"Santana brought up the rear of this all-star cast and enchanted the audience with his unrivalled guitar virtuosity."
Adelaide was graced with a huge pre-Easter weekend: a double-header consisting of the showdown AFL match on Saturday night followed by Santana and The Doobie Brothers on Sunday.
Russell Morris warmed the crowd against the biting wind with his laid-back guitar picking. The faithful braved the smattering of rain to hear the anthem of noughties movie The Dish and Tourism WA theme The Real Thing, which was belted out by many an enthusiastic crowd member.
As the sky threatened to reopen up, The Doobie Brothers arrived. By this time the crowd had well and truly filled out and there was a buzz of excitement as the iconic troupe took the stage. Despite sporting jeans and runners, and resembling friendly neighbourhood dads, The Doobie Brothers faultlessly hit their harmonies and were perfectly complemented by Marc Russo's incredible saxophone.
An ever-changing amalgamation of musicians revolving around the stalwarts Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, The Doobie Brothers played a tight set as if their line-up hadn't changed in years. Their enthusiasm for playing to big crowds shone, and they were generous and eager to interact with diehard fans. The Doobie Brothers finished off with crowd favourite Listen To The Music to resounding applause.
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Santana brought up the rear of this all-star cast and enchanted the audience with his unrivalled guitar virtuosity. He managed to balance his well-known songs featuring sing-along vocals with instrumental tracks to keep the crowd engaged. Andy Vargas and Ray Greene brought excellent energy to the vocals of original Santana tracks and a heap of covers including Enya's Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) and The Police's Roxanne, which were perfectly pitched for this demographic.
Santana maintained his skill and flair on guitar while adding his raspy vocals to many of the tracks. When it was time for the encore one of three percussionists, Cindy Blackman, took the stage for an impressive six-minute drum solo that saw many of the older crowd members slip out to avoid the after-concert traffic. The band managed to rebuild the energy, following this solo up with Santana's most famous hit Smooth, which left the crowd more than satisfied.
Under the sweeping Moreton Bay figs of Botanic Park, Russell Morris, The Doobie Brothers and Santana put on an event not to be missed by any fan of nostalgic rock, and perfectly closed a huge weekend for Adelaide.