The irreplaceable Rey of Latin rock blessed Nashville with some of the most instantly recognizable guitar chords on warm Sunday night.
Incense wafted through the air as Carlos Santana and his band transformed Ascend Amphitheater in to a space of love and peace.
With a sound unbound and so pleasing he has never had to reinvent himself to stay relevant, Santana took the stage with his current band and peeled out the first notes to “O Paradiso” to a cheering crowd.
Without pause, singers and hype men, Andy Vargas and Ray Greene, got the crowd primed for the rest of the show with “People Are You Ready”. The energy on the lawn was vivid and full of happiness as the show rolled on and “Love Makes The World Go Round” was nursed the souls in the crowd.
Carlos took a moment to greet the crowd before “Maria Maria” seared it’s infectious notes on the dancing crowd. In the crowd, movement in general was a common theme as you looked around. People were genuinely enjoying the company of others and the beauty of the night.
As the Corazon Espinado began to play, there was a small crowd of people on the back lawn doing a salsa line dance that attracted a small gathering of toe tapping onlookers.
Santana’s hit 1969 cover of Clarence Henry’s “Evil Ways” was a favorite with the crowd and was followed up with strong message.
Originally recorded with John McLaughlin on 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme was delivered to us on the heels of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. Carlos took a moment to reflect on unity, love, community and being a vessel for positive change in the world.
He denounced the white supremacy movement and the violence that took place the day before. He encouraged people to learn to look past political identities, unite and love one another. The crowd responded in agreement before the band broke out in Stevie Wonder’s 1973 hit, Higher Ground.
Taking a break from the drums for one song, the talented Cindy Blackman shared her beautiful voice with us a song she wrote titled “I Remember”. She teamed up with Ron Isley on the Power Of Peace album for this song but was singing solo tonight. It was slower and smooth and her voice was like butter.
Santana’s soaring trademark chords melted hearts in the animated crowd as Black Magic Woman began. People were trying to rush to the stage to get close up video of one of his most notorious covers. One, that he made his own so much that most people do not realize it was written by Peter Green for Fleatwood Mac.
He rounded the night off with “Oye Como Va” before going out with a bang and treating his fans to a four song encore. The percussion was completely on fire but there was little danger from the heat as rain fell on the crowd.
This was Santana’s only stop in the Southeastern US and he didn’t disappoint his fans. Everyone left fulfilled and in high spirits despite the drizzling rain.