Santana brings party to Peoria

Marlo Guetersloh
Carlos Santana plays Oct. 7 at the Peoria Civic Center.

It didn’t matter whether the lyrics Tony Lindsay and Andy Vargas sang were written in English or Spanish.

The audience of 3,300 on Oct. 7 at the Peoria Civic Center was there for the music’s energy, Latin-inspired beat and the wailing electric guitar that has been Carlos Santana’s signature for more than four decades.

Santana, dressed in black and wearing a black fedora, started the concert just after the scheduled start time of 8 p.m. with an up-tempo instrumental song that gave Santana a chance to play and even wander through guitar riffs that included George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Before he began, Santana wrapped a silver chain with a cross around the end of his guitar. The chain sparkled under the stage lights during the show.

Santana’s current 16-city tour promotes his new album “Corazon.” The tour wraps up later this month.

Less than 20 minutes into the music, Santana hit the crowd with his more popular standards, “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.”

The large video screen at the back of the stage showed old video footage of Santana from the 1960s and 1970s during “Oye Como Va.” During most of the songs, the screen showed different views of the performers.

The crowd gave Santana a standing ovation after he finished “Oye Como Va.”

Santana told the crowd he wanted to dedicate the concert to the late comedian Richard Pryor, a Peoria native.

“I want to dedicate this beautiful night, this whole beautiful night to a man who was born here,” Santana said referring to Pryor.

Santana also dedicated his concert to blues legend B.B. King, who fell ill Oct. 3. Santana called King his mentor and later in the concert told the story of when he went to a King concert in the 1960s at The Fillmore in San Francisco.

“It inspired me to stop washing dishes,” Santana said as he began his story. He described how the crowd gave King a standing ovation before King started playing. Santana told the crowd about how he remembers the tears coming down King’s face and all the diamonds King wore.

“And I said, ‘(Expletive)! God, that is what I want to do,” Santana said.

Throughout the night, Santana and the 10 musicians, including three drummers and two horn players backing him, kept the Latin beat going.

Throughout most of the concert, Santana performed songs from “Corazon” including “Saideira” and “Mal Bicho,” but he included material from previous albums such as “Just Feel Better” found on “Ultimate Santana.”   

“I want this to be a memorable experience,” Santana told the crowd before playing “Maria Maria” one of the songs from his 1999 “Supernatural” album.

During “Maria Maria,” Santana switched between his usual Paul Reed Smith guitar to one where he could show his flamenco-style of guitar playing.

In addition to sprinkling in Harrison, Santana included  a little of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” by Michael Jackson, “Get Ready” by The Temptations and “Tequila” by The Champs.

Santana ended the concert at about 10:10 p.m. with “Smooth,” another hit from “Supernatural.”

Santana and his band returned for a three-song encore and band member introductions that included guitarist Tommy Anthony performing and singing a little of “Roxanne” by The Police.

Before leaving the stage about 10:30 p.m., Santana said, “I wish you joy, health and peace of mind. “You have the choice to make every day the best day of your life, and I hope you will. I hope you will choose to make every day the best day.”