Sunday, May 19, 2024
Live EventsMain Page

Santana and Earth, Wind & Fire Thrilled Fans Friday in St. Louis

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

–by Randy Thompson and Vicki Lee

–photos by Sean Derrick

We entered the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday night expecting to hear two iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bands roll out their extensive lineup of hits. The audience certainly had their wishes fulfilled, but the unexpected gift of the evening was that both bands presented a larger, more compelling message of unity, compassion, and joy.

To start the evening, the audience was treated to the music of an iconic band that easily covers the realms of jazz, R&B, soul, funk, disco, pop, Latin and Afro-pop; enter the incomparable Earth, Wind and Fire.

Earth, Wind and Fire performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

This extraordinary group of musicians has been excelling in all of those genres since 1969 when I was 10 years old and my mother played their songs incessantly. Those are treasured memories for me and a similar connection surely existed for every member of the audience attending tonight.

Earth, Wind and Fire performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Starting the set with a rousing version of “Shining Star” the band whirled into action, playing one well known hit after another with the stunning force of a musical hurricane.  The crowd danced, sang and swayed in the humid night air. The band members were dancing, playing horns, played three separate drum sets, bongos, and tossed tambourines into the air while kicking cymbals on five foot tall stands. All while creating impeccable harmonies as a well synchronized unit, classics like “Celebrate” and “Serpentine Fire” filled the air.

Earth, Wind and Fire performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

At one point, the music was halted for Verdine White to ask the audience to hold up their lit phones in honor of those loved ones who had lost their lives in the pandemic. He added that we should all do our part to help create a peaceful and loving world in their honor. This served as prelude to the singing of the soulful memorial tune “Keep Your Head To The Sky”.

Earth, Wind and Fire performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Next they stopped to honor the three original band members dressed in stylish black and white outfits that set them apart from the newer band members:  Verdine White, (71), widely acknowledged as one of the greatest bass guitar players of all time; Phillip Bailey (71), lead singer, songwriter, and percussionist, known for his four octave vocal range and his distinctive falsetto; Ralph Johnson, (71), singer, songwriter, percussionist and producer. Newer members of the band were introduced and highlighted, see below.

Earth, Wind and Fire performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The band then finished their set with uplifting, rousing presentations of more hits like “Boogie Wonderland” and “September”, finishing with “In the Stone” to the cheers and applause of an elated crowd of fans, young and old.

Earth, Wind and Fire performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The Santana set opened with billowing clouds of smoke, scorching guitar riffs and pulsating beats. The audience became enlivened by the driving force of the drums as the band slipped into their first song of the evening, “Soul Sacrifice”, followed by the syncopating “Jin-go-lo-ba” and then sliding into powerful versions of “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman”. Carlos Santana was in top form, wearing his trademark fedora and Milagro, with a vivid multicolored T-shirt featuring an angel. As the music flowed from one well known hit into another, the screen behind them flashed fleeting images of a younger Carlos Santana and his band playing at Woodstock and many other venues over the last 56 years.

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

At one point, as he was jamming, he played a familiar tune on his guitar, then stopped to inquire if the audience recognized the sample that he was playing as the “St. Louis Blues”. He reminisced about his many personal connections to the St. Louis music scene including time spent with Chuck Berry and Miles Davis. He recalled Davis telling him firmly that whenever he came to St. Louis, he HAD to “play the motherfucking blues”.

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Following this, he spoke to the audience with deep sincerity, wanting to share a very important message. He stated that we are all infused out of the womb to create miracles, unity, and harmony for the good of all. He said that over his long career, he has taken inspiration from contemporaries such as Marley, Lennon, Coltrane, and of course Earth Wind and Fire to bring this message to the people, and to implore us all to serve as weapons of mass compassion.  Given the cheering, the crowd seemed to agree.

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Concluding his speech, he discussed his recent collaboration with Chris Stapleton on the new song, “Joy”, which the band joined in to play as a background screen depicted children of the world dancing together, and the crowd was on its feet again.

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

“Corazon espinado” was the last song played before they left the stage briefly, only to return with a lovely rendition of “Put Your Lights On”. At this point, the band exited the stage leaving only the drummer, Cindy Blackman who kicked out a ferocious extended drum solo bringing the crowd to its feet. During this time, Carlos stepped into the shadows to admire his wife’s skills, a smile on his face. He spoke about her devotion to the drums and the music as the band returned to the stage to be introduced, the list of the talented musicians will be provided below.

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The show concluded with “Smooth” and ended with the powerful medley “Roadhouse Blues”/ “Love, Peace and Happiness”, with the crowd dancing, cheering and waving as the lights came up.

Santana performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Looking back on the 5 hours of soulful music and searing guitars, one was left with the vision of performers that loved the music and their desire for it to bring us closer to unity and joy with each other.

Be sure to check out the full gallery of photos after the setlists below.

PERFORMERS

Earth, Wind & Fire

Philip Bailey

Verdine White

Ralph Johnson

David Whitworth

Philip Bailey, Jr.

Myron McKinley

John Paris

Morris O’Connor

Serg Dimitrijevic

 

PERFORMERS

Santana

Carlos Santana

Cindy Blackman Santana

Andy Vargas

Benny Rietveld

David K. Mathews

Karl Perazzo

Paoli Mejias

Ray Greene

Tommy Anthony

 

 

Earth, Wind & Fire Setlist

Shining Star

Let Your Feelings Show

Mighty, Mighty/Celebrate

Getaway

Serpentine Fire

Bass Solo

Sing a Song

Keep your Head to the Sky

Devotion

Reasons

That’s the Way of the World

After the Love has Gone

Rock That!

Fantasy

Boogie Wonderland

Let’s Groove

September

In the Stone

 

Santana Setlist

Soul Sacrifice

Jin-go-lo-ba

Evil Ways

Black Magic Woman

Oye Como Va

Hope you’re Feeling Better

Europa

Batukai No One to Depend On

St. Louis Blues

Joy

Move

Life is for Living

Maria Maria

Foo Foo

Corazon Espinado

 

Encore

Put Your Lights On

Toussaint L’Overture

Drum Solo

Hang em High

Smooth

Roadhouse Blues/Love, Peace & Happiness

One thought on “Santana and Earth, Wind & Fire Thrilled Fans Friday in St. Louis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *