On location in Chicago—Carlos Santana’s music video, The Game of Love

On location in Chicago—Carlos Santana’s music video, The Game of Love

By Edith McCauley, Theater Critic

My friend, Julian, with a lifetime of experience in show business, convinced me last year to submit a head shot and resumé to his agent in Chicago. After several auditions, my moment arrived last Tuesday. A call from Duane informed us that auditions for Carlos Santana’s video were that afternoon. They wanted couples. Wednesday at five, another call… report at noon on Thursday.

The production took place in the Pilsen neighborhood on the west side. Filmed on the street, a beautiful old church decorated with colorful murals became the set for many of the shots. After a long wait, the filming began, the street crowded with lights, cameras, sound equipment, technicians, and a production crew. Our first day, 14 hours, began there and ended on the plaza next to the church, the band playing, the cast dancing, and confetti flying till two in the morning.

The entire experience could not have been more positive. Everyone from Carlos Santana to the person supplying us with bottled water gave us two days of excitement and the opportunity to become part of a project exemplifying Santana’s philosophy and dedication to his music.

The Game of Love, featuring Michelle Branch’s vocals, is based on the premise that the world is filled with those whose relationships endure in spite of the negativity thrust upon us daily. The cast included five-year-olds, seniors and every age group in between. As Michelle searched for love, we kissed at the bus stop, by the light post, in front of the bakery, and up and down the street.

Playing Friday at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Santana’s band ended a successful tour. The video, to be released in December, follows his newest CD, Shaman, coming out in October. Supernatural, released in 1999, brought Santana nine Grammy awards. After nearly 30 years, he was back. In an interview with Chicago Tribune Critic Greg Kot in the Friday, Aug. 23 issue, Santana said, “It was like winning the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and Wimbledon in the same year. And I did it without selling what ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, or any of the rappers are selling.”

Seated behind the percussionists for the Thursday night shoot, we found ourselves in the middle of the action. Santana interacted with everyone.

Completely unpretentious, his music represents perfectly a belief in positivity. One of the younger members of the cast asked him about his reaction to recent successes. He said, “Imagine a table in my home covered with a white cloth and decorated with flowers. I invite my friends. My music is a gift I share with the world.”

Explaining his concept for The Game of Love, he said, “Music videos represent a tiny segment of society, those between 16 and 20. You are the real people, and the world will see the love that exists between us.”

Two hundred people worked together for two long days. Santana’s spirituality permeated. We came away with the deepest respect for him, his music, and a hard-working, dedicated crew. Speaking with a long-time friend, he said, “Edith, you need to be more of a critic. You are too kind in your evaluations.”

Being a part of a music video only reinforces my understanding of artists and their complete dedication to their work. That will continue to influence my critiques.

Note: We may not make the editing cut.

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