Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, with support from icons Earth, Wind & Fire, journeyed through Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday night to the Lakewood Amphitheatre for the latest stop on their Miraculous Supernatural Tour. Located just a few miles south of downtown Atlanta, this venue opened back in 1989 and has a posted capacity of nearly 19,000, which includes popular lawn seating that was pretty well utilized on Wednesday night given the pleasant evening temperatures here this time of year.
Starting the night off at approximately 7:15pm was the full-stage ensemble of Earth, Wind & Fire. It is almost hard to believe how decorated this act has become over the past 50 years, but with sales of over 90 million records, 6 Grammy awards, and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it is hard not to argue that EWF is one of the most influential bands of all time.
Opening their set with the popular 1975 single “Shining Star” from the That’s the Way of the World album, the crowd immediately jumped to their feet to begin their full evening of dancing. With an 18-song setlist covering their vast career, there was a song played that resonated for every type of EWF fan, from casual to avid. I may be more on the casual end of that spectrum, but I am also old enough to have distinct memories of cruising around with my father in his orange Volkswagen Thing with the sounds of “Let’s Groove” and “September” blaring through the radio during my childhood. The musicianship and stage presence was spot on, and there was no doubt the adoring crowd was pleased to take in an evening with EWF.
Earth, Wind & Fire
Philip Bailey – Vocals, Conga, Percussion, Kalimba
Verdine White – Bass, Percussion, Vocals
Ralph Johnson – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
B. David Whitworth – Percussion, Vocals
Myron McKinley – Keyboards
John Paris – Drums, Vocals
Philip Bailey, Jr. – Vocals, Percussion
Morris O’Connor – Guitar, Vocals
Serg Dimitrijevic – Guitar, Vocals
Gary Bias – Saxophone
Bobby Burns Jr. – Trumpet
Reggie Young – Trombone
1.) Shining Star
2.) Let Your Feelings Show
3.) Mighty Mighty / Celebrate
5.) Serpentine Fire
6.) Sing a Song
7.) Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles cover)
8.) Keep Your Head to the Sky
11.) That’s the Way of the World
12.) After the Love Has Gone (David Foster cover)
13.) Rock That!
15.) Boogie Wonderland
16.) Let’s Groove
18.) In the Stone
Following a fairly lengthy stage turnover of roughly 40 minutes, the 75-year-old Carlos Santana and his band took the stage at 9:00pm to “Soul Sacrifice,” the 1969 instrumental that has become synonymous with the Woodstock Festival. For many I spoke with around the venue during the break, catching the 10-time Grammy winning Santana live was a must-do, especially given his age and recent health scare during this tour (he had to postpone six shows back in June due to wellness concerns).
Similar to the reflection my fellow All Music Magazine contributor Alan Hess mentioned in his opening tour night review for Chula Vista, California, you do get a sense that you are watching living history perform before your eyes. Santana comes across as a humble maestro that simply commands everyone’s attention through his playing, although he does tend to turn his back to the crowd a lot, which was probably frustrating for the guitar aficionados in the audience that wanted to watch the magic of his fingers.
Like EWF, Santana delivered upon a long setlist (posted below) that spanned his decorated career, including many of the more mainstream radio hits like “Evil Ways,” “Black Magic Woman,” and “Oye como va.” Santana also took a poignant moment out before playing “(Da le) Yaleo” to give a semi-emotional plea that the world would be a better place if people would just turn in their guns for conga drums and start listening to each other again. It was a beautiful message. Jumping back into the music, I really enjoyed the Latin energy coming from the band’s lively rendition of their 2000 hit “Corazón Espinado” from the album, Supernatural, and their encore performance of the well-known song “Smooth” (video posted below).
The Miraculous Supernatural Tour wraps up in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday, August 27, but you can still catch Santana later this year when he begins his “Greatest Hits Live” Las Vegas residency at the House of Blues on September 14.
Carlos Santana Band
Carlos Santana – Guitar, Vocals
Tommy Anthony – Guitar, Vocals
Ray Greene – Vocals
David K. Mathews – Keyboards
Paoli Mejias – Percussion
Karl Perazzo – Percussion
Benny Rietveld – Bass
Cindy Blackman Santana – Drums
Andy Vargas – Vocals
1.) Soul Sacrifice
2.) Jin-go-lo-ba (Babatunde Olatunji cover)
3.) Evil Ways (Willie Bobo cover)
4.) Black Magic Woman (Fleetwood Mac cover)
5.) Gypsy Queen (Gábor Szabó cover)
6.) Oye como va (Tito Puente cover)
7.) Everybody’s Everything
8.) Toussaint L’Ouverture
9.) Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)
10.) (Da le) Yaleo
11.) Put Your Lights On
13.) Right On Be Free (The Voices of East Harlem cover)
14.) Life Is For Living
15.) Corazón Espinado
16.) Maria Maria
17.) Foo Foo
Follow Earth, Wind & Fire Online
Follow Santana Online