Stepping back into history through song: Seeing Santana

Disappointment. That was my first thought when I had left the stadium after watching the performance on Wednesday when Santana came to the 2019 Houston Rodeo. Disappointed because I had not been introduced to the music sooner, and shocked that I hadn’t heard of them before.

Santana formed in the mid ’60s in California and is the perfect meld of psychedelic rock and Latin and African rhythms with influences of American blues and jazz.

Carlos Santana, lead guitar and vocals and the namesake of the band, oozed confidence the night of the performance at the Rodeo. Despite the rain and humid weather, 74,161 fans came to see the legendary musician .

That night, the band consisted of two vocalists, two guitarists, a bassist, keyboard player, and three percussionists, one being his wife, Cindi Blackman Santana. Accompaning the fantastical performance was a video of the original Woodstock show that helped put Santana’s name on the map.

They began the set early with recognizable hits like “Black Magic Women,” and “Oy Como Va.” Less well-known songs could still be enjoyed, however, with his contagious bongo-led shuffle having the crowds dance in their seats and the lyrics displayed on either side of the stadium ensured everyone could sing along. Beatles fans were pleasantly surprised when they heard a segment of “When My Guitar Weeps” played over “Toussaint L’Ouverture.”

If the music wasn’t enough to sweep you off your feet, the light show and rotating stage that allowed everyone to have a chance to see the band’s passion certainly did. Lights of all colors and designs danced across the stage and audience, involving everyone in an out of the world experience that complimented the music perfectly.

The show ended with a cheeky riff of “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” and Santana and his band humbly walked off-stage with a standing ovation from the audience.

The RodeoHouston 2019 had one of the most diverse lineups this year from old country, modern pop, and rap, but it was Santana that exuded that idea perfectly. We’ll just have to see if the rodeo next year can live up to the wonderful performance displayed that Wednesday night with Santana.

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