Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana recently signed on with the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for a two-year residency at the casino’s House of Blues that will include 80 shows per year. Santana spoke with the L.A. Times about the run, which will feature performances billed as “Greatest Hits Live: Santana – Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today” and shared insight about how the shows will be structured.
The 64-year-old axeman told the Times that he plans to “create some experimentation” by stepping into the “unknown” during a setlist-less mid-show segment for which he will call upon some friends. “To me, the unknown is inviting African musicians to join us, or Buddy Guy or Derek Trucks or Ben Harper, people from Phish, Warren Haynes — that’s what ‘Tomorrow’ is bringing to the House of Blues.” Phish opened for Santana during the Summer of 1992 and again for a swing through Europe in 1996.
“I call it a living laboratory,” he said. “We play the beginning [of a set] and we play the end, but in the middle, we’re going to create some experimentation so you can witness a backward flip into the unknown. In other words, there’s no set list in the middle. We will create something so you can just close your eyes and go on a journey with us.”
This isn’t Santana’s first foray into the world of Vegas shows as he finished a two-year run of shows referred to as “Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through The Hits” this past November at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s The Joint. Las Vegas’s House of Blues, with a capacity of 1,500, is much smaller than The Joint, which holds 4,000. Carlos tells the Times he looks forward to staying put in Vegas and aims to return to the studio for a grand total of three albums.
As you can imagine, tickets won’t be cheap. Members of Santana’s fan club will be able to purchase tickets for $172.50 a pop through the fan club’s website. Tickets for the first batch of shows, which kicks off on May 2, go on sale through the fan club this Monday, February 27, at 10AM PST.