Just one week into the June / July US Tour and we can tell that this is a very special moment in Santana history. The vibe on tour is extraordinary with the Band and Crew pouring their passion into the music and knowing that we are doing more then just moving people; we are saving lives! As most Santana fans know, all of the profits from this tour are going to help fight AIDS in Africa. ANSA (Artists for a New South Africa) are at each venue handing out information so our fans can learn more about the cause and how Carlos & Deborah are helping. Adding to this incredible vibe, the Band has been mixing up the set list and playing some incredible music this tour!
We asked our fans to email us and let us know what songs they wanted to hear this tour. Also, many of the radio stations that sponsor our shows have been polling fans online. The result has been amazing with Carlos adding additional Santana classics into each set. In Raleigh they played a ripping “Incident at Neshabur”! “Samba Pa Ti” graced the set list in Virginia and “Europa” tore at our heartstrings in Burgettstown. Carlos has also rearranged “Jingo” to become a phenomenal show opener. Each Band member slowly takes the stage as the song builds energy bringing the crowds to their feet immediately! “Novus” has become the show closer, leaving the listener with a spiritual message and chills! Carlos has also added a few new songs to the set and many guest artists have stopped by to spice things up.
Show opener, Angelique Kidjo, has added her high energy to the show by singing “Amore” and “Adouma”. In Virginia, Citizen Cope played “Sideways”, Alejandro Lerner sang “Hoy Es Adios” and Paul Reed Smith jammed on “Taboo” & “The Calling”. Alejandro Lerner will be joining us for a few shows in the North East. There is no telling who may stop by this tour. The Band is playing great! Every night has been really exciting because you do not know what will happen next!
On Monday, June 16 we arrived in New York City early in the morning. Carlos was out on the streets visiting his favorite music shops and restaurants. It was a welcome day off in the big city after three shows in a row.
We headed up to Hartford, CT on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. As per usual, the weather cleared up around show time. The show highlights included “Samba Pa Ti” and a ripping “Corazon Espinado”. Alejandro Lerner graced us with his beautiful voice on “Hoy Es Adios”. The next day we were off to the PNC Arts Center in New Jersey. Blues great Hubert Sumlin jammed on “Exodus” and “Supernatural Thing”. Hubert is best known for his work with Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters. The next day we had a day off in New York City. Most of the guys caught up on some sleep and braved the rains to do some shopping.
On Friday, June 20 the Band and crew were working overtime with Good Morning America in the early morning and a show at Jones Beach that night. Some of the crew were unloading equipment in the rain at 3:00 AM to make sure that everything was perfect for the Band. When the Band arrived at 6:30 AM, not our usual time to play music, the skies were gray and threatening rain. We ran through a quick rehearsal and got ready for the show. Michelle Branch started things off as the Band launched into “The Game of Love”. Angelique Kidjo helped brighten up the New York skyline with “Adouma”. Alex Band sang, “Why Don’t You & I” and the Band soared through a version of “Aye Aye Aye”. After the performance we all went to get some rest for the show at Jones Beach.
The night was cold out by the beach, but that didn’t deter the fans or the Band from having a great time. The Product G & B were on hand both nights to energize the crowd with “Maria Maria” as was Alejandro Lerner (“Hoy Es Adios”) and Angelique Kidjo (“Adouma”). Alex Band joined us for a great version of “Why Don’t You & I” on Friday evening. The Band is really starting to find their groove at this point in the tour. Friday night was a very tight set and Saturday night was epic! With buckets of rain pouring down on the Jones Beach crowd, the Band took the stage a little early. This gave them ample time to move through many old songs and some new ones too. As the Woodstock chant rang out the boys launched into an amazing version of “Soul Sacrifice”. As if the gods were smiling on us, the clouds parted and stars began to shine. Later in the set, Carlos gave the signal and they started “Savor”. CT tore it up! Karl & Raul had the opportunity to show off their stuff taking a solo together and individually. Angelique killed “Adouma” and Carlos & CT gracefully made their way into “Black Magic Woman”/ Gypsy Queen” – “Oye Como Va”. Jingo closed the set with Marc Quijones from the Allman Brothers playing congas. As they came back for the encore Carlos called for “Open Invitation” and the crowd was rocking! After “The Game of Love”, they played “Incident at Neshabur” along with the “Smooth “ Medley and a beautiful “Novus”. This show was a treat for everyone who was there!
The next day we traveled to Saratoga Springs, NY to play at SPAC. This is a beautiful venue located in a state park. It is always a pleasure to play there. Carlos rose to the occasion by playing “Batuka” / “No One to Depend On”, “Samba Pa Ti” and “Savor”. The Band played really well and the fans were treated to some amazing jams and tight arrangements.
On Monday, June 23 we traveled to Philadelphia for a day off. Most of the Band went to a family Barbeque hosted by our friends from Tequila’s. It was great to have a relaxing evening away from the hotel. Some of the guys played some 4 on 4 basketball. Tony Lindsay proved to be the most skilled and Karl Perazzo showed off his “Mission District” techniques. The next day Carlos played some tennis with friends.
