After more than two years without concerts at Victoria’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, Live Nation brought back live music to the arena with guitar legend Carlos Santana and his Blessings and Miracles Tour Wednesday evening. It was the first concert at the venue since City and Colour performed on November 8, 2019.

The 74-year-old Santana performed a two-hour set with his 8-person band spanning about 22 songs. Despite having an emergency heart procedure last November and contracting COVID-19 in February, Santana looked to be in great health and played with energy through classics like ‘Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen’, various radio hits of his 1999 album ‘Supernatural’ and his current album ‘Blessing and Miracles’.

Much of Santana’s banter between songs had spiritual themes. Some footage shown on the stages video screen showed various religious imagery as well.

Doors for the show opened at 7pm with the show starting just after 8pm. Oddly, concession and beer sales were shut down by around 8:30 which seemed quite early.

Halfway through the show, Santana told the story of contacting Chris Stapleton to write a song with him and when asked what kind of music he wanted to do, Santana responded, “Like Bob Marley. I want to play mystical medicine music to heal a twisted crooked world infected with fear, darkness and ignorance.” The result was the ‘Blessings and Miracles’ single ‘Joy’.

He also mentioned “his brother” Eric Clapton a couple times during the show since the day of the concert was Clapton’s birthday.

“Him and I we share so many wonderful events, memories,” said Santana to the audience during one mention of Clapton. “Eric and I, we arrived at seeing that real musicians do not compete or compare. We compliment. We compliment one another because all of us need healing in one form or another. Everyone in here and everywhere in the world we need healing.”

Santana went on to say he gets moved thinking about Clapton and alluded to him going through some “rough stuff,” but said, “I salute, congratulate, validate and celebrate your spirit, your light and your soul” before beginning his performance or ‘Europa’.

During the final song of the main set ‘Foo Foo’ Santana’s two vocalists had the entire audience get on their feet and jumping. The majority of the audience remained standing for the duration of the encore.

A show highlight following the first song of the encore was drummer Cindy Blackman (who is also Santana’s wife) performing a four-minute drum solo.

Santana ended the show wishing the audience “Good health. Peace of mind. Enjoy.”

Setlist (based on a photo of the printed setlist)
1. Soul Sacrifice
2. Jingo
3. Evil Ways
4. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
5. Oye Coma Va
6. Samba Pa Ti
7. Everybody’s Everything
8. She’s Not There/Marbles/Turnaround
9. Game of Love
10. Joy
11. Move
12. Yaleo
13. Put Your Lights On
14. Corazon Espinado
15. Europa
16. Maria Maria
17. Foo Foo

18. Are You Ready People / Cindy’s drum solo
19. Smooth
20. Love, Peace & Happiness