Friday, February 19, 2010

Santana

Last year we were discussion shows and concerts around Vegas, and B mentioned that she would like to see Santana. He regularly appears at the Joint at the Hard Rock, doing a two week run every few months. So I purchased some tickets for us and gave them to her for Christmas; we went to the show last Saturday. It was a very good performance - over two hours of steady sounds, I think my ears are still ringing from the volume. The concert was great - after forty years Carlos still can make his guitar sing.


The Joint is a large room built just for concerts. The lighting was great, and the sound system was one of the best I’ve heard. All the music was bright and clear (and loud). Santana is a marvelous performer; on stage were three drummers, a keyboard, two other guitars, two horns and two singers. It was a very energetic evening. We had not been to the Hard Rock since their big makeover last year. The casino itself is about a half mile east of the Strip and caters to a much younger crowd than the other big resorts. The place was a little slow when we got there before the concert, but when we left (after 11 on a Saturday night) it was packed, the music on the casino floor was fast and loud (most casinos do not have 'background' music playing), the tables were full and there were even a few pole dancers on platforms in the center of the main floor.


I first heard Santana way back when I was in the Navy stationed in central California. His Abraxas album had just come out, and along with albums from It’s a Beautiful Day and Cold Blood we would wear out the record players. The opening album songs were Oye Como Va and Black Magic Woman, which Santana also used to open this concert as well. Still good after 40 years, and probably one of a few performers that were at Woodstock still on stage. This video is a mix from different concerts, you can see how his group expanded (and his hair line receded), but his guitar playing continued to be great


It is not the kind of music that you can just sit in your seat and enjoy, especially not in a live setting


Carlos started his first band in 1966, and after thirty years of performing he still had a big hit in the late 90’s with Smooth


Several people have posted videos of his Hard Rock performances, this one seemed to have about the best sound and view. If your visit to Vegas overlaps one of his sets please think about putting it on your list of things to see. I always recommend a Cirque show when anyone comes to town, and for those of you wanting a little faster music than our other regulars such as Celene (coming back to Caesar’s next year), Cher, Donny and Marie or Barry Manilow see Santana. The average age at this concert reflected Santana's longevity: almost everyone had gray hair and I did not feel like the old fart in the room. Even if you get standing tickets in the side balconies (like where this vid was shot from)

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