Santana Live
D.G. Kaye,  Fun stuff,  Musical Concert Review,  Review

Sunday Review – An Evening with the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana

 

Welcome to my Sunday -normally a book review, but today a concert review. It’s been quite awhile since I went to a concert, but my cousin bought us tickets a few months ago for my recent June birthday to go see Carlos Santana on his 2019 tour stop in Toronto at the outdoor Budweiser stadium in downtown Toronto. The opening band was The Doobie Brothers! What a blast from the past!

 

Santana 2019 tour

 

 

This was the second time I’ve seen Santana in concert – the first time I saw him at our once famed Maple Leaf Gardens which was our main venue for concerts (and hockey of course!) back in the day over 30 years ago. And I can say with certainty that Carlos still holds the magic in his musical fingers because he could still make that guitar sing till it gave me goosebumps.

 

I was doubly excited to listen to both The Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Sure, I know many of the best musicians from my day are still touring around the world, even though some are now past their sell by date, but it appears that a full 16,000 capacity stadium didn’t let the decades past deter them or me from revisiting a nostalgic part of our past.

We first had to join one of the excruciatingly long lineups just to get in the grounds for security checks where we were body searched and bag searched. As much as I know of what this world has become, and there was none of this back in my days of concert going, it made me sad as I stood waiting my turn to enter as I remembered a time when we never gave a thought to guns and crime. I looked around at the crowd from boomers to aged seniors wanting to experience that musical experience once again that belonged to our youth. And I felt how much the world has changed since then. This concert was a welcomed step back in time, if only for a few hours.

The weather called for rain that evening, and it had rained on and off throughout the day. I packed an umbrella and plastic pouched raincoat to prepare for listening in the rain with no cover in the open air stadium. The tickets stated ‘rain or shine’ so there were no refunds. But the weather warnings didn’t seem to deter anyone. There was of course, no smoking – cigarettes or pot allowed in the stadium, which made me laugh as I thought about my old concert days long ago when marijuana was still considered illegal but there were plenty of dubes being smoked in the Gardens despite the law, with barely any consequence – it was expected – it was a concert after all! But if you stepped outside the Budweiser stadium there were designated smoking areas, which of course included marijuana smoking because it’s now legal in Canada. But even though it’s legal here, pot smokers still have to abide by cigarette smoker’s designated area laws.

I did have a chuckle at the ‘yellow shirts’ who were the concert security and couldn’t help but wonder about their training and how effective they could be should anything scary were to happen. I don’t think one of them were over the age of 18, and no threat to anyone. But I was happy to see a nice police presence because after all, sadly, nowhere is safe anymore.

I was happy I’d picked us up a couple of submarine sandwiches (mine gluten-free) for the long ride downtown to the concert as I knew we had no time to stop and eat, and I don’t like to take a gamble on finding anything decent to eat down there. That turned out to be a great idea after watching many grab themselves what looked like soggy reheated food when bringing it to their seats. And the prices were like being robbed! Truly, a can of beer cost $16.50!! Even if I liked beer, they’d never get that kind of ridiculous coin from me. I brought us water and snacks so we were self sufficient.

 

Budweiser Stage

 

At 7:15 the Doobie Brothers began their musical appearance. Our seats were not center stage and 3 sections back from the stage, but far from being called nosebleeds. We were strategically located for a quick exit, our seats were last row in our section with our seats in the middle of 2 aisles, which kind of felt like scoring the bonus seats on an airplane with no seats in front of us, but the people traffic up and down was annoying. We could hear perfectly and the 3 big screens gave us the closeups to watch the musicians make magic with their instruments. I have to be honest and say that their sound system didn’t get corrected till halfway through the session, and with only 3 of the original members in the band left, I did not get that ‘Doobie Brother’ feeling, leaving me feeling a sad loss for the good old days. It felt very ‘meh’ to me, after feeling the anticipated excitement of seeing them. And in case you’re wondering where they got their name from, it appears that while the band was still struggling to breakout, one of the member’s roommates at the time offered up the name to them because they smoked so many dubes, lol. Here’s a clip from their encore swan song – Blackwater.

