Friday, April 19, 2024

Review: In Vegas, Guitar Legend Carlos Santana Finishes Up Blazing Winter Residency, Will Return in May to Sold Out Run at House of Blues


All winter, the big noise coming out of Las Vegas has been U2 at the Sphere, and Adele at Caesar’s. But the real crowd pleaser has been rock legend Carlos Santana. Last week, the crowd was moving and grooving to Carlos Santana’s virtuoso guitar performance at his residency gig at Las Vegas’ “House of Blues.” Any time Santana is playing, you know there will be a cluster of super talented musicians–including his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana. 

Blackman, who has been married to Carlos since 2010, gave an extraordinary solo performance of her jazz rock drumming. She had a long resume before throwing in with Carlos, playing for years with Lenny Kravitz. But the magic between the couple is palpably, well “Smooth.”  

Although singer Rob Thomas wasn’t around to sing their hit, “Smooth” which became the No. 1 single of the 2000’s, Andy Vargas and Ray Greene sang many of Santana’s hits to perfection. Furthermore, Mana’s  Fher Olvera surprised the audience with an on-stage appearance causing many to jump up in delight. 

Among the hits played for the concert were “Maria, Maria,” “Supernatural Woman,” “Evil Ways,” and of course, “Oye Como Va.,”  

Benny Rietveld, Santana’s bass player, also did a solo that showed off his gifts. 

Other musicians included David K Matthews on keyboards, Karl Perazzo on percussion. 

Many in the audience had also watched the documentary “Carlos” before seeing the sold-out show. (It’s on Apple TV.) “I had no idea that his father was a musician too,” said one reveler. 

Carlos Santana also has a new single out called “Let the Guitar Play,” an apt title for this musician’s decades long journey entertaining so many and earning not only Grammys but the status of one of the best guitarists in the world. This new  song, he says, is inspired by his 2021 song “Song for Cindy.” He teamed up with producer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey) as well as DMC’s Daryl McDaniels who sings rap inspired lyrics over Santana’s guitar. Well, yes, Carlos Santana’s strumming makes “Supernatural” sounds that have become his signature. And it is why so many singers want to be with Carlos in every genre. He makes every sound better

The universality of music as a connector also is part of what inspires Santana, he says. “Now more than ever, it is essential that we heal life, people and the planet,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said. Well, his music both heals and inspires and makes you feel grateful and positive.  

His next Las Vegas gig is in May for his House of Blues shows so buy tickets to see one of the greatest guitarists of all time. 


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