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CONCERT REVIEW: Santana (Live in Calgary) [24.09.05]

We get at the dome at 6:45pm. After a confusion over parking spots, being physically handicapped and eventually paying 8 more dollars for parking, we park and get to our seats. Now, it isn’t unusual for the show to start late, so we wait patiently till about 7:40pm and begin to wonder if the show is going to start at all or whether we should get up to get some tasty snacks to snack on. The lights begin to fade to black and the stage is dimly lit up with 9 musicians standing on stage at their posts. The large screen at the back of the stage is playing a beautiful animation of the Earth from space with a dove flapping its wings in flight. After about a minute, drums begin to fill the room and the video has changed from the majestic dove to that of an African tribe going nuts on the drums and dancing around in a crazy fashion. Its going to be an exciting night…

The visuals throughout the show were nuts and quite honestly beautifully arranged. From the moody blue/purples to the vibrant red/yellows, the lighting was easily as much of the performance as the music. The mood conveyed simply by the genius work of the lighting could tell a story all its own, and in reality made the music just that much better. Clips and picture playing on the giant screen at the back of the stage was also something else and gave a feeling about who these guys were. From the African tribes going nuts to the images of poverty striken Latino kids to Johnny Lee Hooker to just downright wierd things, there were very few boring moments on the giant screen. Now, the one thing I must say I COULD NOT believe was how bad the camera work was for the “live feed” of the concert…I mean its one thing to have a bad case of shaky cam or premature cuts, but good fucking god.

Okay, the song is warming up and just reached the solo, and here comes this retard of a camera man, cutting to our main man while hes chording a bit. Oh, what has happened now? The solo has sped up and Santana is nowhere in sight! Although we do get a badass shot of the bongo player not doing anything really special, especially not as special as a solo. And when they WERE showing Carlos Santana, you would think they would do a close-up of his hands every now and then right, considering hes the lead guitar player and all? Well, think again kiddies. When we see the man we generally just get to see either all of him or a close-up of his face… in fact I counted a whopping 2 times where it showed his hands on the guitar, and both times they were not really doing anything too spectacular. All in all, if there was anything that I would really say pissed me off tonight, it was DEFINITELY the stupid camera cuts.

The music…oh my lord, the music. I cannot remember the last time I went to a concert not knowing the music very well and having such a good time. Seriously, I knew maybe a bit less than half the songs and still found myself having a great time listening to the music. Every song lasted what had to be AT LEAST 5 minutes and in the middle of the show, they took the time to pretty much highlight every talent in the band (which was about 10 of them) by giving them all 3-5 minute solos (my favorite of which was the trumpet, drums and bass). I haven’t seen such talent on a bass guitar since Cliff Burton was alive and the drummers were just robots pounding out the beats like some machine ready to explode under its own pressure. Then there is our leading man…the whole show was his showcase. From songs where he just absolutely crazy and fast on the electric to the slower more “felt” music on his acoustic guitar, the man is a legend and proved to everyone again how tonight. Every note struck was felt more than played and he trule doesn’t play the guitar so much as he uses it to hammer emotion into your head and heart.

I tried taking some pictures of the event, but they unfortunately didn’t come out, so there are only like 3 shitty quality cameraphone pictures available so you’ll just have to take my word for how great it was. Absolutely stunning performance and show, and I would advise anyone with the opportunity to see it to do so, you’ll thank me later.