On this date in history, 8/23/1995, I saw not one, but TWO living legends of the guitar, as Jeff Beck and Santana converged on Deer Creek to conduct a seminar on how to make musical magic on six strings.
Keb ‘Mo was the opening act, but I arrived too late to hear his blues drenched set. What I heard on my way in sounded fantastic, and I hope to get a chance to see him in concert and enjoy an entire set sometime in the future.
Santana (the band) and Carlos Santana (the guitar maestro) in particular, were just incredible. They had the crowd singing, dancing, and just basically soaking in the joy of some exquisite earthy and soulful Latin American rhythm based magic.
Carlos has the tone of the gods in his fingers and his sound is instantly recognizable. This was a few years before his mass success with his comeback album, Supernatural.
To those of us who had known all along that Carlos was always supernaturally gifted, this was just more living proof. As much as I love all things Santana, I was there primarily to see Jeff Beck, my favorite living guitarist, and I was not disappointed. With one of the best drummers on the planet, Terry Bozzio, and an incredible bass player, Pino Palladino, Mr. Beck explored tones and sounds that are simply out of this world.
Jeff doesn’t use many effects, and doesn’t even use a pick, but he certainly knows how to make his guitar speak in multiple languages of the heart and soul.
I will say that Santana had the better crowd response, due to the fact that his band had vocals, whereas Beck just featured instrumental music. At the end of the day, I was in guitar heaven, having seen and heard two ultimate masters of the guitar, my chosen instrument. Inspiration flows from this concert in my veins to this day, all these years later.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic