Carlos Santana at Michigan Lottery Amphitheater

PhotoCred : Quinn Willoughby - Willoughby Photography

As I am standing here with camera in hand and in awe of the instruments I see on stage. I prepare as I always do to shoot the action of the Santana concert but something in me made me think about the article that I will ultimately write for Diezel magazine and what I will say. Instead of writing about the concert and posting animated photos that I have done so many times for so many bands before, I decided to make this article for the musicians. Carlos is a musician who creates beautiful riffs and melodies and I felt an article like this would give him the credit he deserves as an incredible musician more than a few more sweaty stage photographs would.

I remember songs like "Maria Maria," and "Smooth" with Rob Thomas growing up and how he captured my emotion with with his unmistakable melodic riffs that spoke to me much more than even the lyrics of the songs. Just the thought of the lyrical riffs with their penetrating, smooth, creamy tone coming from his custom and appropriately named "Santana" PRS Guitar brings out replays of the tone and licks which were burnt into my consciousness from the first time I ever heard them - for hours.

Try listening to the Smooth melodic Leads of Carlos Santana in "Smooth" without having it imprinted in your brain.

As a guitarist myself, I love the complexity of simplicity, if that makes any sense. It's like a single facial expression that changes the whole course of a conversation. This is what Carlos does with his tone, with his lyrical playing style and has done this since 1966 when Santana was formed. He creates a beautiful story with a minimalist approach. With a single note, he tells a beautiful story with his music. It takes a lot of true talent to do what he does. I compare it to a photograph versus a motion picture. If someone can take one photograph of a person and tell that person's whole life story in a single frame, imagine if what that same artist could do if they created a full motion picture. Carlos creates a full motion Pictures.

-Quinn Willoughby

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