Love is strong, and so is Vegas, says Santana in Mandalay Bay return

The scene at House of Blues on Wednesday was Vegas Strong, Santana Strong, and Rylie Strong.

Extolling his imperishable message of peace and love through music, Carlos Santana returned to the Mandalay Bay music hall on Wednesday to meet with a few Las Vegans affected by the Oct. 1 shooting at the Rout 91 Harvest festival.

In a pre-show reception at OBA on the upper level of House of Blues just before his first appearance since the tragedy, Santana chatted with Las Vegas Metro Detective Richard Golgart, whose daughter Rylie was injured in the shooting, and Golgart’s wife and Rylie’s step-mother, Kendra.

Santana also met with Jeannine McCoy,the regional donor recruitment manager for United Blood Services who has helped coordinate ongoing donorship efforts; and Toni Mullan and Brad Skilling, who are clinical supervisors in University Medical Center’s Trauma Resuscitation Department.

An 18-year-old freshman at Nevada State College, Rylie Golgart was struck in her lower back during the attack while standing near the front of the stage during Jason Aldean’s performance. The bullet fragmented in her L4 vertebrae, and she has undergone emergency surgery as the family reviews options from leading neurosurgeons. Her parents wore “Rylie Strong” T-shirts the teenager designed, and have set up a gofundme campaign to help offset costs for her recovery.

Santana offered his own method of therapy, through his gift of music. He presented the couple with a signed guitar to give to Rylie along with a note that read, “We need to use music to shift the twisted, crooked, wretched thinking that goes on in people’s minds. We should have music like ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon playing all the time in public places, to compel people not to do stupid (stuff).”

Richard Golgart said that his daughter, who is working to return full function to her legs, would walk again — and Santana offered her an open invitation to see his spiritually driven show at House of Blues.

“We are very moved by all of the support. One thing about Las Vegas is it’s actually a small town,” Golgart said. “Everyone is somehow connected, and that’s what we have noticed in the support we have received for Rylie.”

Santana and UBS are also teaming for a community blood drive Thursday from noon-4 p.m. at House of Blues. Those donating will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of tickets to see Santana’s show at House of Blues this month. They will also enter a drawing to win a guitar signed by the rock legend (those interested in donating are encouraged to make an appointment at bloodhero.com).

“I believe in music, and that peace love will conquer fear and hate,” Santana said. “I will never stop believing it.”

Arthur’s birds

Dirk Arthur’s show at Westgate Cabaret is shaping up as a traditional magic production. He’s already removed the two exotic cats he’d planned for “Wild Magic” in the hotel’s cabaret venue.

On Thursday, word came down that Arthur has also opted away from using the birds he’d originally planned to incorporate into the show, including the white duck Afflack. The reason given for the changes is that Westgate Cabaret is too small to allow for elaborate animal acts, although Arthur has used the big cats (and big acts) in the old O’Shea’s Showroom, which was smaller by half.

No matter. “Wild Magic,” piloted by a showman who has an undeniable talent for reappearing, is back Nov. 15.

Our ‘WOW’ moment

We expected water effects in the new production “Wow” at Rio.

But the arrival of a human geyser was something of a surprise.

Meet Ghanaian phenomenon Dickson Oppong (stage name Dickson Waterman), who can guzzle 4.5 liters of water in less than 90 seconds. The beguiling artist proves as much during the performance, lifting his shirt to show his bulging belly.

Then he expels the water from his stomach, looking like a one-man adaptation of the Bellagio Fountains. He’s certainly earned his nickname, “The Human Fountain,” and I’ve not seen anything quite like it in VegasVille, ever.

Oppong is effectively slotted in a series of routines that includes plate-spinner Victor Ponce, who keeps a dozen saucers moving at once, and the show-closing Sylvia Sylvia, who hits a series of eight bulls-eyes with a single shot — finishing with an arrow fired through an apple placed on her head.

Victor and Sylvia are married, incidentally. I wonder how they met. Maybe over cobbler.

“WOW” is impressive in many instances, including the pretty LED screens ringing the back of the stage, and is a fine show for kids. Now the show that features so much water just needs the tide (of ticket-buyers) to roll in.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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