My experience: Santana at FNB Stadium
Watching Santana made so much sense as drinking cold tequila and then eating the worm – not because it was gross, hell no – but because you were so transfixed on that man’s guitar that you did not even notice the worm. Let me tell you I’ve seen our country great guitar guys like Albert Frost, Dan “The Man” Patlansky and Aidan Martin but fuck-a-duck: Carlos Santana is the godfather.
Since my human and I only get to go the Johannesburg if we need to fly (to festivals like Up The Creek in the Western Cape) it was strange to see the rest of the city and traveling to Soweto for a change. I personally have never been to Soweto but my human has been. Personally what I have seen was probably the tourist side of it. We left sunny and stupid hot Nelspruit early morning on Saturday only to be met by cold, rainy and windy weather in Jozi. We had our emergency ponchos but no long sleeve shirts and thank goodness we had our scarves and beanies just randomly laying around. We’ve never been to the FNB stadium and it was an experience to get up close and personal with this infamous stadium.
We finally made it to the first check point at FNB stadium while it was lightly raining. There were vendors who were all selling the same things: boerewors rolls (heartburn in a bun), hamburgers (beefers galore), cold drinks (even while it was stupid cold) and beer (which was very welcome). Luckily the security also didn’t like getting wet so they let everyone pass the first check point. The next point to get into the venue itself we were stopped as some our traveling party had two packs of biltong. This was met with “I’m sorry sussie but you can’t bring those in. You have to eat it or throw it away”. So, we chomped down on biltong. That probably makes me a cannibal, right?
Finally we got past the not so serious security and into the stadium. First stop was the merchandise tent – R300 for a Santana shirt – Kinda pricey compared to the fake Santana hats which were selling for R 100 outside. We decided that we needed more money for booze though. We found our humble standing spot and faced the stage. The only problem with this was that both Santana and his band looked like ants from our spot. After a short wait in the beer queue we were back in our seats only to be frozen solid in the spot. I thought is was still summer in Johannesburg but apparently you guys had your first cold day. Finally mister legend himself, Johnny Clegg came onto the stage.
I overheard someone in the crowd saying “He (Johnny) is a good artist but all his music is the same”. Uhm who the hell are you and what are you doing at a live show? If you think that then fuck off, pure and simple. There are a lot of fans that will beat you with their knopkieries if you say that publicly. This is my 4th time watching Johnny Clegg and his band and I have no complaints. Other than the mic fucking out more than once he showed that he was a professional performer and did his trademark Zulu high kicks and played concertina better than any boere orkes out there. “Spirit of the great heart” will always be one of my human’s favorite songs as it was use for her favorite South African story – Jock of the Bushveld. I thought it was tears running down her face but it was actually her drink that spilled over her mouth.
After Johnny Clegg it was a short wait and a quick turn at the bar to refill and back to our cold seats. What I like about our traveling crowd was that the spark of the fun is a petite Portuguese lady and man she showed us how mamas are suppose to shake it. I didn’t know half the songs Santana performed but all I can tell you is that we stayed clued to the man guitar skills. His band had 2 drum sets, a percussionist on bongo drums that deserves a freaking Grammy, a great guitarist and his backup singers that also did most of the lead vocals.
“Black Magic Woman”, “Maria Maria” was two of the 3 hits I recognized, but I know that most of his 2 hour set was a life time performance. We danced our silly little heads off only to have the sour grapes behind us saying “We can’t see, can’t you sit down please?” Uhm what? You paid to be here so enjoy yourself or stay down and be cold. I’ve stopped caring what sour grapes do a long time ago though.
“Maria Maria” was really something to see, since Santana played both the Spanish and Electric guitar during the song. He had 30,000 people singing along to the song. When Santana mentioned that some of rich leaders like Richard Branson and so forth will help fight poverty by 2035 it was your problem if you did not believe it. I would like to see that, almost no poverty because that is one thing the rich don’t want to own.
I overheard in the sour grape line behind us “What language does he speak?” as Santana spoke mixing his Spanish and English, where the friend answers “I don’t know but I think it’s Mexican”. *Facepalm* What did they teach you guys at school? Another highlight was Johnny Clegg joining Santana for a song where he was on guitar and Johnny was on vocals. Santana’s African inspired music worked perfectly on the song and Johnny Clegg joined him later on again on backing vocals for a Spanish song. By the end of his show we were freezing and no amount of beer could warm us up anymore, so it was tequila or nothing. His encore lasted another 3 songs – I think he wanted to give as much as he could to his South African fans.
All in all Santana was fantastic live, a show well worth traveling to Gauteng and back within 24 hours for. Too bad it was the same weekend as Eminem, but also the cold rainy weather spoiled it a bit. If the show can be done over I would say they should put him in a theater-like venue where there are less people but more intimacy. This man showed us he is wise and for the hell of it I hope he gets everything he dearly wishes for. To end off this piece here are some inspiring words from Carlos Santana: “The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”
What did you think of Santana at FNB Stadium? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. If you’ve enjoyed my recap, feel free to share this article on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is Caring.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.