and his HUGE salsa band made its first-ever appearance last night in Charleston.
Fans? Oh yeah.
The PAC (Performing Art Center) was jam-packed tight for a 3 hour and 8 minute pulsating performance.
It was an older crowd but most of us stood most of the evening.
How could you not, as favorite after favorite by the 10 Grammy Award winner, led us all on an almost non-stop romp down memory lane.
A funny moment upon entering: "Are you here for Santana?"
Well, duh, yeah!
Then I thought, why are you asking?
"A lot of Harlem Globetrotters fans have shown up and we direct them to the Coliseum next door."
The PAC does has a large stage, but...
The show started at almost 8 pm and ended, after an extended encore, just after 11:00.
The intermission was only about 10 minutes!
Yeah, I know, bands always say it'll be a short break.
Bathroom and beverage stops were hurried as fans rushed back to their seats in the darkened room.
Carlos brought out his wife Cindy Blackman Santana for several drum runs, showing her amazing prowess. An accomplished musician, Carlos added she also had stolen his heart.
The regular drummer was flanked by two excellent percussionists.
And, instead of the "standard" back-up singers, this show featured two highly talented young men who sprang to the front of the stage, leading us in song.
They kept time with handfuls of marichas, tambourines, Jingle sticks and those long wooden things with notches that are scraped in time to the music.
What is Santana without heavy, throbbing drums?
As mentioned, two percussionists got to do solos and kept a steady beat the entire show.
And trumpet and trombone added the "brass section."
The interchange among the Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans and other Latins was beautiful.
The languages and the music flowed smoothly. This is a tight group, used to having fun while working together as a unit.
At one point, a guitar-on-a-stand was brought out and Carlos played it while his main guitar hung from his shoulder.
Wish I could say he played BOTH at the same time but that didn't happen. (4-handed?)
I was trying to capture some facial expressions by the star wearing a trademark black hat and have some excellent views showing he is REALLY into his music.
Soulful and extremely talented.
He shared some of his deep feelings in a mini-homily that emphasized how each of us is an instrument of change.
Thinking, he said, leads to action.
Then, it was back to blistering music. and a rotation allowing each band member to dazzle us with a solo. Terrific!
Did I mention percussion?
Tonight we saw, heard and felt it in all of its manifestations.
in Cuba) is a tall, narrow, single-headed South American drum.
My hands were sore just from watching the frantic pace of slapping them by a pro.
I found that the round, barrel-shaped ones are usually Cuban.
I have patted a few bongos in the past, but those Afro-Cuban small open bottom drums never elicited the sounds heard here.
But, all good things have to come to an end.
When he flubbed a name he was trying to remember, Carlos joked "the grass was really good backstage!"
We laughed, he finished his story and the music eventually brought us to the close of the show.
We stood, we applauded, and we sang along as extorted by the "back-up" singers.
We swayed to the rhythms of a Latin beat and kept time with hands clapping.
I hope Carlos comes to Charleston again so others can enjoy what this house-full of fans did.
Carlos "por favor regrese."
(Click on the photos for more details.)
Labels: Carlos and Cindy Blackman Santana, Casa Noble Tequila, Jingle sticks, marichas, Milagro Foundation, Santana, Supernatural brand Salsa, tambourines, Tumbadora