Tricia Lyman Takes You to Santana Concert

I have been anticipating this concert event for 3 months and it most certainly didn’t disappoint! But, then again, why would you even think it would when you’re going to see and hear Journey and Santana. How silly of a thought!

Tickets went on sale for this concert on December 12, 2014, which was the first day of the Puerto Vallarta Rock Fest that I wrote about in the Puerto Vallarta Daily News.  How apropos!  So I’ve been patiently waiting for this time to come.

The venue was changed from a stadium in Zapopan and held at the VFG Arena in Guadalajara after Counting Crows were dropped from the performance. I attended with my husband, Mike, and good friends from Bucerias, Jim & Tessa Armstead, plus almost 10,000 of our other “best friends” for the night.

Having gotten to the stadium to pick up our tickets from Will Call at 5:30pm, we were more than ready for the concert to begin. Finally, of course, after an hour and half delay, Journey took the stage at 8:30pm.

From the start, it was a magnificent performance with one song after the other for the next hour and half. Everyone on their feet swaying and singing along to their tunes like “Who’s Cryin’ Now”, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and “Open Arms” and on and on. Just fantastic! The lead singer since 2007, Arnel Pineda, makes this performance come alive. His energy and clarity of voice is a sweetness that touched my heart.

The energy that the original members still have to give it their all is absolutely incredible!  All I can say is that they have to be physically fit to keep performing at the tempo that they do. And, we are so much more enriched, as a result. Gracias, amigos!

And what fun at the finale of their performance.  Confetti shot out over the audience like snow raining from the heavens above. Everyone covered with white paper streamers and white paper squares. Made me feel so young again! A very happy moment enjoyed by a fantastic audience.

In 1973, the original members got together in SF primarily to be a backup group for established Bay Area artists. So on New Year’s Eve 1973 the band “Journey” made its first public appearance and in February, 1974, Columbia Records awarded them a recording contract.  Past Members have been Steve Perry, Gregg Rolie, George Tickner, Aynsley Dunbar, Robert Fleischman, Steve Smith, & Steve Augeri.

Current Members are Neal Schon – lead guitar, backing vocals (1973–present; Ross Valory – bass, backing vocals (1973–1985, 1995–present); Jonathan Cain – keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1980–present); Deen Castronovo – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1998–present); Arnel Pineda – lead vocals (2007–present)

After an incredible band shift tear down and setup, certainly with no wasted time, the lights dimmed again.  The stage was covered with 2 huge sets of drums and 2 percussion setups in the back of the stage and the keyboards and organ stage left leaving the center and stage right available for the rest – guitars, vocals, and horns.  Wow!!

I’m sure that Santana doesn’t need an introduction, especially since he was born on July 20, 1947 (age 67), Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico. He learned to play the violin at the age of 5 and the guitar at 8. Along with his family, he eventually moved to San Francisco where he graduated from high school in 1965. After choosing not to go to college even though he was accepted at three, he got his big break when a drunk Paul Butterfield couldn’t perform at a gig. An impromptu band was put together and Santana was asked to play. And, so the story goes, the rest is history and he never looked back.

The Santana Band was formed in SF in 1967 as the Carlos Santana Blues Band along with the help of Tom Fraser.  Carlos, Marcus Malone (percussion), Rod Harper (drums), David Brown (bass guitar) and Gregg Rolie (lead vocals & organ) were the first members.

Today the line up is Carlos Santana – guitars, vocals, percussion (1966–present); Benny Rietveld – bass (1990–92, 1997–present); Karl Perazzo – percussion (1991–present); Tony Lindsay – vocals (1991, 1995–2003, 2012–present); Andy Vargas – vocals (2000–present); Bill Ortiz – trumpet (2000–present); Jeff Cressman – trombone (2000–present); Tommy Anthony – guitars, vocals (2005–present); David K. Mathews – keyboards (2011–present); Paoli Mejías – percussion (2013–present); José “Pepe” Jimenez – drums (2014–present).

Gregg Rolie joined the lineup for quite the guest performance last night on organ/keyboard and vocals and was he ever magnificent!

So for the next 2 hours, we were entertained with the most incredible sensual and visual experience. Santana is a master at feeling the musical instruments that he plays. His face shows every emotion of every note. Simply amazing to watch and feel. Oh, and to see him in concert for the first time with a Latin audience. Well, OMG!!

Everyone in his band is a grand master and stands out on their own. But when Santana’s wife, Cindy Blackman-Santana, did her solo drum feature, the crowd was in awe! She simply is amazing. I love drummers but she is more. She gets to the heart and soul of her pieces. You go on the ride with her as she takes you up, down, into a frenzy of pulsating vibes that you feel through your feet on the floor up into your soul and out the top of your head to engulf you with her passion for what she does. Utterly phenomenal!

I must give a shout out to our host in Guadalajara, Joseph George Zookey, and his stunningly beautiful Casa Venezuela B&B in the heart of the city. I encourage anyone looking for a true Mexican atmosphere with gracious hosts and a breakfast feast like non other, then please treat yourself to this experience.

Tricia Lyman is an independent blogger and writer of Lyman’s Journey

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