Carlos is indisputably a terrific guitarist. His band has been carefully assembled and produces a big, slick sound. Adoring fans flock in their thousands, as in Dubai on Friday night, to watch them.
So why did I find myself leaving a concert at the interval for the first time in 20 years or more? Plainly put, because I couldn't face another half of the same.
Having recently devoted many words to a defence of a North-eastern band, Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, after they were subjected to absurdly insulting jibes at a folk music discussion forum, for no better reason than that they are not to everyone's taste, I refuse to perform a comparable hatchet job on Santana.
Indeed, I invite any of their admirers to put me right on my own misgivings. It is fair to say that I enjoyed snatches of the first set, while allowing myself the occasional glance at my watch as I tried to work out how much more there was likely to be before it would be over.
Luck was with me. Mme Salut felt broadly the same: good band, virtuoso playing, but little obvious showmanship so that a little, to use a phrase I first heard on the lips of my wise Belfast pal Neil Johnston, goes an awfully long way.
The last time we'd left a concert so early was in Hammersmith in the mid 1980s. Clannad were playing. They'd started as an upmarket traditional Irish band before being persuaded by a spot of chart success with the Harry's Game theme that they ought to reinvent themselves as a misty, peat-bog Donegal version of Fleetwood Mac.
While waiting for the concert to start, we'd been treated to the sublime sounds of the original Moving Hearts album. The main act simply couldn't, for us, follow the warmup.
The Santana concert was different. No one could have expected or hoped for much other than what they served up. It would be unfair to describe Carlos as a Richard Clayderman of the guitar. But when next morning, one of those great instrumental hits of his popped up as piped music in the brash Festival City mall, I suddenly felt reinforced in my own obscure musical allegiances.