Carlos Santana opens new chapter in Las Vegas Strip residency

Updated January 23, 2019 - 3:03 pm

Carlos Santana is blessed with great musical sense.

He’s also experienced acute “spidey sense.”

It arrived from a book.

“The first book I read had pictures, because you couldn’t get me to read anything that didn’t have pictures,” Santana said Thursday during a visit to Spread The Word Nevada in Henderson, which provides books to at-risk kids in Southern Nevada. “I got into Spider-Man, because it had pictures and I began to utilize a different part of my brain — imagination.”

That seems Santana’s own adaptation of the super sensation owned by Spider-Man, the tingling sensation triggered by oncoming danger. Instead, the tingling is creativity.

“Books are about developing your imagination. It’s like a muscle, the more you read, the more you use your imagination and individuality,” he said. “That’s what gets robbed from kids. When stay with uniqueness, you can become like an Einstein or Da Vinci or Bob Marley or John Lennon. You are connected to everything, but there is no one like you.”

It’s been a busy stretch for Santana, back at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, where he has been resident rock headliner since the spring of 2012. Tuesday, Henderson Mayor Debra March presented the rock legend and his percussionist wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, a key to the city.

March announced the surprise honor during March’s State of the City address at Green Valley Ranch Ballroom. A capacity crowd of 1,000 turned out, and after the presentation, as reported by my colleague Blake Apgar, March said, “Well, that’s a hard act to follow.”

Santana is the first celeb or headliner so honored at a Henderson State of the City address. He was recognized for his See Something, Say Something, Do Something outreach campaign, along with his work with Habitat for Humanity.

Always. Santana continues to advance his philanthropic and artistic causes. In his HoB shows, Santana plans more African-influenced songs, selections from his latest EP, “In Search of Mona Lisa,” and some inventive mash-ups.

“We’ll have like a three-layer cake of Steely Dan, T-Rex and that song ‘Stuck in the Middle With You,’ ” Santana said. “We’re grabbing songs that have the same symmetry and creating something.”

I asked Santana, whose Vegas residency run started in 2009 at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, if he planned to see Lady Gaga at the Park Theater.

“I’d love to see her,” he said. “I know she puts on a great show. She can sing-sing, and she’s the real deal.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter,@JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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