When Carlos Santana celebrated the release of his new album Guitar Heaven … The Greatest Guitar Classics of All on August 25 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with a special performance of his Joint residency Supernatural Santana, he did so with a little help from some friends. India.Arie, Chris Daughtry and Gavin Rossdale, each of whom collaborated with Santana on the new album, took turns singing with the 63-year-old rock legend in front of a packed house. Arie trained her powerful instrument on a beautiful version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” dedicated to the late George Harrison’s wife Olivia Harrison, who was in the audience. Daughtry took a turn on Def Leppard’s “Photograph” and Rossdale delivered what was undoubtedly the best guest vocal of the night on a Zombies’ cover of “She’s Not There,” bringing the crowd to its feet and leaving the Joint pulsing. Too bad it’s not on the CD.
But the most interesting collaboration of the evening wasn’t with one of Santana’s boldface guests. In fact, it wasn’t with a live performer at all. As Santana and his band played, a video screen behind them showed a young girl dancing onstage during what appeared to be a Santana concert and clutching something in her hand. Totally unexplained, the footage, which lasted the entire length of a song, was confusing, sweet and mesmerizing. So, who was Santana’s mystery girl? A mystery fan, it turns out. According to a Hard Rock spokesperson, someone from Santana management shot the footage during a concert in Lisbon years ago. Santana saw the girl dancing in the audience and spontaneously pulled her on stage to join the show. He even gave her his Sergio Bustamante silver necklace, which she held as she danced in front of the band. Years later, Santana is still performing. Wherever that woman is, I wonder if she knows she is too.