By Blaine Sayers — RogersPlace.com
little taste of Woodstock ‘69 was brought to Rogers Place on Monday night as Carlos Santana opened his 2.5-hour set with “Soul Sacrifice”, a song he played in the Catskill Mountains of New York State so many years ago. Even at the spry age of 70, Santana still commanded the stage like that skinny mustached boy that played at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, NY. Luckily, for Edmonton fans, they didn’t have to watch Santana from a muddy farmer’s field, instead, they watched one of music’s greatest guitar players from the comfort of Rogers Place.
“You guys got a beautiful place here!”
The crowd shuffled in late as Santana took the stage early, but the energy was there from those in attendance as the guitar legend and his eight-piece band went straight to the classics. Following “Soul Sacrifice”, Santana hit the crowd with a steady stream of hits – “Jin-go-lo-ba,” “Evil Ways,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” were all played in the first half of the set. In fact, the band didn’t stop for a break until nearly 40 minutes into the show, each song bleeding into the next forming one massive jam. Santana finally paused to thank the crowd and comment on Rogers Place saying, “Wow, you guys got a beautiful place here!”
Undoubtedly, the signature guitar solos are the main reason to attend a Santana concert, but like all legendary musicians, there’s often a great supporting cast contributing to the overall show. The lead guitarist was more than willing to share the spotlight with his bandmates often signaling to the three drummers behind him and his keyboardist, Dave Matthews, to take over the solo reigns. Of the drummers, Santana’s wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, lead the charge and astonished the Rogers Place crowd with a drum solo during the encore that expanded to nearly five minutes long. Eventually, each member of Santana’s band got their moment in the spotlight, the entire night built into a flurry of talented musicians trying to keep up to the guitar legend.