From Philadelphia we bussed over to Mansfield, MA for a one-night stand. Once again, Alejandro Lerner joined us for a soulful version of “Hoy Es Adios”. Other show highlights included “Incident at Neshabur” and Marvin Gaye’s “Right on / Get on”. The crowd in Mansfield was rockin’! The following day we traveled to Wilkes Barre, PA for a day off and some tennis. We stayed in a remote area by waterfalls and hiking trails. It was a nice departure from the big cities. After a quiet day off the band was well rested for the show in Scranton. The evening was beautiful as the sun was setting with shades of lavender in the sky. “Wishing it Was” made an appearance in the set list for the first time this tour and followed an amazing version of “Savor”. Then without notice, Carlos launched into “Europa” / “I want You”. This was a surprise treat for everyone, since it was not on the set list. The next day we were on the road again, off to Buffalo, NY.
We had a little extra time to play on this evening and Carlos took full advantage of it. Angelique joined us for Ben E. King’s “Supernatural Thing”, “Amore” and “Adouma”. The Band then tore into “Taboo” / Open Invitation”. It was ripping! The set also included “Make Somebody Happy” and a great solo by Benny. The next day we were in Toronto. The set was moved around tonight to make room for “Soul Sacrifice” in the encore. “Black Magic Woman” / “Gypsy Queen” and “Oye Como Va” made a rare mid set appearance. The good fans in Toronto took it all in stride and danced the night away.
We traveled overnight to Detroit where we stayed at the same hotel with The Dave Matthews Band and Metallica. It was a rock and roll fans dream as all the bands were catching up with each other over the two-day period. Most of the guys were taking in the Michigan charm, going out to eat, hitting some of the local hot spots and of course doing laundry. Carlos got involved in a very competitive tennis match and triumphed in the end. We played the show in the DTE Theater the next evening and traveled to Columbus, OH the next day.
Many of our crew live in Columbus, so there was plenty of family and friends hanging out back stage. It was a very laid back atmosphere as Carlos and some of the crew were shooting hoops before the show. With a little extra time to spare at the end of the show, Carlos grooved into “The Healer”. CT dropped in behind him and the Band soon followed. Normally this is only a tease before the opening chords of “Black Magic Woman”, but tonight was different. The spirit of John Lee Hooker was ever present as the Band shuffled through the song. As it slowly faded CT started “Black Magic Woman” and everyone was smiling.
We made the overnight trek to Chicago and had a day off in the “Windy City”. Some of the guys got together and had some sushi that evening. We played at “Summerfest” in Milwaukee the next day. Summerfest is a two-week jam with multiple stages and many great acts. We headlined the evening in the amphitheater. Prior to our show, the guys got to check out Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They tore it up! With extra time at the end of the show, Carlos improved in to “Boogie Woman” and really let loose. Other show highlights included “Incident at Neshabur” and “Savor”. We played in Chicago the following evening and then it was off to St. Louis.
Carlos invited good friend, Gary Rich to jam in his hometown and he once again lived the guitar players dream, jamming with Santana! Carlos and the guys learned a new song entitled, “St. Louis Blues Company” right before the show and played a great version of the tune. Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way” graced the set list as well. Bill Ortiz played magnificently on the song. In the encore the Band launched into “Guajira” / “Corazon Espinado”. We flew to Denver, CO the next day.
With a day off in Denver, Carlos beat up on his tennis partner in 2 sets. The altitude did not seem to bother him. A few of the guys went to see The Dead at Red Rocks but most were content to hangout and see Denver. We played the following day at Fiddlers Green and then we went back home to the Bay area of a couple of shows.
The Band was all fired up to play for their hometown friends and family. The two days off really paid off as they immediately gelled from the first notes of “Jingo”. Alejandro Lerner graced the stage with “Hoy es Adios” and would join us for the remaining four shows of the tour. Carlos worked up a Reggae version of Otis Redding’s “Dock of The Bay” with Angelique Kidjo on lead vocals. The crowd sang every word with Angelique. At Shoreline, Citizen Cope rejoined the tour and performed a haunting version of “Sideways”. He would join us in San Diego and Los Angeles too.
We jammed into San Diego tore it up. On our flight from San Francisco was one of Carlos’ good friends, Mr. Harry Belafonte. The two embraced on the plane and had lunch together in Old Town, San Diego. Mr. Belafonte attended the show in San Diego and Carlos honored him with a dozen roses and a speech from the stage. After the show we set out for Los Angeles.
The grand finale of the tour had numerous speakers from ANSA and an after party that included speeches from Carlos, Deborah and many of ANSA’s representatives. It was an amazing experience. The entire tour was incredible knowing that our blood, sweat & tears for the last month are going to such an amazing cause. The vibe was incredible, the band was on fire all tour and our fans are second to none!
To check out the set lists from this tour click here, and search for the shows you are looking for.
To see photos from the US Tour please click here .