Loading…
Monday, December 22, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Thursday, 7/12/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Santana's rhythm keeps fans on feet in spirited concert

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Carlos Santana never lost the beat during a two-hour performance that kept the crowd moving Wednesday at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre. He used an 11-person band that fused Latin, rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz, during a set that showcased hits like 'Smooth' and 'Black Magic Woman.'  Carlos Santana never lost the beat during a two-hour performance that kept the crowd moving Wednesday at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre. He used an 11-person band that fused Latin, rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz, during a set that showcased hits like 'Smooth' and 'Black Magic Woman.'
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Carlos Santana threw a South Toledo summer street party Wednesday night for his sold-out show at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre.

The bowl that holds the audience was packed, with folks standing six deep in the back. Walbridge Park across Broadway had dozens of people stretched out on blankets or sitting in lawn chairs, and yards on the street directly behind the zoo's stage were filled with fans digging the guitar god's distinctive sound.

From the moment he sauntered onto the stage -- the epitome of cool in an all-white outfit (including an awesome fedora) -- until the sweaty climax more than two hours later, he did not disappoint.

With an 11-person band that fuses Latin, rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz, Santana drew on his massive body of work to fashion a set that showcased his fiery guitar work and the music's deep, propulsive groove.

At the beginning of the show, the 64-year-old Santana gestured to band members with his hands, subtle nods, and shoulder rolls to more or less conduct the music. As the band slammed into "Love Is Me, Love Is You," early in the set, it was obvious that Carlos Santana is not just one of the best guitar players of his generation. He's also one of the greatest rock composers.

PHOTO GALLERY: Santana rocks Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre

The three percussionists laid down a complex bed of beats, serving as the band's engine room and fueling a massive groove that sucked the air out of your lungs and forced your feet to move whether you wanted them to.

Gonzalo Estrada, left, and Gabriel Hernandez, both of Ann Arbor, applaud as Carlos Santana appears in concert at the Toledo Zoo. Gonzalo Estrada, left, and Gabriel Hernandez, both of Ann Arbor, applaud as Carlos Santana appears in concert at the Toledo Zoo.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Santana uses that bedrock to play an endless array of blistering, staccato solos that throw notes together like a painter splashing a canvas with color. He never loses his sense of melody or beat, somehow staying locked into the grooves no matter how far he stretches out with long, sustained solos.

The set was peppered with such Santana standards as "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman," "Maria, Maria," and "Oye Como Va," and the pacing only flagged a bit when he played "Metatron," from his new "Shape Shifter" album.

While Santana was clearly engaged with the audience throughout the show, rapping about spirituality and reminiscing about playing in Toledo in the past, he never mentioned that the song was from his new album, and the energy noticeably dissipated as the tune seemed aimless and ill-fitting with the rest of his material. It needed an introduction and felt like a throwaway.

The place erupted when he ripped into the 1999 hit "Smooth," to close out the main set.

At least six people from the audience were pulled onto the stage to beat on tambourines and shake their maracas (among other things).

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.