Firstly, let me put my feet up. If, like me, you were at the Carlos Santana concert at Dubai Festival City on Thursday night, you’re probably doing the same thing, because our toes were tapping for two solid hours.
Confession: I would not categorise myself as a Carlos Santana fan — in a recording, his smooth Latin guitar, while accomplished, doesn’t really kick it enough for this rock fan.
Live, however, I’m sold.
Santana is mesmerising as he ekes pure emotion out of that instrument, song after song. For me, the highlights weren’t even the hits I did know – Black Magic Woman, Maria, or Smooth, as wonderful as they were. It was the long stretches of guitar magic, where he riffed off the keyboardist and percussionists in his large band, the guitarist himself appearing as caught up in the moment as anyone else.
Starting bang on time at 10pm, the Mexican-American guitarist and his two vocalists, trombone, trumpet, keyboards — and even another guitarist (who would want to be that guy?) got the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival crowd moving instantly — some swayed, others just tapping their feet, others mind, body and soul in the moment.
Possibly the most crowded concert I’ve seen at the festival in recent years, the audience was the closest Dubai will get to that inclusive, one-minded Woodstock moment you see on video, where thousands of people are united in their focus on one man’s next chord.
That’s the Santana magic — getting all these minds focused on his next move. So he capitalised on it, with a heartfelt storytelling moment to inspire us, telling his audience that by 2035 there will be no more poverty, children in third world countries will have education, water and food… because Bill Gates and others are donating all their wealth. Peace out, friends!