by Jamila Robinson
Even on a night with a stifling heat index, the howling of Carlos Santana’s guitar was persuasive enough to make the audience at Chastain Park Amphitheatre sweat further. The women were breaking out their cha-cha steps, the men working themselves into frenzies on imaginary instruments.
Relying heavily on his biggest hits (“Oye Como Va,” “Black Magic Woman”) and tracks from the gazillion-selling 1999 album “Supernatural,” Santana and his cadre of musicians and singers gave hands-in-air performances of “Maria, Maria,” “Corazon Espinado” and “Smooth.” Clearly an audience-focused, if somewhat predictable, set list.
But there was a surprise. Atlanta’s India Arie joined Santana on stage to perform passion-soaked rendition of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
There is a purity to Santana, from the video above the stage that shows some of the inspiration for the African and Latin rhythms in his music, to the way he interacts with his bandmates, such as Benny Rietveld, the shoe-free bassist, who whacked licks that matched Santana’s dexterity, several octaves below.
During the lengthy solos, Santana would take the audience to other places. These were the kind of sit-back-and-close-your-eyes journeys that require an air guitar.
See more photos from the show in our gallery.