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Live Review: Santana + The Doobie Brothers - Vector Arena, Auckland (+ Photos)

Live Review: Santana + The Doobie Brothers - Vector Arena, Auckland (+ Photos)

By Fluffy / Wednesday 19th April, 2017 11:30AM

Ever lauded by my mum as her favourite Woodstock performer, Santana has received preference over the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin amongst the first influencers on my musical taste. A single word springs to mind at the prospect of combining the widely commended guitarist with The Doobie Brothers on stage for the evening: classic.

The Doobie Brothers did not take long to establish themselves as titans of old school, foot-tappin’, good time rock ‘n’ roll. The line up boasted founding members Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, as well as mainstay member John McFee and consisted of three guitarists, and an adept keyboardist and saxophonist. The air of the group onstage harked back to a very particular era of American rock 'n' roll, whose contrast to stripped back, modern day band arrangements was revitalising.

There was an endearing air of earnestness amongst the family crowd with three die-hard fans dancing ecstatically against the barrier without any trace of worldly care.

My inner genre-nerd’s impulses pricked up when the Brothers introduced one track as ‘post-psychedelic’. While what followed had more momentum of melody then other tunes I would use that term to describe, it did contain a variety of sonic textures complimenting drastic, abrupt changes of dynamics and arrangement. The spotlight-dotted keyboard solo was definitely a set highlight. It featured enticing ebb and flow between teasing tempo increases during honky-tonk chords to stellar, lightning paced lead runs.

By the second half of the set, the majority of revellers had forgone the comfort of their seats in favour of the surprisingly upbeat Tuesday night boogie as choppy guitar rhythms lead us into a brief foray into funk territory before delving firmly back into finger wagging, highway driving rock. To close proceedings the time-honoured rocker tropes of a four-man guitar line and shout outs to the Devil’s lettuce garnered roars from the crowd.

A brief but welcomed intermission gave way to an immense instrumental introduction, wherein new comers to the stage flexed their musical muscle. In his company, Carlos Santana had an immensely talented backing band, which included an incomparably tight rhythm section, complete with two immensely equipped drum kits and congas as well as two effortlessly soulful vocalists, who also took to brass and maracas when not belting out swoony tunes. The mammoth grooves laid down were nothing short of infectious in their Latin-fusion style.

Inter-song banter was charmingly delivered with a smooth manner of speech. The mention of ‘being a beam of light’ and leaving emotional baggage at the door in order to adequately celebrate being a human being definitely reminded me of conversations situated in the 60s.

At one point Mr Santana asked if the band was too loud, to which I sheepishly replied “a little bit”, with the weight of the pumping PA system starting to fatigue my ears. His most widely recognised track, 'Black Magic Woman' was played, blessedly before 11pm and received a flawlessly-timed full treatment of stage light emphasis. Beyond that, my eyelids began to droop and the long voyage home began with shredding solos and pumping rhythms still ringing in my ears.


Check out some epic photos of Santana and band in action below, courtesy of Amanda Ratcliffe...


Santana
Santana
Santana
Santana
Santana
Santana
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