Santana Coasted Through a Three-Hour Cialis Commercial Last Night at Verizon Theatre

Carlos Santana, pictured in Houston last October, coasted on through Dallas last night
Carlos Santana, pictured in Houston last October, coasted on through Dallas last night
Marco Torres

Santana Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I sat through a nearly three-hour Cialis commercial at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie last night. You know exactly what I'm talking about, too. You're watching some sporting event or, in this case, a Santana concert, and out of nowhere you see an older couple smiling at each other in the crowd. The wife shakes her hips a certain way, the husband's eyes gleam, and a voice over tells you about how you still feel young at heart, and you should enjoy these moments together.

See also: In Praise of Carlos Santana, Rock 'N' Roll's Great Cultural Unifier In Defense of Rob Thomas

And then while it implies the two loving adults at the show are on a one way ticket to bone town it gives you a bunch of disclaimers about how you should make sure your heart is healthy enough for sex, and that if you have an erection for more than four hours you should consult your doctor. Except this was in person, and again for almost three hours, and there was no random game to save me from this.

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Listen, I know for a fact no one watching Santana was going to suffer from a four-hour erection, but given the median age of the crowd I'm more than a little worried about people's hearts being in the condition for what was going to go down after the show.

Carlos Santana is without a doubt the most successful Mexican musician on the planet, and I feel a tinge of guilt for being so utterly indifferent about watching his performance. I'm first generation; my father and his family immigrated here less than legally, worked as migrant workers and grew up in an environment similar to the one Santana experienced. My father and my uncles absolutely love Santana, as do most men of that generation. And while I enjoy his blending of musical styles, I can't get over his exhaustingly endless guitar wankery. It's like I'm letting my elders down.

But, Jesus was this concert a beating. Santana barely plays anything but random chords throughout his songs, he barely sings, and he lets his band take endless solos. And you know what? The crowd LOVED this. There were roughly 6,000 people who spent between $40-$150 eating all of this up. They loved every second of it, and there were so many seconds, seeing how each song felt like it went on for 30 minutes.

Did he play the hits? Of course he played the hits! Did he play things off a new album that no one has listened to? Of course he played things off a new album that no one has listened to! Did he play "Deep in the Heart of Texas?" Do you really need me to continue?

Towards the end of the show, you know after the random speeches of peace that you would expect from an ex-hippie who hit it big after playing Woodstock, and speeches about God you'd expect from someone who has lived through the decades with ALL of the drugs, I started to really think about what I was seeing.

I'm sitting there surrounded by 60-somethings and random high dudes jamming the eff out to Santana randomly playing Michael Jackson songs and I'm feeling guilty because I'm so bored I'm falling asleep. And there's Carlos, standing to the side while his four percussionists wail away on their sets, occasionally grabbing his guitar and jamming out.

I was looking at all the designs being used, the use of the word spirit, and how the ideas of mysticism and religion are so closely blended in Mexican culture. How many have a leg in both worlds, and try to reconcile the two. But, then something dawned on me: Santana is coasting like no other musician I've ever seen.

Standing on stage dressed in loose fitting white clothes, and wearing a dashing hat (most of the older gentlemen at the show were dressed this way, it's Tío-chic) he's just hanging out while everyone else does the heavy lifting. The dude is the most successful Mexican musician of all time, but he might also be the most successful guitar player of all time. The dude barely sang on any of his hit songs; hell, his biggest hit was written and sung by Rob Thomas.

Yet here he is doing the bare minimum to an almost sold out house, and people are loving it. Man, that's a good place to be at, all the other living guitar legends at least have to sing their songs, and Slash sure as hell isn't packing giant theaters. Santana won. It's all due to the extra lease on life his work got when hell opened up and "Smooth" crawled out. And you know what? My father and uncles probably love him for that, too.

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Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

1001 Performance Place
Grand Prairie, TX 75050

972-854-5111

www.verizontheatre.com


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