Road Blog – Santana: The Surprise Factor (San Diego 9/30/08)
To be sure, there are other considerations. As one might expect, there are certain must-play songs-e.g. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”, “Oye Como Va”,”Smooth”, and “Maria Maria”et al-whose absence might well provoke a minor revolt at the very least from hardcore Santana fans. And then there are some songs that are just beginning to develop and whose potential excites both Carlos and the band.
Undoubtedly the song that has provoked the most questions has been “Marco Polo”, a Japanese folklike instrumental that Carlos has taken a powerful liking to. Much like some past duo pieces -e.g. “Goodness and Mercy”, “Blues For Salvador”, and “Wings of Grace”-, “Marco Polo” is a center-stage tour de force for Carlos Santana and keyboardist Chester Thompson with the rest of the band joining in as the musical magic unfolds.
And just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Santana, Carlos introduces a new kind of country & western, reggae, and church song, “Peace, Light, Love, Joy”, with Tommy Anthony taking the lead vocal. Santana and country & western? Go figure, but then go listen. If you’re anything like the thousands who’ve heard it since its initial outing in Texas, you’ll like it.
In a few hours the band will take the stage in Chula Vista, Ca. [just outside of San Diego]. Who knows what’s on tonight’s song list? Maybe like last night, Carlos will surprise the band by going into a song-i.e. “Europa”-that isn’t even on the song list.