Voiceover by Lawrence Standifer Stevens
Written by Joseph E. Casanova
Carlos Santana is one of the biggest concert draws in San Antonio and Juanes is fast becoming one.
Rock’n’roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana has been a San Antonio concert staple for generations, no matter whether he and his band performed at the Convention Center, Sunken Gardens or the Alamodome.
I was able to photograph Santana in 1999 when he co-headlined a show at the ‘Dome with Mexican rockeros Maná. The bands closed the show with a rousing rendition of their Grammy winning “Corazon Espinado” (“Abused Heart”).
Colombian rock god Juanes didn’t grace the Alamo City until 2001 with his first stint at The Observatory Nightclub as part of the Watcha Tour, sharing the bill with notable alternative acts Molotov and Argentina’s Los Enanitos Verdes (The Green Dwarves).
Juanes, whose real name is Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez, exploded onto the Latin music scene that year with the politically-charged, anthemic debut "Fíjate Bien" ("Check Closely").
I caught the multi-Latin Grammy winner that night, as well as four more times with a return to the Observatory in ’03 and sold-out stops at the Municipal Auditorium in ’05 and the AT&T Center in ’08 and ’11. He also appeared last fall at the newly renovated Tobin Center.
However, the one performance I would have given anything to see live was the jam session he had with mentor and pal Carlos capping off the recent Billboard Latin Music Awards with a rousing medley beginning with the classic “Black Magic Woman”.
Juanes commanded lead vocal duties, then swapping guitar licks with the legendary axe-slinger. The medley also included verses from the superstar’s current ballad “Juntos” and the 2013 duet “La Flaca”, a track from Santana’s first-ever Spanish language album Corazón.
The hats the two wore on stage that night reminded me of the fedora I bought a few weeks ago. Of course, it was also from the Carlos Santana collection.
“Juntos” (“Together”) was the theme song for the Kevin Costner Disney film McFarland, USA released earlier this year while “La Flaca” was originally recorded in the 90’s by Spain rock band Jarabe de Palo.
Santana’s musical effort, also featuring incredible collaborations with pop icon Gloria Estefan, Bachata balladeer Romeo Santos and hip-hop superstar Pitbull, netted awards for Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year and Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, both Duo or Group.
Juanes also presented Santana with the Spirit of Hope Award for his work with the Milagro Foundation. He dedicated the accolade to his daughter Angelica Faith as well as noted labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.
In his acceptance speech, Santana invited everyone to change the world with our own light. Little does he realize, he’s been doing that for decades, one guitar riff at a time.