Sunday, August 11, 2019
Santana's Set at Woodstock
New York Times – "How Santana Hallucinated Through One of Woodstock’s Best Sets (His Own)"
Q: I assume that in 1969, Jerry Garcia’s mescaline was pretty potent.
A: Oh, it was. I’d been dosed by them a year before. It took me two to three days to coordinate after that one. I’d been baptized into consciousness expanding, I’ll call it, so that didn’t scare me.
We knew already they had a reputation for dosing other bands and since we were opening for them in Las Vegas, I made sure to carefully wash this Coca-Cola can I was going to drink. But what I didn’t know is, they knew how to put a syringe in the soda can. So we played our set and left, and on the way from the airport to the plane, the hall kept getting longer and longer. The colors in the carpet and in the wall started oozing like lava. I said, “Uh oh, they got me.” When I sat down on the plane, I looked out the window as we were taking off, and the Vegas lights looked like Aztec hieroglyphics. [Laughs] I said, “This is going to be intense.”
Q: When you were onstage at Woodstock, were you hallucinating?
A: Oh totally. You can tell by my body language. I’m wrestling with the guitar — not wrestling in conflict, but like a surfer, wrestling to maintain and sustain a balance. That’s the key to everything in life. Whether you’re straight or on mescaline, maintain your composure and your balance.
Q: Who played the best sets at Woodstock, and where does Santana rate?
A: There was only three bands I recollect that were putting it all on the line. You’re playing like Buddy Rich or Miles Davis; you’re playing for your life. Sly and the Family Stone for me is No. 1. Jimi Hendrix is No. 2. Everybody else has to fight with us for No. 3.
What we brought was basically African rhythms and melody. After Woodstock, every band all of a sudden started getting congas. Miles had congas. The Rolling Stones had congas. Because they saw that mixing congas with guitars is a win-win situation — especially with women!