Carlos Santana unites Cincinnati with The Oneness Tour

Article Contributed by Michael Stegner | Published on Monday, July 8, 2024

Carlos Santana made a stop on The Oneness Tour on Friday, June 28, at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati. The evening kicked off with support from The Counting Crows.

Counting Crows | Riverbend Music Center

Santana | Riverbend Music Center

Santana, who has been a regular performer at the Cincinnati music venue since he first graced its stage in 1985, delivered an emotionally charged performance packed with his unique guitar style, chart-topping hits, lengthy solos, and a few deep cuts and covers.

Cindy Blackman Santana | Riverbend Music Center

The set began with a long and ponderous drum solo led by Carlos' wife and drummer, Cindy Blackman Santana, complemented by percussionists Karl Perazzo and Paoli Meias. Their solo soon gave way to the opening song and fan favorite, "Soul Sacrifice."

Santana | Cincinnati, OH

As the sun set and the crowd reached its peak size, the headliners continued with songs like "Open Invitation" and "Evil Ways," creating a beautiful soundtrack that matched the aesthetic of the hot summer evening.

Santana | Cincinnati, OH

Having remained seated through the beginning of the show, the energy of the music shifted when Carlos Santana eventually stood up and began moving around the stage, interacting even more with his fellow bandmates.

Carlos Santana | Cincinnati, OH

The diverse crowd reflected the far-reaching fanbase of Santana’s music, including families with young children, twenty-somethings, and many older fans who have been listening to Santana for decades. They all joined together that evening to enjoy the brilliant musicianship that Santana and his bandmates delivered.

Carlos Santana | Riverbend Music Center

In typical Santana fashion, he paused to address the crowd, speaking to them about love, light, spirituality, and, tying it all back to the theme of the tour, oneness.

Benny Rietveld | Cincinnati, OH

Other notable moments included a powerful bass solo from Benny Rietveld, which was as intense as it was groovy, and an improvised jam that broke out during their worldly rendition of War’s "Spill the Wine."

David K. Matthews | Riverbend Music Center

It would be an injustice to ignore the palpable piano skills of keyboardist David K. Matthews, who effortlessly wove his contributions into the songs with elegance.

Ray Greene on vocals - Riverbend Music Center

After several more songs, including "Put Your Lights On," "Maria Maria," and the final song of the set, "Foo Foo," the band left the stage to the sounds of a demanding crowd that had yet to hear the biggest hit of Santana’s career. After a brief backstage break, they returned and began playing "Are You Ready," a cover of The Chambers Brothers.

Carlos Santana | Riverbend Music Center

Finally, after many in the crowd had already cleared out, the remaining fans were rewarded with a spirited and uplifting version of Santana’s Grammy-winning hit, "Smooth."


  1. Soul Sacrifice
  2. Open Invitation
  3. Incident at Neshabur
  4. Evil Ways (Willie Bobo cover)
  5. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
  6. Oye Cómo Va (Tito Puente cover)
  7. Everybody's Everything
  8. Bass Solo (Benny Rietveld solo)
  9. Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)
  10. The Game of Love
  11. She's Not There (The Zombies cover)
  12. Spill the Wine (War cover) / Santana Jam
  13. (Da Le) Yaleo
  14. Put Your Lights On
  15. Jin-go-lo-ba (Babatunde Olatunji cover)
  16. Corazón Espinado
  17. Maria Maria
  18. Foo Foo


  1. Are You Ready (The Chambers Brothers cover)
  2. Smooth