Concert Review – Santana/Doobie Brothers

Oddly, I actually got these tickets free. Xfinity sent me a note and said that “they miss me” (aww!) and wanted to offer me a couple of free tickets. I could pick from a list of available shows and fully expected a load of dross to choose from. Imagine my surprise when I saw Doobies and Santana together. I jumped all over that and (to my further surprise since she doesn’t go as often) my wife said she wanted to go.

So we went to Xfinity Center, previously known as Great Woods, Tweeter Center (remember Tweeter?), and Comcast Center. I personally won’t rest until every single fucking music venue in the country is named for some completely unrelated conglomerate. Xfinity (free tickets aside) is getting old. If we’re going to go corporate, let’s do it. How about Liquid Plumber Center or Charmin Center for the Performing Arts? Why not Depends Arena? (end of rant.)

Now, I think I was somewhat naive about the kind of free tickets Great Woods (see what I did there?) might offer. I’ve certainly been there before (Lynyrd Skynrd last year) and know the layout. But I was super disappointed to find that my tickets were not at the end of the enclosed shed but way out up by the freaking lawn. This was totally my mistake as perhaps wishful thinking made me think they were closer.

I will admit this put me into somewhat of a pissed-off funk. I couldn’t even take the edge off as I previously swore I would not pay Xfinity’s rip-off fee of $14+ for a beer no matter how they enticed me in there. (Security made me throw away a very small keychain can opener I’ve had since high school as it might be seen as a “dangerous weapon.”)

Well, given all that and my general grumpiness (exacerbated by an annoying email from a colleague), I did my best to enjoy this show. The good news is they had several monitors. The bad news is that the Doobies – who I’ve never seen before – had only a static view of the band the entire time. I don’t know why this is. Is there a fee they have to pay to get close-ups? I know that often opening bands get the short end of the stick from the headliner in terms of both sound and vision but this didn’t seem like something Carlos would allow.

In any event, the people a couple rows ahead of us had a hell of a time. They appeared to be three strangers (gal and two guys) who were just totally into it and danced up a storm. I actually had more fun watching them than the show. The Doobies are a realy good band and sounded top-notch. According to what I read of the setlist, they only did seven songs. Seemed like more than that to me.

But “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “China Grove,” “Black Water,” sure. All good stuff. My wife (who doesn’t really follow bands per se) know most of the tunes but wasn’t aware they were all Doobies. Here they are from Texas recently. (Tom Johnston needs to lose the wig).

After a break, Santana came on. Fortunately, my mood had improved and so had the visuals. We got gobs of close-ups. By close-up I don’t means guys’ fingers on their instruments. I play guitar and I’ve long since gotten over the “oh-geez, wow, look at how fast he plays” star-struck horseshit. I just want to see as if I was in the front row and – as you’ll see – the monitors acquitted quite well.

Since the show was only a few days after the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the show started with a video of the original band starting “Soul Sacrifice” at Woodstock and then segued into them playing it live. A nice hippie moment if ever there was one. And it went something like this:

After they played a few tunes, my wife – who plays no instrument but is fairly astute in these matters- noted what a leap upwards in musicianship Santana’s band was. And she was spot on. The Doobies are an excellent rock band and play their instruments quite well.

But Santana’s band just fucking blew them out of the water, one minute doing their Latin-rock stuff the next minute veering into Coltrane territory. And pulling it off extraordinarily well. Carlos’ wife Cindy Blackman-Santana is his drummer. Some commenter turned me onto her recently, and boy, she’s a force of nature.

Here’s the band doing “Smooth” from that night. Despite that haters who think this song is too commercial (or something), I personally think it’s one of the best songs he ever did. Period. End of story.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Hmm, did the Doobies and Santana play together?” Yes, indeed. Oddly, they didn’t save it for the encore but performed “Some Kind of Wonderful” six songs in. Odd. Maybe the Doobies wanted to relax and smoke a doobie, I don’t know. I sure could have used one. (They ended our version with a Boston favorite I also heard Steely Dan do, “Dirty Water.” This song gets played after Red Sox games after every win. It hasn’t been played a lot this year.)

This was the third time we’ve seen Santana. The first time – literally 20 or so years ago at the same venue – it got so cold we left mid-show. The last time was a few years ago at a different outdoor venue. Good show but Carlos was buried in the mix. This show got it just right and so yes, sometimes third time is a charm.

I’ll leave you here with virtually the entire show from Indiana about a week or two before we saw it. (At the Ruoff Home Mortage Center formerly Deer Creek Center. I rest my case. Even the person who filmed the entire thing from the monitors couldn’t deal with the name.)

If you’re a Santana fan, you owe it to yourself to watch great gobs of this video if not the whole thing. I’ll let you decide if the occasional rapping by Santana’s son works. For me, it’s a mixed bag. For the record, despite Carlos having a new album, he did precious little from it.

And despite all my griping, thank you Xfinity Center for the freebies.


