Saturday, August 15, 2015

Santana Brings Latin Flavor To Forest Hills Stadium

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

The legendary Carlos Santana made his way onto the iconic Forest Hills Stadium stage, donning a fedora hat, a black shirt, and white pants, and an approximate 10,000 concertgoers cheered. On August 14, as part of Santana’s Corazón tour, the venue was transformed into a large scale dance party under starlit skies, which was complemented by a multi-colored lighting spectacular which accentuated his audience. With a guitar in hand, he fused rock and Latin American music, and his sophisticated rhythms electrified the audience. His repertoire featured a mix of longtime favorites and new hits, which included “Oye Como Va,” “Smooth,” “Maria, Maria,” “Saideira,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Tequila,” “Jin-go-lo-ba,” and “Corazon Espinado.” 

Carlos Santana accompanied by Santana Band

Back in the 1970s, Santana called Queens home, and now his concert marked his first appearance in the borough. Another first is that “Corazón,” which was released in 2014, is an exclusively Latin album which merges diverse rhythms borrowing from cumbia, mambo, rock, and reggae, and the tracks are predominantly played by Latin artists. Concertgoer Cristina De Leon said, “I love how Santana can blend so many genres into his music, and his playing seems so effortless. I also love how he resonates with today’s artists.” She expressed much pride in introducing quality music to her daughter in an easily accessible and unique setting. “I wanted to give her the experience of seeing a living legend!”

Carlos Santana was born on July 20, 1947 in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico. He achieved 100 million record sales since the 1960s, is the recipient of ten Grammy awards and three Latin Grammy awards, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. “What is distinguishable is his ability to use his guitar as an extension of his soul, as if he is singing and speaking through it, and there are only a few artists who can master that,” said Forest Hills resident Nick Dell’Anno. He referenced Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour. “Santana transcends guitar playing into something much more primal and integral,” he continued.

Talent runs in Santana’s family. One of his concert’s many highlights was his 32 year-old son, Grammy winner Salvador Santana’s singing, rapping, and playing the keyboard for a few numbers from his album “Fantasy Reality,” set to be released this month. Santana gracefully referred to his son as “My teacher.” The Santana Band included vocalists Tony Lindsay and Andy Vargas, David K. Mathews on keyboard, Paoli Mejias on conga drum, and Jeff Cressman on trombone.

Pat Lannan displays his Santana collectible
Pat Lannan, an avid concertgoer at Forest Hills Stadium said, “I've never seen such an enthusiastic audience, where the whole audience was dancing throughout.” One of his favorite numbers was” Black Magic Woman,” which was made additionally memorable due to a chorus of concertgoers. Lannan marveled over how this concert was scheduled close to the eve of Woodstock's 46th anniversary, which Santana was a part of. “They sounded as exciting now, as they did back in 1969 at the Woodstock festival,” he said.

“Viva Santana!” said Nidia Menasche, who attended 14 Santana performances, which she views as an opportunity for quality family time. She explained, “His compassion for people, which shows as he plays his guitar is what makes Santana a true artist.” Then she commended him and his family for establishing The Milagro Foundation, which benefits underserved children worldwide by issuing grants to community tax-exempt organizations that assist children with health, education, and the arts. 

Alabama Shakes on September 19 will wrap up the summer of 2015 concert season, which featured notable artists such as The Who, Ed Sheeran, James Taylor, and The New York Pops with Sutton Foster and Pink Martini. Event Manager Brian Vinikoor stated in an interview, “Our goal for the summer of 2016 will be to continue to bring world class talent to Forest Hills and continue to enhance the fan experience.”

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