@ Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, October 3 2010

From the moment this great concert started I was hooked.  I only knew a handful of Santana songs but the energy and the vibe was excellent.

The main man chose to play tracks which spanned his full career: the excellent Black Magic Woman, Jingo Lo Ba and the massive hit Smooth. Santana, dressed in a white waist coat, hat and pants looked relaxed and his band looked equally at home. It made for a heady night.

The night was a real musicians’ concert with Santana conducting the band at several points in the concert. Many times he tried to get the attention of another band mate so the could extend or shorten a section of the song.

You felt that there was real camaraderie between band mates, a lack of pretentiousness and a general good band feel. Indeed, the concert was slick but not choreographed – just a genuine show.

Santana’s band were fantastic – all 10 of them. So much so that each one of them you would have quite happily paid to see on their own.  Tony Lindsay and Andy Vargas on vocals were both amazing.  The horn section of Bill Ortiz and Jeff Cressman, percussion of Karl Perazzo and Paul Rekow were outstanding.

Keys by Dave K Matthews with Tommy Anthony Guitar/vocals and Benny Rietveld created a truly awesome lineup. And a special mention must go to Dennis Chambers – the drummer who, after two hours of playing, could still manage a drum solo which included doing a one handed drum roll. Very, very impressive.

And another mention goes to the guest female drummer who played one song and a solo. Both excellent. I missed her name but my friend said she was the next Mrs Santana which just added to the family feel of the night.

I have seen a few bands over the years and all too often they disappoint. But Santana – a true genius with a fantastic band – made for one of the best gigs I have seen for a while.

Adam Barnes