LIVE: Carlos Santana’s 1001 Rainbows Tour at CMAC in Canandaigua

On the fresh summer evening of June 22nd, music lovers of all ages gathered at the enchanting Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) in Canandaigua to witness the legendary Carlos Santana in all his glory. As the sun dipped beyond the Finger Lake’s horizon, it pierced through an otherwise overcast sky, and Santana took the stage, opening with the electrifying Soul Sacrifice.

Santana, the master of his craft, showcased his virtuosity on the guitar. His notes seemed to resonate with divine energy, effortlessly weaving a tapestry of blues, jazz, rock, and Latin melodies that enchanted and invigorated the crowd. He graced all with an array of beloved songs from his vast catalog, each a testament to his enduring talent and unwavering spiritual passion.

The audience spanned generations, united by their love for Santana’s music. From the young fans discovering his timeless music for the first time to the seasoned aficionados who had followed his career for decades, every soul in attendance was soaking in the performance. It celebrated music’s power to unite people, transcending age, background, and differences, creating an atmosphere of unity and shared joy. 

What truly set this concert apart, however, was Carlos Santana’s profound connection with the crowd. Between songs, he spoke with words of comforting wisdom and spirituality, sharing glimpses of his own journey and the lessons he had learned along the way. 

“I’m very happy to be here,” Santana said. “I’m very happy to be on this planet because, like you, I’m here to make a difference.” He continued, “I don’t ‘get by.’ I get ‘through.’ The music is a connection. Like Eric Clapton and Jerry Garcia, all my brothers, we want the same thing. We want to elevate the consciousness of this planet. We want to be free. Free enough to believe and trust that we can make a difference. And you can make a difference because you’re priceless and precious.”

His voice resonated with sincerity and compassion, reminding us of the power of love, unity, and the indomitable spirit of the human soul. It was as if his words were an elixir, nourishing spirits and igniting a flame of hope within audience members. People stood and screamed back, “Amen!” To so many, this was church.

The music soared to new heights as the night progressed, and the magic intensified. Santana’s guitar solos were mesmerizing, note-for-note where you expected them to be, improvisationally genius at times, and as warm as ever. Surrounding the guitar, the rhythmic beats of the percussion section reverberated through the venue’s floor and the audience’s chests. Santana is backed up by a group of incredibly talented musicians and singers who skillfully elevate the powerful spectrum of the music and show energy and sonic brilliance.

Cindy Blackman led the beat on drums and gave a forceful and swinging performance all night, culminating in her drum solo during the encore, gluing the Santana classic “Toussaint L’Overture” with a cover of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.” Andy Vargas and Ray Greene share main vocal duties with a sheer range of notes and infectious spirit. When he wasn’t delivering them with words, Greene also belted out hard-hitting notes on the trombone. Benny Rietveld, who played on Miles Davis’ 1988 World Tour, kept the rhythm of passionate enthusiasm on bass as David K. Mathews kept the deep jazz influence of Santana’s music going on keys. Karl Perazzo and Paoli Mejias flushed the flare of the percussion out on second drums and congas, while Tommy Anthony backed in vocals and rhythm guitar. The fun they were all having Thursday night was obvious through their performances and spread from the stage up through to the lawn.

By the time the final notes echoed through the air, Carlos Santana had delivered a night of musical brilliance and touched souls with his words of wisdom and spirituality. It was a concert that reminded us of the healing power of music, the importance of unity, and the boundless capacity of the human spirit to rise.

“When you go home,” Carlos stated, “I want you to spread your wings and believe in your possibilities.”

In the end, Carlos Santana’s 1001 Rainbows Tour at CMAC, presented by Brooklyn Made Presents, was a transformative experience for many in the crowd. He created a sanctuary of love and inspiration, where the barriers that often separate people were dissolved, and everyone was united. As the crowd left the venue, they carried with them the warmth of his music, the wisdom of his words, and a renewed sense of energy and uplifted spirits.

Soul Sacrifice
Evil Ways
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
Oye Como Va
Everybody’s Everything
Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
Right On/Eleanor Rigby/Umi Says [Marvin Gaye/The Beatles/Mos Def medley]
(Da le) Yaleo
Put Your Lights On
Corazon Espinado
Maria Maria
Foo Foo

Toussaint L’Overture >
Drum solo >
Roadhouse Blues [The Doors cover]
Love, Peace and Happiness [The Chambers Brothers cover]

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