 

 

We made our way outside for a break in between bands and alas the rain started pitter-pattering. I whipped out my umbrella as I looked at the grey threatening sky. Before I could fully open it, the drops stopped, and we were lucky a downpour never happened. We passed a merchandise booth and just beat a lineup and purchased our token Santana Tshirts for souvenirs and headed back to our seats.

Enter Carlos Santana, or should I say the sound of his singing guitar entered before the lights shone on the stage. I was transported back to the 80s with the rich sounds of Santana and his band. Although most of his original members are still part of his band, and they were damned good, it wouldn’t have mattered if there were new vocalists or not, as long as Carlos led with his magical music. As it turns out, his newer wife of the past 9 years is his drummer, and that girl can beat out on a drum, as you can hear in this clip of a solo session from her. Cindy (Blackwell) Santana drum solo.

 

 

I enjoyed the feeling of joy and happiness which seemed to emanate through the stadium as everyone probably revisited their own personal memories. In the old days we’d flick our lighters on for certain songs. Now it was flashlights turned on people’s phones as we waved them in the air to the rhythm of the music. It was just a beautiful thing. Carlos made a little speech about how he loves the warmth of Canadians who welcome him, and specifically to my city. It left me with a warm and fuzzy, patriotic feeling. Black Magic Woman video below, despite it marked ‘Europa’ because MERCURY gave me so much grief putting the videos together.

 

 

It was difficult to remain seated with all that hot Latin music playing, as most of the crowd remained on their feet dancing in their spots. The music took me back to some of my happiest days of my 20s, conjuring up memories of parties, nightclubs and a few sexy men I wondered about what had come of them. He played all my favorites, and I managed to video a few, particularly, Europa, which happens to be my favorite of favorites. It’s all about that long note played that makes the guitar sing at the verse change (located at 1 min and 48 seconds into the vid). I have a clip (with maybe a bit of commentation in the background from me) below.

 

 

I’ll share a another clip from the classics. Unfortunately, I wasn’t close enough to the stage to get primo pictures, and did try to aim my phone’s camera to the big screen to get some closeups of Carlos strumming his machine, but at least you can listen. And after all, it’s all about the songs, the mood they create, and the transporting us back to wonderful memories.

 

 

 

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

32 Comments

  • Pete Springer

    You never know what you’re going to get with some of these old school performers. Some are so past their prime, and yet others sound as good as they did back in the day. We went to one concert where the performer (I won’t name him) turned the microphone to the audience every time there was a high note. It was brutal. I always liked the sound of Santana.

    • dgkaye

      Lol Pete, I hear you. I’ve been to a few performances by some ‘past the sell date’ and notice that too – the struggle on the high notes. 🙂 Well Carlos can sure hit those notes on his guitar. 🙂

  • Hilary

    Hi Debby – so pleased you had such a fun time … even with the minor blips – we get older these things happen!! Glad there weren’t any problems that the yellow shirts had to deal with. Also so pleased it didn’t bucket – that storm clouds gets pretty heavy … so you had a good escape. Delighted you enjoyed yourselves, knew the best way to get round things eg with the sustenance for yourselves … I’m glad you went though and thanks for posting all the clips – cheers Hilary

  • Debbie D.

    Thanks for sharing your concert experience! (And persevering with the video issues.) Sounds like Santana is as good now as he ever was. 💖 Doobie Brothers are another fun blast from the past.

