Santana kicks of the next leg of his Las Vegas residency on Halloween night
Carlos Santana has been doing his residency at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on and off since 2012, and it is clear he still packs in an amazing crowd. It is Halloween night and the next block of shows is starting. The crowd is a mix of people in costume and hard core fans, but it is clear they are all here to enjoy the night. Shortly after 8:00 the band takes the stage. Colorful lights and the back drop are offset by the band all in white, there is incense smoldering on the stage and Carlos is in the center. The night opens with “Soul Sacrifice” and you are immediately impressed with the band. There are three percussionists, a full band, and two singers who all deliver the music flawlessly. This is expected from a musician the caliber of Carlos Santana, but it is still shocking when you realize just how good they are. At the beginning of the night, Carlos takes the time to talk to the crowd and explain that he wants them to enjoy themselves and experience something real since Las Vegas is all an illusion. This is not a slight on Las Vegas as he explains he lives here, it comes across more as a call to action to the people in attendance to stop and enjoy the experience and maybe even put down your cell phones to live in the moment. This is good advice that many in the crowd heed.
There are the expected Santana songs like “Mona Lisa” and “Maria Maria,” but part of what makes this band unique is that many of the songs they do are covers like “Love Supreme.” The way they put together these performances makes people forget they are not Santana originals because they have arranged them in such a way as they own them and it could be argued that these covers are better then the original. Other covers include “Jin-go-lo-ba,” and “Evil Ways.” When the first notes of “Black Magic Woman,” a Fleetwood Mac cover, begins many in the crowd take out their phones to record. This song mesmerizes the crowd. The performance is a standout which transitions into “Gypsy Queen.” These two songs blend so seamlessly that it is hard to believe they aren’t one epic song.
The two vocalist, combined with Carlos, deliver a powerful melody that blends perfectly with the music which of course is delivered with precision. You can tell the band feels the music note for note and lives for the performance. The feeling infects the crowd as they sing and sway along to the music. There are breakdowns highlighting each performer, it is amazing to watch how this all blends together and the complexity involved especially when it comes to the three percussionists. Overall it is hard to imagine the technical ability and precision it takes to put on a show like this.
The encore features “Smooth” which is the most recent commercial song by Santana and this is another opportunity many in the crowd do not want to miss the chance to record. It is an excellent version. After four songs, the encore is over and so is the night. It is easy to see why this residency has been going so long and will continue probably for as long as Santana wants it to.
Event Date: 31-OCT-2018