Woodstock Intro
Soul Sacrifice
Evil Ways / A Love Supreme
(Da Le) Yaleo
Put Your Lights On
Some Kind of Wonderful / The Way You Make Me Feel / Dirty Water
(With The Doobie Brothers)
Everybody’s Everything
Breaking Down the Door
Lamento / Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
Oye Como VA
Samba Pa Ti
Salvador Santana piano Solo
Hope You’re Feeling Better
Total Destruction to Your Mind
Corazón Espinado
Maria Maria
Foo Foo


Sentient Sphere
Get Together
(Youngbloods cover)

23 thoughts on “Concert Review – Santana/Doobie Brothers

  1. Sounds to me like a pretty enjoyable show overall. Hey, you can’t beat free, especially when it comes to top-notch acts like The Doobies and Santana who are still compelling to see.

    I’ve seen the Doobies twice, most recently last year. On both occasions, I thought they still sounded great, both the three-part harmony vocals and the music.

    I’ve also seen Santana twice. The last time was about three years ago when he was touring with the members of the classic Santana band he had brought back together to record Santana IV.

    During that gig, they were also playing music from their Woodstock gig, with a huge monitor in the back of the stage switching back and forth between historical footage and the present day band on stage. I thought it was neatly done, and they still sounded fantastic.

    I’m definitely planning to watch the long Santana clip as well. Last but not least, I agree Cindy Blackman Santana is one heck of a drummer. She got on my radar screen a couple of years ago when I saw live footage of her playing with Lenny Kravitz. She was kicking ass!


    1. Definitely check out the video. It’s higher quality than you or I are usually capable of and it’s right off the fucking monitor. You’ll feel like you were there.

      BTW, I don’t know if you saw the exchange (I pulled it) but I just kicked some douchebag troll off my site. I’ve been watching him since he came on board ‘coz he’s a smartass know-it-all. Doesn’t even have his own site, just goes to others’ to cause trouble. Says “rock is dead,” disses the show and yet subscribes to a blog that is 90% rock. Also jumps on my shit about some personal stuff I said. I have zero time for those guys and I don’t suffer fools gladly. Or at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will check out the video for sure.

        And, yes, I suppose some people can be annoying. Fortunately, I think I only resorted once or twice to blocking such folks since I started the blog some three years ago. Don’t let it bother you. Life’s too short!


    1. I am actually trying to get off that train as you would call it. I could not miss Squeeze and Santana was a freebie. The problem, of course, is this:

      I want to take a break. But with Steely Dan playing for five nights in October, well, that’s tempting. I’ll tell you about the troll through back channels.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Don’t confuse “outgoing” with somebody who likes to go out. I’m not a gregarious guy but then not unfriendly. But there are guys I go out with who socialize with every person in the place, male or female. Mixed bag for me.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I just meant “outgoing” out of the house type “outgoing”. Like going outside. You get it? Yeah “somebody who likes to go out”.
          I like that Doobie cut, is it called ‘Takin it To The Street”?


        3. I totally get it. But down here, outgoing means super-friendly which (minus hockey players) you guys already are. The Doobies cut is “Long Train Runnin'” a perennial staple of classic rock radio.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Yup, up in Canada it’s like one big rerun of Happy days.
          I know that Doobie song I like MacDonald’s vocals and the groove and lyrics of the “Street’ song.
          When I hear that early Santana ‘Soul Sacrifice’ I remember how special that band was. I also like lots of his later recordings. Didn’t he do some JAZZ leanings in his day? Yeah he did. CB might have a Santana cut coming up.


        5. Yeah he did a fair amount back in the day, especially ’70’s when fusion was the thing. If you check out the full concert I posted, somewhere around 9:10 he segues from “Evil Ways” to Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” I don’t know how many people in the audience recognize Coltrane anymore.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. PS. You may find it interesting that a local theater is doing a performance of “Sunset Boulevard.” Based on the movie of course and Glenn Close originated it in the theater. It’s a musical and I’m not sure what CB thinks of those but I fucking love them. We’ll probably go see that.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Yeah, William Holden right? He’s in Stalag 17, one of my favorites. As to the play, if you don’t dig musicals, it’s probably not gonna happen for ya. I remember once on the TV sitcom “Family Ties,” your guy Michael J. Fox bitched when his parents took him to see “A Hard Day’s Night.” Said every time the story got going they broke out in song.

          Liked by 1 person

        8. You’re taking me down a different rabbit hole than Carlos. I can’t imagine Holden busting out in song. My musical films are a little light. There are a few. Holden was great in ’17’.


  2. Saw Santana back in the 80s with Alphonso Johnsonon bass….just unbelievable. Got a kick out of watching the Woodstock film and seeing Michael Shrieve as a youngun.


    1. Interestingly, I once saw Shrieve in London back in the day in a band called Automatic Man. He was playing in a small club. Great drummer. If you catch any of the full video, you will find that Cindy Blackman-Santana is a worthy successor. An absolute force of nature.


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