Rod Stewart and Santana at Xcel Energy Center, 8/10/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Joe Lemke
Rod Stewart and Santana
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Sunday, August 10, 2014

What do an English man and a Mexican man who have been making and performing hits since the beginning of time have in common? Well, as Carlos Santana so elegantly put it, "We both play black music for white people." As the weekend came to a close, Santana and Rod Stewart plowed through four hours of decades-old music to show St. Paul that carrying an AARP card doesn't mean you're too old for a rock show.
Photo by Joe Lemke
Photo by Joe Lemke
As the rain began to fall on an early August summer night, middle-aged men and women who teetered in on high heels -- some dressed to the nines and others casually attired -- hurried in to a huge production stage for Carlos Santana. The Latino musician was dressed in in black, including with his signature hat and mustache, but brightened up the room as his fingers danced along the strings for guitar solos on his version of "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen." Not really known for his singing, Carlos joined in on the chorus for his cover of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va," smiling the whole time to share what a good time he was having.

A prodigy himself, Santana knows to only play with the best performers in his nine-piece band -- which included three percussionists, two vocalists, a trumpeter and trombonist, keyboardist, bassist, and guitarist. The crew was so tight in their sound, they moved as one except during their solos. Santana has had fairly recent success with radio play for "Maria Maria" and his collaboration with Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas in "Smooth." His two vocalists, Tony Lindsay and Andy Vargas, filled in for Thomas on the latter, but gave it their own flavor. Yet they never quite mastered Rob's smooth -- so to speak -- delivery. Carlos later returned to the stage for a two-song encore that turned into a jam session/medley that included his guitarist's spot-on impression of Sting in "Roxanne."
Photo by Joe Lemke
If Carlos Santana was the extra-generous serving of an appetizer, Rod Stewart was the prime rib and potatoes. Dressed in a yellow jacket that stood out amongst his band -- although everyone in his band was good looking -- the 69-year-old came out voicing, "Good evening, my friends." Opening with "Infatuation," Stewart filled the evening with hit after hit, prancing around onstage and giving everyone a glimpse of yellow socks as bright as his jacket. While he's no Mick Jagger, Stewart has this charm about him, dancing as you would imagine your grandfather would.

Being as old as most grandfathers are doesn't stop him from having more kids. The performer shared that since the time he last visited the Twin Cities, his wife has had another kid, making that eight in total for his brood of children. He cheekily added, "That's why I gotta keep doing this [music] -- because I have so many kids."

Location Info


Xcel Energy Center

175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN

Category: Music

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