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Carlos Santana at Houston Freedom Festival the First - Freedom Rocked

Updated on August 16, 2014

It was the first Freedom Festival ever in Houston, Texas. We were young and just married.  Burning up in the Texas heat on what promised to be a hundred degree day daunted us not.  

I loved it!

In the late 80's, Houston decided to put on one heck of a show.  

We had heard advertised Carlos Santana would be headlining so we geared up in swimsuits and shorts, grabbed Mr. Vix's little sister and headed out to the big city.

Come along to remember one hell of a party, some of the best live guitar I have ever heard and a firework show second to none over Buffalo Bayou in the big Texas sky.

It was so hot I thought I would die!

We got there around two or so I think.  Mr. Vix decided he wasn't getting trapped in traffic at the end of the night and insisted we park in a neighborhood he said was just a few blocks away.  Blocks my behind!  I know we walked at least two miles.

By the time we got there, his sister and I were so hot, grumpy doesn't begin to describe the mood. Once parked on the hill overlooking the stage, all our frustration quickly faded as the fun found us.  It was so wild. Some enterprising individual had found a way to rig up a water hose on the hill and made a DIY redneck mud slide.

He alternated hosing the slide and the crowd.  It was awesome.

Thousands of people milled about partying watching the more adventurous among us take turns trying to surf their way down on cardboard bits.  America's Funniest Home Videos would have loved it.  I must have seen over 25 wipe outs before evening arrived.

The Houston Pops opened.  To me, it was a very strange opener, classical orchestra followed by Santana but somehow it worked.  I suspect all the booze that flowed like the bayou had something to do with it. Folks were laid back, taking it all in and swaying with the music by droves.

When Santana came on the stage, the crowd exploded.  

I've been to many a concert but never have I seen a crowd go so insane, be so loud for so long upon seeing the star attraction.  The mania never slowed.  Carlos mesmerized Houston with some of the best live guitar magic I have ever heard.  I've seen Jimmy Page play, so that's really saying something.  I wish I could see Clapton.

From old classic to the then new music, Carlos managed to be smooth as silk yet exciting and riveting all at the same time while never missing a beat.  It was a feel good time for everyone.  Many a fight have I seen break out at jams, festivals and concerts, but not this one.  The crowd was almost bonded as one, everyone singing and swaying in harmony, celebrating our Independence Day.

The night ended in a star spangled fireworks display that lasted on and on.  

Texas cheered as loud as the Liberty Bell that night as the night sky was ripped apart.

Carlos Santana has been rocking America for decades.  The man played at Woodstock!  He hasn't lost a beat.  World renowned as one of "the" premier guitar geniuses of our time, he never disappoints. If you ever get the chance to see him live, I highly recommend it!  The annual Freedom Festival is a ton of fun too.

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The man has never recorded a bad song in his life.  

Musically fluent in two languages, Carlos made music that shaped America from the Civil Rights Movement through modern day.  Check it out.


Stellar sounds from the smoothest cat in the game, you won't want to turn this one down or off.


Enjoy some of the smoothest sounds around.

From the flower power decade that saw him jamming Woodstock to the new millennium, Carlos is still going strong.  

Background image credit; Poetvix

Have you heard him?  Seen him play?  Sound off.

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    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @Heidi Vincent: LOL, I think you're right. He most likely was born playing the guitar. Thanks bunches for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the tunes and God bless.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      Yes, I have heard Carlos Santana play but I haven't seen him play in person. He's great.. I think he was born playing the guitar :) I enjoyed the video you posted here. Great review!