Take the average band nearing the end of a five-week tour and
you’d have every right to expect some slippage, a lessening of
intensity and a tendency to go on automatic pilot. None of this is
intentional but five weeks of a nomadic existence playing the same
songs night after night simply take a toll.
Take the Santana Band nearing the end of a five-week tour and
you’ll probably see and hear the band at its very best. Why, because
after forty years in the music business, Carlos Santana understands the
rigors of the road and consistently does his utmost to prepare the band
and himself to give their very best every time out. One way he keeps
the band fresh and dynamic is by having pre-concert soundchecks even
after more than a month of performances. Another technique Carlos
employs is the juggling of the songlist so that different sequences- as
well as new songs- keep the band from easing into any comfort zones.
The last week of the Santana 2008 Live Your Light Tour
illustrated all the aforementioned, and the results - if the comments
of concertgoers are to be believed- were outstanding. Old friends –i.e.
songs – such as Migra (San Diego), Don’t Take Your Love Away and Love
Theme from ‘Spartacus”(Las Vegas), Serpents & Doves, Somewhere In
Heaven, Africa Bamba, & Praise (Santa Barbara) were welcome
When the band played a corporate show in Las Vegas on 10/7/08,
vocalist Sheryl Crow joined the band for two numbers, The Game of Love
and the venerable –and still rockin’ - Motown hit Heat Wave (!).
Longtime Santana fans are well aware of Carlos Santana’s respect
and admiration for the music of jazz giants Miles Davis and John
Coltrane. Indeed, it is the rare concert wherein Carlos does not make a
musical allusion to these and other heroes by injecting bits of melody
from songs associated with them-e.g. My Favorite Things, Afro-Blue,
Milestones, et al. Throughout this tour he delighted, surprised
and,probably, befuddled listeners with additional quotes from other
songs. Examples of this were his melody visits to South of The Border
(Frank Sinatra), In A Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington), Greensleeves
(traditional), and ‘Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk). Of particular
interest is the fact that the entire melody of the old R’n’B standard
All In The Game (Tommy Edwards) has a prominent and seemingly permanent
place in the ballad section of Incident at Neshabur. Yes, the surprises
Attendees of the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Ca,
were treated to a very special surprise when former Santana keyboardist
and co-composer of Europa Tom Coster joined the band for a memorable
rendition of this song.
By the time the last note had been played at the Concord show on
10/12/08, there was no doubt in the minds of the band members or crew
that Live Your Light 2008 had been a triumphant experience, one that
traversed the entirety of the United States and included much of
Europe, with an initial stop in Dubai.
The Santana Band comprised of Chester Thompson, Benny Rietveld,
Dennis Chambers, Raul Rekow, Karl Perazzo, Tommy Anthony, Andy Vargas,
Tony Lindsay and, of course, Carlos Santana found and maintained the
magic, the intensity and the joy throughout the entire year, and to all
of you who saw them and to those who didn’t their message is “Wait
Until Next Year!”.