Back at Merriweather Post Pavilion; I like to come to this venue once a year and since Phish wasn't playing this time around, Santana seemed like the perfect occasion to return for 2017. Merriweather Post Pavilion has recently gone through some modifications and upgrades. It was quite interesting to see the venues evolution over the past years. The new wooden-modern styled buildings have replaced the old, run down carnival feel that prevailed as soon as you entered before. The pavilion roof seems to have been raised, somewhat but maybe only a few feet; which does offer some much needed viewing space.
The crowd for Santana was extremely diverse and the music seemed to bring everyone closer together no matter, race or nationality. This music speaks to everyone's souls and Santana’s music is transcending even time and space, race or anything else is of little use when understanding music and letting it is very easy to let into your heart and soul. Ecstatic, joyous music, as Santana said himself, "music is divine"
The guitar sensation took the stage for a ripping intro; high-energy rock with Latin swing, funk and soul all mixed together. Carlos Santana’s music has always been spiritual in nature and psychedelic in origin; he has never left this behind. For a 70-year-old, Santana still has amazing guitar chops and his music is still spiritual and enlightened as it ever was. He has talked on numerous occasions concerning his personal deity, known as Metatron with whom he spiritually communes with and which is directly responsible for his hit come back album, “Supernatural.”
Santana's music is the definition of Latin Fusion but on another level that no one can compete with; effortlessly combining various rhythmic and musical forms. Embodying a melting pot of musical revelation and inspiration.
Santana spoke to the crowd many times, talking about various political, social and spiritual philosophies.-
"Feels good to be loco, to be free. Normal straight people are boring. I love crazy people."
He spoke of The Grateful Dead saying, "They never played the same set. They used to tell me, ‘You have to lose yourself to find yourself.’" He also quoted many other musical artists and figures from the 1960s such as: John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and even mumbled some Dylan.
This tour was called The Transmogrify Tour 2017. Santana spoke on this term and its use within music, as well. This term can also represent some spiritual connotations; Transmogrify is to transform something, especially in a surprising or magical manner and Santana does just that, transforming his music into something completely different. Not only did Santana play great versions of his classic songs like, “Soul Sacrifice,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Oye Como Va” and “Evil Ways” but he seamlessly mixes themes and melodies from other songs written by many popular bands like, The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and The Police. Riffs from many Classic Rock songs could be heard intertwined within classic Santana jams.
I would absolutely love to see Santana again but next time at a music festival. He would do well at Lockn’ again or any Jam festival out there. Santana’s technical ability is unmatchable and he seems to have been through it all and back again. He can still excite any Jam Band lover and his music is beautiful and extremely powerful. Below, I have made a chart that shows what to expect when seeing Santana live. While, this experience was new to me, I had a lot of fun but I did not enjoy the cheesy 90s songs.
Jam Band Purist
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.