Music fans were out in full force during the sold-out Carlos Santana concert Wednesday, July 12, at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in the Grand Center district of midtown St. Louis.

Energy was high as the crowd grooved with the legendary Latin-blues-rock fusion guitarist, who engaged the crowd, inviting “constructive craziness” and encouraging everyone to stand up and dance.

The show featured all the hits you’d expect — “Smooth,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways,” to name a few — and delivered them with flawless execution. Santana had a great backing band including several people on percussion, along with every other instrument you’d expect to hear during a classic rock concert.

A few songs into the show, I was swaying along happily when a woman sitting behind me politely asked if I would mind sitting down so her brother, who was “dying from liver cancer” and couldn’t stand up, could see the show. A little bummed at first — because really, who wants to sit down during an epic concert like this? — I set out to find a beverage and a new place to enjoy the show. I saw a few people dancing along the far edge of the theater and decided to join them. The ushers were gracious enough to let us dance there the remainder of the show as long as we didn’t get in the view of those sitting behind us, and we were happy to oblige. I met a few self-described “free spirits” who, like me, had no intention of sitting down as long as the show went on. We were all a little starstruck watching the man in action; he was even more talented than I had anticipated. Near the end of the night, one spectator told me, “We are so lucky to be here,” and I couldn’t have agreed more. The smile never left my face the whole show.

I particularly enjoyed the message Santana preached: “We are the weapons of mass compassion.” He spoke of how important it is to love another no matter how different we are, a message that seemed to resonate with the whole crowd.

Santana is one of those artists who just about everyone knows about; even if you think you don’t, I’d be willing to bet you’ve heard at least one of his songs at some point in your life. I grew up listening to these songs, and he has always had a special place in my heart, partially because of my mom’s “claim to fame:” Santana bought her a mai tai a long time ago (several decades) in a galaxy (California) far, far away. Overall, I had a wonderful night and am glad to cross one more name off my list of musicians to see before they stop touring. M