Partial Santana reunion gets under way early: ‘We’re off to a good start’

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Santana has announced plans for reunion shows with original frontman Gregg Rolie — and there’s news for fans of Journey, too.

Rolie, fresh off another round of concerts with the long-running current edition of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, will join Carlos Santana for four dates in Mexico this month, Santana’s Facebook page reports. Those include stops at the Cumbre Tajin Festival in Monterrey, and — in an even more intriguing turn of events — two special co-headlining dates with Journey in Guadalajara and Mexico City.

That not only sets up a chance to Gregg Rolie to once again voice early Santana hits like “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways” and “Oye Como Va,” but also (fingers crossed, here) to sit in with his other former band to perform signature early Journey songs like “Feeling That Way/Anytime” and “Just the Same Way.” Then, there’s the chance that stalwart Journey leader Neal Schon will take part in some sort of partial reunion, as well. The announcement of the Mexico shows, in fact, features a photo of Santana, Rolie and Schon in the midst of a rare on-stage collaboration.

Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie both left the Santana band in 1972 to form Journey. Rolie had been with the group since inception, while Schon joined in 1971. They continued together in Journey until Rolie’s 1980 departure. More recently, Schon brokered a long-hoped-for reunion of the Santana band, which has returned to the studio with an eye toward releasing new music later this year.

“We got together and we rehearsed a few times,” Neal Schon told us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown, “and we wrote some material. We managed to get into the studio and lay, like, nine or ten ideas down. And — wow, we’re off to a good start. That’s all I can say. It’s smoking. It sounds like the old band.”

The original edition of Santana also included the late David Brown, Michael Shrieve, Jose “Chepito” Areas and Michael Carabello. Schon, a child prodigy, joined in time for 1971’s Santana III. The new album is rumored to be titled Santana IV.

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