“I don’t want to be singing ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ at age 50 and become a parody of myself!” Rod Stewart, Rolling Stone Magazine
The show at MTS Centre started promptly at 7:30pm with Santana hitting the stage with the Galaxy Dance intro and ‘Toussaint L’Overture’ from the 1971 album Santana III. The song was written about former Haitian slave François-Dominique Toussaint who helped Haiti gain its independence from France in the early 1800’s.
The last line of the song in Spanish is “Vamos morena a bailer mi montuno” (translation – “Come dance my montuno”). Montuno is a type of Afro-Cuban music that combines many styles and gradually builds up towards the end and that is certainly a formula that works for the band in many of their songs.
Santana’s 10-piece backing band delivered a strong performance with lots of percussion and two lead singers trading off. And of course, there’s that guitar sound that is unmistakably Santana.
In 2003, Carlos was voted the 15th greatest guitar player of all time. The man is serious about his playing which was clearly visible on his face on the big screen above his elaborate and colourful stage.
However, his playfulness came out when the band did a cover of ‘Tequila’ and I found it quite amusing when he did a few riffs of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ during the solo for ‘Jingo’.
The band were having a good time up there. When he introduced the band members, guitarist Tommy Anthony flawlessly played and sang a bit of Sting’s ‘Roxanne’ which really excited the crowd.
Of course, they played ‘Black Magic Woman’ written by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green which is a guitar masterpiece. And Tito Puente’s ‘Oye Como Va’ had the audience moving to the latin rhythms.
Carlos made a comment that, “Rod Stewart and I have a lot in common … we love the ladies.” Five of the beautiful and very talented ladies from Rod’s band joined Carlos on stage as backup singers for a song.
From his debut album in 1969, and playing shortly thereafter at Woodstock, to 1999’s breakthrough album Supernatural, to this year’s release Corazón, the 67-year-old Santana remains a true original, combining Latin rhythms, jazz, rock and pop. With over 100 million albums sold and four of his albums having reached number one on the billboard charts, Santana is a force to be reckoned with.
The last time I saw Santana was in Vancouver in 1992, where he was still doing his marathon 3-hour plus concerts. What I saw back then was a very spiritual person and indeed, he still has a good heart as he told the audience he was blessed to be in their presence. It was we who were blessed.
Rod hit the stage in his shiny silver suit with ‘Infatuation’ followed by ‘Having a Party’ and indeed we were having a party by then. ‘You Wear It Well’ was next with a lovely maiden on the mandolin.
A nice surprise was the next song, ‘It’s a Heartache’, the Bonnie Tyler tune which really worked well with Rod’s raspy voice. It’s interesting the similarity in their voices. Good choice Rod.
I think everyone in the audience was singing the chorus to ‘Tonight’s the Night’. ‘The Rhythm of My Heart’ was dedicated to “All the soldiers who have fought for us.”
After this, Santana came on stage and played guitar on the Etta James tune ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’. An even trade for Rod’s backup singers helping out Carlos on his set.
The acoustic set featured three covers, ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ (which Rod boasted that his version was the best … very humble, Rod), ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’, and ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’. They were also joined by members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Very nice.
The only new song of the night was ‘Can’t Stop Me Now’ which featured photos of Rod and his father. I think it’s true, even though Rod needed some help with some of the vocals, he still sounds good and with his steady determination, I don’t think the 69-year-old will stop any time soon.
Rod left the stage at one point and let one of his back up singers shine on the CCR hit ‘Proud Mary’ which was served up a la Tina Turner.
During the song ‘You’re in My Heart’, (which by the way is about his love of soccer), Rod kicked out many soccer balls into the audience. After the concert, I talked with Brian Bielski who brought his wife Sharon to the show for her birthday. He caught one of the autographed balls. A woman outside the arena offered him $1000 for the ball, when he said no, she upped the ante to $1500. His wife wouldn’t let him sell it. I think this was probably one of the best birthday gifts ever for her.
The last song before the encore was the old classic ‘Maggie May’ which also featured some more mandolin.
For the encore Rod came back with ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, which according to the crowd reaction, I think the ladies still find him quite sexy. Not much of a parody.
The only thing I found kind of funny about the show was when Rod told us to look at the big video screen, which he said was hard to avoid, and shared some YouTube clips that he said we should get a laugh out of.
Rod promised us earlier in the show that they were going to play for at least an hour and a half, and true to his word he gave us 100 minutes of good tunes and a memorable show.
SANTANA setlist (1:30:00)
Galaxy Dance intro
1. Toussaint L’Overture
2. Hope You’re Feeling Better
3. Everybody’s Everything
4. Black Magic Woman/ Gypsy Queen
5. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente cover)
6. Maria Maria
7. Foo Foo
8. Corazón espinado
10. Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
11. Tequila (the Champs cover)
13. Soul Sacrifice
ROD STEWART setlist (1:39:00)
2. Having a Party (Sam Cooke cover)
3. You Wear It Well
4. It’s A Heartache (Bonnie Tyler cover)
5. Young Turks
6. Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright)
7. Rhythm Of My Heart
8. I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James cover) (with Santana)
9. Forever Young (Bob Dylan cover)
ACOUSTIC SET (3 songs)
10. The First Cut Is The Deepest (Cat Stevens cover)
11. I Don’t Want To Talk About It (Crazy Horse cover)
12. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You (Van Morrison)
13. Can’t Stop Me Now
14. Sweet Little Rock & Roller (Chuck Berry cover)
15. Proud Mary (CCR cover)
16. You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
17. Hot Legs
18. Maggie May
20. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy