The return of Carlos Santana to the Pine Knob Music Theatre was a flat out lovefest. After last year scare when Carlos Santana suddenly collapsed on stage many thought what if, what happened, will he be ok all that was answered Thursday night as Santana made his return to Michigan with arms wide open. The Latin rock/blues guitarist took the stage at 8:05 pm to a thunderous roar from the packed house. Opening up the 20-song set with “Soul Sacrifice” an instrumental composed and recorded by Santana and identified as one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival and documentary film, “Soul Sacrifice” what a delightful treat that was. The 2-hour show was very well balanced giving you a bit of everything along with the easy laid back Santana sounds complete with some rock and roll hall of famer guitar riffs you can easily listen to well into the night. The 75-year-old musician delivered the one two punch with a great stretch of tracks starting with “Jingo” a (Babatunde Olatunji cover) followed by a couple of my favorites “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman”.
Santana’s wife jazz/rock drummer Cindy Blackman Santana was incredible. This being my first time covering the band I was floored by the graceful, yet attitude stylish display taking place throughout the evening absolutely wonderful. There was a lot of highlights from the night starting with a great bass guitar solo you normally don’t get at a concert by bass guitarist Benny Rietveld at the end of “Everybody’s Everything” can you say goosebumps! Santana took the time to thank Michigan for all the support and love he received saying I’ll see you again. Santana also went on to say we are all on this planet together we need to stop the shootings, stop the suicides, to make a difference, life is priceless, and lastly go home believe in yourself after you smoke some weed and drink some tequila with a chuckle or two only driving the crowd into a frenzy. Taking the lead vocals for “Put Your Lights On” was guitarist Tommy Anthony making for one hell of a scene as cell phones could be seen for miles lit up from the top of the hill clear down to the main floor.
As mentioned, there was a few highlights from the set another being when Andy Vargas asks the crowd to put your hands together and let’s hear it for Carlos Santana as the guitar great breaks into a sweet acoustic of “Maria Maria” such a badasss track, don’t at me it truly is Badass! For those of you including myself who love a good drum solo Cindy Blackman gave us a killer 5-minute solo with overhead shots of her banging the drums displayed behind her on the jumbotron giving all a clear shot of a true technician at work paying off with a huge and I mean huge roar from the crowd like no other. Closing out the evening with songs “Love, Peace and Happiness” (The Chambers Brothers cover) and “Smooth” was not fair to us, we all wanted more from Carlos, as the old saying goes all good things come to an end until next time folks. Many after the show on socials had nothing but good things to say about the show. After a short break the 1001 Rainbows tour will fire back up and play the last 8 shows starting on July 26th and wrapping up on August 8th. Make sure you head out to one of these cities near you and be amazed. Keep rocking America you’re not dead and neither is rock and roll.
7/26/23 Oxon Hill, MD The Theater at MGM National Harbor
7/28/23 Atlantic City, NJ Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
7/29/23 Atlantic City, NJ Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
7/31/23 Bridgeport, CT Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater
8/2/23 Bangor, ME Maine Savings Amphitheater
8/4/23 Boston, MA MGM Music Hall at Fenway
8/5/23 Boston, MA MGM Music Hall at Fenway
8/6/23 Springfield, MA MassMutual Center