Santana Live at the House of Blues

Relatively speaking, it doesn’t matter what age he was, is or will be.

Santana plays the ever-loving Christ out of his guitar.

Every time I listen to him play, it’s like I’m in a Latin American mega-church with organs blasting, the crowd dancing and the holy father himself standing on the altar, playing a guitar that screeches into every riff with an intensity only faith can give.

His tongue lies on the fret board and his lips rest on his fingertips. The man himself is soft-spoken, but every note is a holler, every chord is a catcall.

But he’s not flirting with nobody, he’s faithful. To his guitar and his wife and drummer, Cindy Blackman.

And if there’s one thing a good Santana experience needs, it’s a rock behind the drum kit. Just listen to Live At The Fillmore (1968) if you need proof. But I digress, because when Blackman finished her solo, oh boy, Michael Shrieve:

Eat. Your. Heart. Out.

This lady is fierce in her virtuosity. A cross between jazz, punk and hard rock, she hit that drum kit as hard as John Bonham with a bad attitude. Moreover, she brought the best out of Santana just as Santana brought the best out of her—taking turns to fan each other off when either heated up past boiling point.

But it wasn’t just a tale of he said, she said; the whole band was white-hot, raring to go wherever Santana dared lead.

img_20160924_202027056And if anything, they had best seats in the house. I could’ve been right up to the stage (which I was) but being on stage with a man who plays “Soul Sacrifice” like he’s dying? Forget about it.

I don’t know if he ever saw my scrawny self, waving his first two albums as I danced, but I’m sure he felt the energy of every fan like I, cheering to the heavens, solo after solo.

There was no mailing it in, which is a rather apt fear when seeing an aged classic rock guitarist. Instead, he reciprocated with everything he had. Anything less would’ve been a betrayal to his audience and to his faith.

The venue was his church, the crowd was his mass and his guitar work was his sermon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About BenJamsToo

A young dude with an old soul from Portland, OR but currently teaching and writing in rural France. A lover of rock n roll since his mother first spun The Police’s “Roxanne,” he’s also dabbler in soul, funk, jazz, blues, electronic and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s easier to list what he doesn’t like; most gangster rap, country-western and modern metal disagrees with his stomach. Spends all day wondering what Ruban Nielson eats for breakfast, why Danger Mouse hasn't made a through and through GOOD record since St. Elsewhere, if Kamasi Washington is the Kanye West of jazz and just what the hell people hear in mumble rap. Between those things he writes for Atwood and his own blog, Come here for the nice clean thoughts; go there for the ramblings of an insane man.