Long, billowing white sheets surrounded the stage at the Capital Centre last night. The transparent material imparted a serene and reassuring presence to the gaudy atmosphere of the basketball court/rock music concert hall.
The first notes of Santana's show were equally reassuring in a slightly different manner. The loud chords and surging rhythms of "Well, All Right" tore thorugh the cloth like a glistening saber. Carlos Santana has returned to rock and rol!
After several years in jazz-fusion seclusion, Santana is once again playing the Latin rock that made him famous. He and his seven-piece group presented classics like "Black Magic Woman" and newer songs from the current record "Inner Secrets."
The controlled cacophony of the percussionists shot sharp rhythmic accents against a wall of high-energy guitars and keyboards, with Greg Walker's vocals adding a soulful lyrical tone.
Carlos Santana has clearly profited by his jazz experience. His technique is much more polished, and at last night's show, he used this to great effect on his various solos, which were marked by taste and emotion. Rock seems to be a natural for his screaming notes and sleeping chord work, and both he and rock are richer for his return to that music.