On July 1st, Tinley Park Illinois played host to over 22,000 people at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater to see the legendary Carlos Santana along with special guests Earth Wind and Fire. The diverse crowd had individuals from quite young to the young at heart with every race, creed, and religion all united under the guise that music doesn't have to have barriers.
Earth, Wind and Fire came out blazing and warmed up (pun intended) the mighty sold-out crowd with hits such as "Shining Star", the Beatles, "Got To Get You Into My Life"', "Rock That!", September, and Lets Groove. The entire crowd was grooving and dancing along with the 11 band members on stage as if every concertgoer just joined band. It was undeniable that this is one of the greatest singing and dancing bands to ever grace a stage.
The show was immediately stolen when Carlos Santana practically glided onto the stage amidst the fog and bright lights. Santanas gigantic cigar and incense sticks helped to set the mood and add to the effects onstage. While those effects were interesting, nothing could have topped his bright white track suit. Santanas suit was so white, under the spotlights he was glowing like an angel and had the cherub choir backing him up. He made certain to share the spotlight with every single member of his band throughout the show with grace and class.
In fact, this didnt really feel like a show, rather it felt like a private jam session between one of the most legendary guitarists of all time and some of his closest friends and family. This includes his wife, Cindy Blackman-Santana as one of three percussionists on stage. There was no shortage of talent or percussion on stage and they kept the beat with impeccable precision.
While there was a lot of talent onstage, Santana made sure to pay homage to the legendary musicians that shaped his playing style and helped him to achieve his own legendary status as a premier guitar player. This included nods to the Chicago blues community with Buddy Guy, as well as various musical legends, most notably, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton. Santana also treated the crowd to some Chicago blues style riffs and made sure to address and thank everyone in the crowd as well as, Jesus, Sweet Baby Jesus."
Overall, Santana pleased the crowd with his song choices and effortless riffs on the guitar. Each song seemed to blend into one gigantic compilation of guitar goodness. This included his signature smooth guitar work throughout the 18-song set which featured such hits such as; Oye Como Va, Black Magic Woman, as well as Joy which was a collaboration with country legend Chris Stapelton. The set also featured covers of The Zombies Shes Not There as well of snippets of George Harrison's, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." A crowd favorite was Put Your Lights On which had the entire crowd dancing, singing, and waving their cellphone flashlights around, making for quite a spectacle. "Maria, Maria" had all the ladies in attendance swooning and by the time Mr. Santana went into the opening notes of Smooth, his legendary collaboration with Rob Thomas, the frenzied crowd was dancing and singing along as if everyone there were old friends. This was truly a show to remember, and it is amazing to see that even at 74 years old, legends such as Carlos Santana can still sell out huge venues but, it comes as no surprise with the man who coined the term, smooth!
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