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From Woodstock to you: Guitar legend Carlos Santana bringing 'blessings and miracles' to Tulsa

From Woodstock to you: Guitar legend Carlos Santana bringing 'blessings and miracles' to Tulsa

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There’s a saying in sports: Game respects game.

Translated, great players respect great players.

The same is true in the music world.

The late, great Roy Clark, a Tulsa music artist whose skills with instruments earned him the name of “Superpicker,” was a fan of Carlos Santana, so says Clark’s longtime manager, Jim Halsey. The information was shared with Santana at the start of a phone interview.

“Really? Roy?” Santana said. “Oh, my God. I totally love him. He could play the guitar like an ultra wizard. I have seen him play the guitar with a beer can, and he made it sound heavenly.”

So, mutual respect?

“Oh, immensely,” Santana said. “He was giant, giant, giant.”

Ranked by Guitar World and Rolling Stone among the 20 greatest guitar players of all time, Santana is coming to Tulsa for an Oct. 1 performance at the Cove inside the River Spirit Casino Resort. It’s among stops on his “Blessings and Miracles Tour” and, speaking of blessings, it’s a blessing that a music artist who performed at Woodstock continues to entertain audiences 52 years later.

Santana was appreciative of the comment, but he said he doesn’t look at what he does from the point of show business and entertainment. He said he and his wife/drummer, Cindy, look at what they do as bathing people with light.

“Santana is always a band about energy and light and love and peace and all that,” he said. “Those things don’t get old for me at all. They become more vibrant — in fact, daily.”

Let’s hit some more Woodstock before moving to current events:

This is cart-before-the-horse wild, but Santana performed at Woodstock before releasing an album.

“The best thing I can say is God has always been my agent,” he said.

Surely there was no way to comprehend the significance of Woodstock while in that moment.

“Absolutely not, especially when you are high on the mind-altering consciousness thing,” he said.

Santana performed around 2 p.m. at Woodstock. He said he and band members stuck around until the wee hours of the morning to watch Sly and the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix.

“Sly Stone was the best,” Santana said. “Jimi Hendrix comes in second and we come in third. Everybody has to fight for third with Santana. Sly, they just tore it up even though it was 2 o’clock in the morning.”

Back to current events:

After a year and a half off because of the pandemic, Santana is back on the road.

“We became more focused on doing things in a more meaningful way,” he said of the time away from touring. “For us, (the time) was not wasted. Nothing was wasted. On the contrary. We invested even more in crystallizing intentions, motives and purpose.”

The “Blessings and Miracles Tour” got its name because, according to Santana, blessing and miracles are the components, ingredients and nutrients that create a “delicious” life.

“People say, well, angels cannot bless. Only God can bless,” he said. “I say, wait a minute. You bless a turkey on Thanksgiving. So why stop there. Keep blessing. Bless your way out of hell. So blessings and miracles to me are important. I constantly want to remind people to liberate yourself from thinking that you are not worthy and the world is infected with fear. Those are the two worst enemies for humanity, fear and lack of self-worth.”

A news release about the tour said Santana will perform songs from a 50-year career and introduce crowds to new songs on a “Blessings and Miracles” album. The first single, “Move,” will be a reteaming with Rob Thomas. They partnered on the blockbuster and Grammy-winning song “Smooth” in 1999.

In between now and the River Spirit Concert or the new album, you can get a Santana fix by listening to “Splendiferous Santana,” which became available online July 2 as a streaming product and playlist. The project is a compilation that showcases songs from his underappreciated but creatively fertile 2003-2019 body of work. A news release referred to some songs on “Splendiferous Santana” as hidden gems.

“They are great, happy songs,” he said. “For me it is always about uplifting people to give them hope and courage. Those are the wings that people need, hope and courage. The other wings are inspiration and aspiration. It’s important that humans validate their spirit so they can actually create miracles and blessings.”

Santana handpicked nine songs each from 2003’s “Shaman” and 2005’s “All That I Am,” six from 2014’s “Corazón” (including the “La Flaca” single featuring Juanes), three from 2007’s “Ultimate Santana,” two from 2019’s “Africa Speaks” (featuring vocalist Buika) and one from 2012’s “Shape Shifter.”

Is there any living artist Santana hasn’t collaborated with yet that he would like to enlist for a team-up? He mentioned Sting. Guests collaborators on “Splendiferous Santana” include Tina Turner, Plácido Domingo, Steven Tyler, Gloria Estefan, Ismaila and Touré Kunda,, Kirk Hammett, Samuel Rosa, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Macy Gray, Seal, Chad Kroeger, Sean Paul, Joss Stone, Anthony Hamilton, Musiq, Citizen Cope, Alejandro Lerner, Diego Torres, Romeo Santos and Bo Bice.

Interestingly, Santana albums charted well during the time period harvested for “Splendiferous Santana,” but the songs on those albums didn’t achieve the same level of engagement as songs on prior albums.

“I just believe that people didn’t visit them as well as they visited ‘Abraxas’ and ‘Supernatural,’” Santana said. “People really took those songs (from ‘Abraxas’ and ‘Santana’) to the living room with grandma and grandpa and mom and dad and the kids. I’m still hearing about it, all over the world, because Santana is an interplanetary, multi-dimensional citizen. I’m not a one-trick pony. I don’t belong to one nation. I’m more like the wind.”

Featured video:

Tulsa World's James Watts and Jimmie Tramel talk Carlos Santana, Grady Nichols, the debut novel by a Tulsa writer, Chamber Music Tulsa offering free Sunday Concerts and more.


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Scene Writer

I cover pop culture and work as a feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, I have written books about former OU coach Barry Switzer and former OSU coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389

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