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In the air: Blackman Santana’s ‘MNF’ collab is back next year

Cindy Blackman Santana had just finished a ferocious, five-minute drum solo when her husband provided some color commentary.

“She is able to play like that because of discipline, dedication, devotion and diet,” Carlos Santana said. “If some man tried to play like that, he’d (expletive) collapse.”

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Blackman Santana provides the percussive undercurrent to the Santana rock show at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. The band re-launched its residency Wednesday night, continuing through Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Feb. 3-4.

Blackman Santana’s artistic tenacity inspired the inspired collaboration with Chris Stapleton and Snoop Dogg on Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” The remake of Collins’ 1981 hit was played prior to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” telecasts.

Stapleton’s involvement wasn’t entirely random. The country superstar was featured on “Joy” on Santana’s latest album, “Blessings and Miracles.”

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The project is more more than a one-season wonder. “It will continue next season, which is great,” Blackman Santana said. The video is an effective counter to Carrie Underwood’s “Are You Ready For Some Football” on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

The Santanas have twice played at Raiders games at Allegiant Stadium, at halftime and performing the national anthem. But the ESPN opportunity came about unexpectedly.

“Chris Stapleton gave me a call, and he said he thought it would be a really cool idea if if he Snoop and myself would do something together,” Blackman Santana said. “The people from ESPN, they were all over it. They were really into it.”

The video is played out for this season, but still streams on YouTube. The clip shows Stapleton, attired essentially in his cowboy togs, sauntering into an unidentified stadium. Snoop Dogg, in sweats, cruises in a convertible Chevy Impala low rider.

Blackman Santana, meantime, beats the crud out of the skins in Collins’ iconic drum fill.

“It was such a fun project, and the producers of the video were just incredible,” Santana Blackman said. The 64-year-old rock and jazz artist told the crew her favorite video director is Mark Romanek, who directed Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” video in 1993, Santana Blackman’s first video in her days with Kravitz’s band.

“At the end of the ‘Monday Night Football’ video, I said to them, ‘Guys, from the setup of this video, from the way that you ran everything, the positioning of the cameras, this whole vibration, completely reminds me of Mark Romanek,’” Santana Blackman said. “They said, ‘Are you kidding? He’s our hero.’ So it was pretty much a win win for everybody.”

Blackman Santana was featured prominently, as expected, in the documentary “Carlos” released last fall. She found the family footage of Santana with his violinist father, Jose, especially moving.

“It was a beautiful experience, because that connection is really, really amazing,” Blackman Santana said. “Carlos’ sound is so different from every other guitar player. It is so poignant. And when I see his father, a violinist who had Carlos playing violin as his first instrument, it really brings it back to how he developed that sound. It’s so different from any other guitar player.”

Both Santanas are recording this year. Carlos is working on a yet-untitled album this year. Blackman Santana is recording a follow-up to her most recent album, 2020’s “Give The Drummer Some.”

“We’re still setting things up, getting schedules together with musicians, but I’m looking to record again this March,” Blackman Santana said. “We are looking forward to the new songs, and the new energy of this year.”

Pat’s back

Former Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson is refocusing his efforts in the Vegas live-entertainment community.

Christenson has launched P.C. Event Consulting, working with promoters and producers creating new concepts or enhancing those already established. Christenson stepped down from his post with LVE on Jan. 1, 2023, with Tim Keener stepping in. Christenson continued his affiliation with LVE as a consultant.

Drawing from 40 years in the industry, Christenson is writing a weekly blog centered on current and past Las Vegas events (lowercase E). He’s posted his take on the Sphere. Up next is a 12-part series on how live-music events have evolved in Las Vegas. Catch it all at at pceventconsulting.com, where there is no cue for entry.

Your VegasVille Moment

Mark Shunock shared his stage at The Space with celeb journo and proud Las Vegan Perez Hilton during Mondays Dark last week. This is part of the new Road Case Conversations series as part of the twice-monthly charity event.

Shunock and Hilton met while working on the campy (in more ways than one) 2001 film “Campfire Stories.” The plot, from IMDB: “Two teens on their way to a backwoods party come across a beautiful young woman having car trouble. Their search for help only gets them lost, deep in the woods, where they meet Forest Ranger Bill with a penchant for scary stories.”

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, during her “Sopranos” days, plays the lead role of “Natalie.” A watch party is a must. Shunock has space for that.

Cool Hang Alert

The Pop 40 contemporary cover band featuring Lily Arce plays The Shag Room at Virgin Hotel from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays. If Arce looks familiar, she should, as a vocalist in David Perrico and the Raiders House Band. No cover.

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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