    We have been to this venue many times and agree about the food and outrageous prices! Yet, we partake, anyway. 😀 In my opinion, it’s gone downhill since Budweiser took over. It was nicer in its previous incarnation as the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Sadly, everything changes and not always for the better.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Deb. You are so right. It was much better as Molson Amphitheatre. With greed comes change that never benefits the citizen nowadays. But yes, Santana still has the ‘black’ magic. 🙂 x

  • Robbie Cheadle

    I enjoyed your post, Debby, and I’m glad the second band took you back in time. I never go to concerts of bands from my youth as I prefer to remember them as they were when I was 18. Clever you to take your own food and water but it did give me a giggle.

    • dgkaye

      Lol, thanks Robbie. I’m always prepared! And you’re so right, sometimes we should never go back. But I’d seen Santana over 30 years ago and he still has the magic – since he’s a musician and not a singer I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. 🙂

  • Sherri Matthews

    What a hoot, Deb! I love Santana but have never seen them live, I would have loved it too! Doobie Brothers too! Salutory, though, having to think of guns and mass shootings…went through my mind at Metallica recently. How can it not. A frightening sign of our times, tragically. But enough of all that. Wonderful, happy memories of all those good times and more to be made now…really enjoyed your post, thanks, Deb for a great Monday morning read, my friend 🙂 <3 xoxo

      • Sherri Matthews

        Aww thanks, Deb. And a happy week to you too…still keeping those seatbelts tightened! Unfortunately though, I’m still not getting notifications of your replies to my comments here via email even though I ticked all the boxes. But I do get notifications of your posts fine. Yet another gremlin on the prowl it seems 🙁 Sending love & hugs as always, my sweet friend 🙂 <3 xoxo

  • Pamela

    I think it’s quite telling that “our” music from decades ago is still popular with so many – young and old. This proves to me what GREAT music it was and is. You’re so lucky to experience this concert. A friend of mine (who was a neighbor when we lived in CA for almost 20 years) has worked for/with Carlos for many years with his non-profit organization http://milagrofoundation.org/ which helps underserved and vulnerable children. A giving and generous organization founded by the amazing Carlos.

    • dgkaye

      You are so right Pam – great music lives on. And after listening to Carlos speak a bit about the state of the world and humanity and his African project, it doesn’t surprise me he runs that nonprofit organization. Thanks for sharing this. <3

  • sally cronin

    Fabulous post Debby and thanks for the video clips. Sorry that the Doobies were a bit undermanned but sounds like Santana still has it mojo.. perhaps having a younger wife who plays the drums works the charm… did laugh about the joints in the smoking zone. I am sure it was more fun when it was illegal! You didn’t hear me say that! We went to see the Moody Blues on their comeback tour in Reno or Tahoe (memory gone) several years ago and being a smaller venue it worked better..but the years do tell without the infusion of younger members.. great job…♥♥

    • dgkaye

      I’m cracking up Sal!!! I think people were a lot more fearless back in the day when civilization was more civilized. And yes, there are just some things we shouldn’t go back to. <3 <3

  • Cynthia Reyes

    So happy to read about your concert adventures, D. I love music concerts with my favourite artists, but haven’t been to one in many years, so I lived a bit vicariously here. It does feel like “a beautiful thing”.

  • Liesbet

    Hi Debby! I’m glad you enjoyed the Santana concert so much and that the rain behaved. Being transported back in time by music and rekindling those memories is precious. Yes, the times have changed a lot. I’d rather see those lighters being waved above heads than phones, but… that’s technology. Like you, I always take my own drinks and food to concerts and festivals when possible. Thank you for the heart-felt concert review!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for taking the time to read and listen Liesbet. I’m with you on the lighters, lol. But hey, back in ‘the day’ almost everyone smoked, now many don’t smoke so I guess the lighter game faded, lol. 🙂 x

  • John Maberry

    Concerts are few and far between for us too these days. Sounds like a great time! Never seen either of these folks in concert. I think the last one we went to was a Tina Turner event. Of course we are fortunate to have a free blues festival every Memorial Day Weekend in Silver City. Not many really big names but lesser lights are very good too.

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