Here’s a rare look at an event leading up to the 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honors tribute performances December 29 on CBS. All the Kennedy Center Honorees, including Carlos Santana, were received by President and Mrs. Obama at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Reception held in the White House East Room on December 8. The official White House website has the entire President’s speech released on video and in full transcript. Besides family members of the Honorees in attendance, were members of the nominating Artists Committee, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.
Obama’s opening statement laments, “I am a little disappointed that Carlos Santana wore one of his more conservative shirts this evening. Back in the day, you could see those things from space.” That got a lot of laughter from the audience. The first to be recognized from the President’s remarks is Martina Arroyo, followed by Herbie Hancock, and then it’s Carlos’ turn (Shirley MacLaine and Billy Joel followed later on). Once again President Obama had another humorous quip on Santana’s behalf regarding his performance at Woodstock, “Carlos was in such a -- shall we say -- altered state of mind that he remembers almost nothing about the other performers. He thought the neck of his guitar was an electric snake.” Carlos Santana not only got laughs from this conservative crowd, but a great deal of applause overall.