Of the most appreciated and recognized guitarists any rock critic can immediately identify with just one single chord, hall of famer Carlos Santana arguably resides at the top of the hill.
If the fact remains that rhythm is everything in rock and roll, then Santana’s unique, intricate blend of salsa infused dance rock keeps the beat going. At 72 years old, he brought his technical wizardry to Blossom Music Center in Cleveland last night.
Depending on your view the evening was either unseasonably or seasonably warm, with a light breeze, and was filled with a crowd that was ready to heat up an otherwise normal Wednesday. And for the most part Santana delivered.
His backing band, interchangeable as they are versatile, provided the cool with a seemingly endless amount of energy encouraging the crowd to participate in the festivities. Every instrument imaginable was deployed to create the sounds befitting the tour moniker ‘Supernatural Now‘.
Taking a turn from rock convention, as he usually does, Santana started the night with his usual list of hits, including “Black Magic Woman”, “Evil Ways”, and ended the night with his late career hit “Smooth”, the latter featuring a split rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and Earth, Wind, and Fires’ “September”. It was well worth the wait for those who stayed until the very end and were also then able to witness one of the most impressive drum solos of all time (apparently performed by Santana’s bandmate/wife).
As for opening act The Doobie Brothers, a grossly overlooked band by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who were able to set a good initial pace when they appeared on stage right at the ticket time of 7pm, it was immediately apparent that they themselves have an impressive enough catalog of memorable songs that are tour worthy in their own right. “China Grove”, “Listen To The Music”, and more were on full display, albeit in broad daylight.
Overall, the crispness was somewhat lacking of other acts at Blossom in recent memory but for anyone who doubts the catalog, impact, and grooviness of Santana are mistaken. And in defense of the lack of crispness in the sound, well, that’s sort of what Santana does. It’s a free flowing, jam packed extravaganza, and worth the cost of admission.