Santana Rogers Place, Edmonton AB, March 12

Santana Rogers Place, Edmonton AB, March 12
Photo: Dana Zuk
With the amount of anger and hate-fuelled events in our everyday world, it'd be great to find a place where, if only for awhile, we could forget any of these things exist. For Carlos Santana and his crew, that was exactly the plan for those in attendance of the Divination Tour. On its stop through Edmonton AB, Santana spread messages of harmony, with an intercontinental blend of worldly sounds infused with the Latin-American inspired rock'n'roll.
The bongos began to rumble as the musicians made their entrance to the stage — upfront, and in the centre of the soon-to-be-mayhem, stood the almighty Carlos Santana; armed and ready with his vibrant yellow guitar. The group eased their way through "Soul Sacrifice" as a moderate introduction to their crowd before erupting into "Jin-Go-Lo-Ba" and allowing Santana to demonstrate a sample of his capabilities.
Santana masterfully manipulated his guitar to scream and wail in hypnotic and mesmerizing tones while intricately navigating the neck of his guitar; his trademark facial expressions accompanying the many expert manoeuvres of his playing. During the vast set list, from the slower-paced but iconic "Black Magic Woman," to the group's rendition of "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane, Santana maintained intensity and consistency in his individual performance while making it seem effortless. The group didn't stop with Coltrane, as they covered "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" by Jimi Hendrix, as well as "Total Destruction of Your Mind" by Swamp Dogg.
It was some time before the Santana addressed the crowd, and when he took time to do so, he spoke about issues of fear and hate. Santana talked about how his group and music represents togetherness and the world as one, stating that Santana was about comradery, ignoring flags that divide people, and declaring, "My only flag is my heart." Falling silent under applause, Santana returned to the task at hand and continued the set with "Europa."
The group's on-stage presence is as vibrant as it is fluent. The chemistry between each artist feels so natural, as each one of them feeds off the other. The constant energy produced from the group is one of practiced professionals who genuinely enjoy working with one another. The stage presence from each member is perpetually electric and is truly captivating to behold, and at times throughout the show could be described as organized chaos.
Toward the end of the set, Santana and his stage mates made a point to end the night on a memorable note as they performed "Maria Maria" followed by "Foo Foo," which was played after Santana invited the crowd to go "absolutely bananas" and to "shake off the negative feelings you no longer need to carry!" Pandemonium ensued, enticing the crowd to follow suit. With excitement at its maximum levels for the evening, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana went on a rampage with her lengthy drum solo that displayed her staggering endurance.
The group finished the night with fan favourite "Smooth" before closing their encore and set list with "Love, Peace and Happiness" by the Chambers Brothers. A final footnote to ring in the ears of concert goers on Santana's mission to have togetherness trump all hate.

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