angela Patterson
Photos by Barry Bond
Peace, Love And Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana brought percussion, horns and his incredible signature guitar sound to Verizon Theatre March 18th as a stop on his current "Corazón" Tour. Corazón is Santana's first-ever Spanish language album and it features artists like Gloria Estefan, Juanes, Romeo Santos and Pitbull.
If you've never been to a Santana concert, there are a couple of things you should know. First of all, it's a percussion party. To say it's "rhythmic” is an understatement. The African influence is ever present and the center of many of his songs. At any given time, three to four drummers are banging away on everything from a typical drum kit to congas and timbales - plus vocalists play many other percussion instruments too. You'll absolutely find yourself caught up in the rhythm. I played the air maracas throughout the show. Although Verizon Theatre doesn't offer a luxurious amount of space around you, you're always free to do some in-seat dancing.
Secondly, you don't have to be bilingual to enjoy the show. The vocals are in English and Spanish. Music is a universal language and Santana's music transcends cultural boundaries. It mesmerizes the masses; it soothes the soul. After the concert one fan said, "The music he plays has no flag.” The term World Music was created years ago - probably because his style didn't fit in a box.
Santana kicked off the show with Toussaint L'Overture. Heavy African-like percussion set the pace for the signature Hammond organ to chime in, setting the party mood.
The guitar virtuoso melted the strings during his solo (Da Le) Yaleo. I wanted to get up and dance but it was too early to embarrass myself. During Black Magic Woman, I noticed that literally hundreds of cellphone cameras were recording his performance. (Some artists send security out to police that type of activity). He made the guitar speak with great passion and voice. On numerous occasions he turned his guitar toward the sky as if it were a spiritual offering. His performance was in fact a spiritual experience.
I loved the vintage video footage that was projected on the screens during Oye Como Va . Speaking a fair amount of Spanish myself, I finally realized that I've been singing the wrong lyrics for years. But the important thing is that you don't need to be bilingual to enjoy a Santana show.
He showcased his talent by switching between acoustic and electric guitars during Maria, Maria. Santana made the electric guitar deliver such raw emotion that he seemed to make it cry during Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile.) Being an instrumental, you don't know exactly what's going on but you feel it -- you know it's deep, spiritual, and emotional.
As expected, he really drew in the local crowd when he played "The Eyes of Texas.” Santana threw in a little Michael Jackson "The Way You Make Me Feel” during another song. He had a lot of fun with the show, taking a selfie with a fan's cell phone, then walking away, pretending to take it. He then picked right back up and started playing again - never missing a beat.
All in the Family
Wife/drummer Cindy Blackman Santana put on such an electric solo that she was given a standing ovation by the audience, a bouquet of flowers, and a kiss by her adoring husband Carlos. Ladies: can you imagine her shoe closet? Carlos has an amazing line of shoes that you can find at Macy's.
You Better Change Your Evil Ways, Baby
The rock legend-turned-humanitarian not only brought amazing guitar riffs and musical magic to the ears of the audience, he left them with a spiritual message.
Between songs he said, "An invitation to each and every one of you: we don't wish to tell anyone who to be, what to do or how to do it. We invite you to look in the mirror, say ‘I am significant and I am meaningful and I can make a positive difference in the world.' "
So basically he's preaching today what he was singing about almost 50 years ago when "Evil Ways” was released.
He talked about creating miracles and blessings. He said, "This is an invitation, to go to the nation, have fun with you - there's only one of you -- and you're beautiful -- God bless you.”
At 67 years old, he's wiser, more philosophical and still that Cosmic Carlos. His guitar playing is better than ever - if that's even possible. He doesn't seem to be slowing down at all because he's on an international tour for the rest of 2015.
The great thing about Santana is that his music is relevant. From his early days at Woodstock until today, he has found a way to bring passion and music to the people. I love the fact that he wanted to reinvent himself, so he collaborated with artists like Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 to produce the mega-hit Smooth and created the multi-Grammy-winning Supernatural in 1999. On Corazón, he teams up with the hottest Latin acts to reinvent himself once again. I'm sure it will equate to a huge commercial success. Who says history doesn't repeat itself? It would be difficult to think of many collaborations with Pitbull that aren't highly successful.
Seeing Santana was a Bucket List item of mine. He is incredibly talented. I loved it. The pound of percussion and the wailing of his guitar solos were magical. If you have the chance, I encourage you to see Carlos Santana. I would see him again tomorrow. The only thing I would change is that I would get a seat closer to the stage so I could dance badly and shake my air maracas with the best of them.