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  • Laura Fox - LLFoxphotos

Santana Supernatural Now Tour Performance Blows This Reporter’s Mind 08/09/19 at Ruoff Home Mortgage

I’ve always loved live music, and I’ve been to a fair number of concerts, especially in the past couple of years. I can honestly say Friday’s Santana show at the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center was one of the best shows I have ever been to. The musicianship, the lights, the energy, the camaraderie among the band, and the incredible music all combined to make an absolutely amazing experience. After a stellar set by The Doobie Brothers, Santana opened with Soul Sacrifice, a song they played at Woodstock almost exactly 50 years ago. They segued smoothly into Jin-go-lo-ba, then launched into Evil Ways/ A Love Supreme. The rest of their set, they alternated between Songs from their 1999 Supernatural album, classic hits, a couple of covers, and one song from their brand-new album, Africa. All together, they rocked a hefty 17-song regular set, plus three encore songs. But WHAT they played wasn’t as important as HOW they played it. Every single song was a jam. And with nine musicians on the stage, the sound was huge and rich. At front and center was Carlos Santana and his gorgeous gold guitar. He was surrounded by keyboards, bass, two vocalists, and a massive percussion section which consisted of two full drum sets as well as a set of toms. The three percussionists were relentless all night, and I love the fact that Cindy Blackman Santana’s kit was right in the center of the stage. To explain everything I loved about this show would take about as long as the concert itself, so here are a few highlights and impressions: It was thrilling to be able to watch Carlos Santana’s fingers work their magic on the guitar strings; I got the impression that it was as natural for him as breathing Hearing Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen performed live by Santa was beyond incredible, and something that should be on everyone’s bucket lists The Doobie Brothers made a surprise appearance on stage for She’s Not There, which turned into an extended jam. They stayed onstage for a ZZ Topp medley/jam that was wonderful The visuals on the huge screen behind the band could have been distracting, but they actually enhanced the experience. I especially liked the vintage video clips during Oye Como Va. (BTW, I’m pretty sure that was the first Spanish phrase I ever learned.) Total Destruction to Your Mind (a Swamp Dogg Cover) was a total romp. Everyone on stage was having an absolute ball I loved watching the interaction between the band members. They were clearly comfortable working with one another, which just made everything else more fun. Vocalist Ray Greene did a great job of engaging the audience, encouraging them to dance, clap, and sing along I was sad to leave before the show ended, but the sounds of the night echoed pleasantly in my head the whole way home. Santana’s Supernatural Now Tour continues through the end of August 2019; details can be found here:

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