Santana & Journey were Timeless at The Forum

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

On Sunday night, thousands of L.A. concertgoers were treated to a rare double billing of two rock titans: Santana and Journey. On any other night, each of these bands are headliners, but for this special night, they shared the stage and churned out hit after hit for nearly a combined four hours.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Carlos Santana and his band took the stage first and didn’t waste any time getting the crowd going. His signature brand of Latin-infused rock and blues had the crowd dancing from the front row to the last seat in the house. Playing fan favorites like “Maria Maria,” “Smooth,” and “Oye Como Va” really got the band going and it was evident that they were enjoying themselves as much as the audience. One special moment during Santana’s set was when Neal Schon came out and joined the band in playing “No One to Depend On.” The genuine happiness could be seen on the faces of Carlos and Neal as they traded licks on this classic song. Toward the end of the set, Carlos enlisted the help of a little boy to help him strum a few notes on his signature PRS guitar before ending the night with “Love, Peace and Happiness.”

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Shortly after 9pm, the house lights went dark at the “Fabulous” Forum and Journey started their show. For two hours, they played one memorable song after another while the sold out crowd eagerly sang along. Singer, Arnel Pineda, was dynamic all evening as he worked every part of the stage, connected with the fans, and was vocally impressive. Seeing Neal Schon dazzle with his fretboard fireworks was a highlight for me as a guitar player. His performance during “Lights” on a vintage Strat was notable, especially as nearly 20,00 fans lit up the venue with their phones. Other standouts from the night included “Open Arms,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin,’” which was their closing song.  

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Both Journey and Santana have an extensive list of notable, chart topping songs that have been the soundtrack to the lives of so many. This night was a celebration of music, their fans, and to the longevity of these two historic acts. These two bands will share the bill once more during Labor Day weekend in San Francisco along with Steve Miller and the Doobie Brothers. If you’re in the area, this is definitely a show you will not want to miss.

Santana

Santana @ The Forum

Journey

Journey @ The Forum

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Santana Delivers a Supernatural Performance in Vegas

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Carlos Santana and his band put on a spellbinding performance in front of a sold out crowd at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. For 2 hours, this musical legend took the captive audience through a journey of familiar hits that spawned over 4 decades. The energetic crowd fed off the energy from the band, and the band seemed to play even more inspired music as a result. Santana’s playing was expressive, passionate, and, at times, jaw dropping. Some standout songs from the night were “Jingo,” “Evil Ways,” and “Hope You’re Feeling Better,” which also had some teases of “Purple Haze” that Carlos worked into the solo.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Santana, a longtime PRS player, played an exquisite Singlecut model with a stellar red colored maple top. This was a custom built guitar for Carlos by Paul Reed Smith and I hope they decide to do a production model of this one. He also used a classic looking gold top Singlecut later on in the set, and that guitar was equally as nice. A key component of the Santana tone is the Mesa Boogie Mark I and that modest sized combo amp is a tone-lovers dream. The Santana sound is iconic, desirable, and comforts my soul.

It was impressive how tight and cohesive the band was musically, and how much they seemed to love playing this music. The joy in the faces of the band as they played was echoed throughout the crowd as they were smiling back. The music is a mixture of many styles including: Latin, Afro-Cuban, Jazz, and Rock and it all worked in an amazing musical stew that soothed the impassioned audience. 

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Carlos Santana’s residency at the House of Blues Mandalay Bay has a handful of dates in February before returning in May. Make every attempt to see this Supernatural Legend and be sure to wear some comfortable dancing shoes.

Photo: Steve Rose

Photo: Steve Rose

Carlos Santana

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