Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Santana @ Wolf Trap 8/25/2015

I went to see Santana ($40) at Wolf Trap. I had not seen this Mexican guitar god live before, and finally was getting to experience what so many people have loved since the 1960s (!). I was looking forward to a nice long set on a school nite at this open air venue.

I got there way too early, and ended up standing in line to get in. It was pretty hot that day, so I was sweating a bit just standing there. I should have stopped somewhere other than Harris Teeter to eat, tho. They finally opened the gates, and people jam packed the lawn. I don't recall if this was officially sold out, but it certainly felt like it. I found a space kind of close on the lawn, but noticed after I sat down that there was a pillar blocking my left side.


There was a little bit of merchandise (shirts), but everything seemed boring and/or overpriced. I didn't get anything. I think there was a line for merch at some point, but it didn't seem that popular.

Santana and Pole

Santana started around 7:30 with an intro from their Woodstock performance (ages ago). They were met with some minor applause and excitement until Carlos took the stage. Even then, the crowd seemed pretty tame and relaxed until some of the bigger hits (later on in the set). I think overall Santana had about 10-12 people on stage at once (!!).

To that point, there was an almost altercation near me. There was one woman who was standing up and dancing, where everyone else around her was sitting. I didn't think this was a problem, if people behind her wanted to see better they also could stand, just like at any other show. However, some of the folks behind her didn't think about this and shouted at her to sit down. She, understandably was irked by this and refused to comply (in a peaceful manner). Now, at around this time, there was a beach ball being tossed around. It appeared that someone had purposefully aimed it at this woman and hit her with it (tho not very hard). She immediately had enough and grabbed the ball and started to deflate/tear it apart. I was pretty surprised to see such a mellow crowd get uppity. She turned around and addressed the people she think who did it (who shouted at her before), and said something about getting them arrested for assault. Talk about intense.

After that whole madness, Carlos Santana's son Salvador came out with some more members of the band and started to have a mini concert within this concert. I think it would have been tolerable if 1) I wanted to see Salvador Santana 2) he didn't rap. The crowd seemed mostly confused by this and/or ignored him. With the lukewarm crowd and this disappointing interlude, I was not having a great experience. Maybe the rest would be better?

After noodling a bit (forgot how jazzy a bit of his stuff can be), we finally got to some more radio friendly songs, and people woke up. Make no mistake, Santana's guitar work sounded great, and several of his solos were pretty amazing. I think he paled in comparison to say, Eddie Van Halen and the exquisite Ritchie Blackmore. However, the experience was diminished by the jazzy feel of the rest of it. I don't understand why I found that surprising, because he really is/was a pretty big hippie (more or less). The whole vibe of the show was perhaps a bit too laid back for me.

Setlist wise, when you're picking from a history of what, almost 50 years (!!), you're going to let someone down. Sure we got some stuff from the first album, and from the more recent successful collaborative albums, and some odds and ends. I found it odd that the most recent album that he played off of was Shaman (I think) from 2002, ignoring a few after that. It seemed like a decent mix of songs, but perhaps the order should have been jumbled a bit.

Some of my friends asked me how it was, and were trying to get tickets (unsuccessfully, I think scalpers were jacking up the prices). Even looking back on it now, I think I agree with my sentiments from that day- It's better that they saved their money. To me it was a good experience to hear some Carlos Santana live, but I think you'd need to be a huge fan otherwise. I did not have a great time, it was more lackluster.

Next show: Epica/ Eliveitie

Santana (thank you setlist.fm)(7:33-10ish -I left 9:46)

  • Woodstock Intro 
  • Soul Sacrifice 
  • Saideira (Skank cover)
  • Love Makes the World Go 'Round (Deon Jackson cover)
  • Freedom in Your Mind 
  • Maria Maria 
  • Foo Foo 
  • Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile) 
  • Summer's Day (Salvador Santana cover) (with Salvador Santana and Alex Nester)
  • Rise Up (Salvador Santana cover) (with Salvador Santana and Alex Nester)
  • Fantasy Reality (Salvador Santana cover) (with Salvador Santana and Alex Nester)
  • Corazón espinado (Santana feat. Maná cover)
  • Jin-go-lo-ba (Babatunde Olatunji cover
  • Evil Ways (Willie Bobo cover)
  • A Love Supreme (John Coltrane cover)
  • Blue Train / A Place with No Name 
  • Blue Magic Woman (Sound of Music cover)
  • Tequila (The Champs cover)
  • Smooth (Santana feat. Rob Thomas cover)
  • -
  • India / Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen 
  • Oye como va (Tito Puente cover)
  • Toussaint L'Overture 
  • Ominous