Was surprised to see David K. Mathews onstage but I shouldn't have been.
The setlist was set up pretty sensibly. Starting with "Soul Sacrifice" instead of putting it toward the end was nice touch. That and "Jingo" were performed by the "Woodstock" Santana (with Mathews, Parazzo, and Rietveld) before Carlos introduced the band halfway through "Evil Ways" and brought Neal out. Then they tore into "Everybody's Everything" off Santana III.
Lots of time devoted to the new album (appropriately). The new songs blended with the old pretty seamlessly.
Karl had several vocal sections, which is typical, but I was surprised they wrote any of the newer songs with lead sections for him. I figured it would be all Gregg and maybe a bit of Carlos on lead vocal duty (aside from the Isley tracks, of course).
Carlos directed traffic all night. During "Leave Me Alone" (I think) he was trying to get Carabello to go nuts on the congas and for some reason he wouldn't do it.
Several technical issues, none of which noticeably slowed the show down. Mathews lost one of his keyboards at one point, which has me wondering if they'll just overdub that for the PBS/DVD release.
Neal had a problem as well, with his tech coming out onstage and trying to troubleshoot his pedal setup (at one point Carlos lightly whacked the tech on the head or shoulder and pointed at something). This was just before Neal went to center stage for his solo and as he did Carlos looked down again, gave an "oh shit" expression, and reached down and reeled out a few feet of cable for him. Funny moment that won't be on the video release.
I wasn't sure if Ronnie Isley would show up, but I figured it was a strong possibility. His two songs are prominent on the new album, so it was good to see him come out for the encore section.
Overall, a really fun night.
My only major gripe: What the Hell is wrong with these people who spend the entire show shooting video with their phone? At best, it only impacts them (since you can't clap or really even enjoy the moment when you're holding your damn phone in front of your face). More often (as was the case last night), it affects the people behind you who now have to try to find a window to see the stage through this tangle of arms and phones in front of them. And it has to affect the band when they look out and see this sea of smartphones staring back at them. Plus, like I said, those people aren't clapping, so the audience response overall is less than it should be.
I saw a husband and wife who spent (from what I could tell) almost the entire show side-by-side not speaking or looking at each other but instead BOTH of them were shooting video the entire time. What kind of memories are you creating this way? Especially when you know you'll be able to get a professionally-shot record of the concert in a few months? Just take a couple static shots, put your phone away, and enjoy the show!
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