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Santana restarts in August, recruiting fellow rockers on new album

Updated April 26, 2021 - 3:23 pm

Carlos Santana’s show might be dark, but he is not. You feel the rock legend’s light as he talks about returning to the stage at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.

“I feel very giddy about returning to play with a live audience, you know?” Santana said in a phone chat Saturday morning. “There’s something really sacred about going straight to people’s hearts.”

Santana’s giddiness is understood. He is finally venturing back to the Strip. “An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live” reopens Aug. 25, 27 and 29 and Sept. 1-4.

The rock production returns the first two weeks of November, and again in the first two weeks of December. All shows are set to start at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $99.50 and are onsale 10 a.m. Friday at House of Blues.com/Santana, MandalayBay.com, Ticketmaster.com or at 800-745-3000.

As usual, the 73-year-old artist has been creating new music. His upcoming album “Blessings and Miracles” is moving toward release in time for his House of Blues reboot.

One new song, “Santana Celebration,” is planned for the medley leading off the show. An adventurous collaborator, Santana is again recruiting a richly diverse group of artists to join him on the album, among them legendary songwriter Diane Warren, who has written nine Billboard No. 1 songs and 32 top-10 hits (Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time,” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” among them).

Santana and fellow rock icon Steve Winwood have already finished a cover of “Whiter Shade of Pale.” Santana is also working with Rob Thomas, with whom he struck gold with “Smooth” on the 1999 blockbuster “Supernatural.”The guitar great has brought in Chris Stapleton as well, and has already announced such rockers as guitarist Kirk Hammett of Metallica, and Mark Osegueda of Death Angel on”Blessings and Miracles.”

“I feel really excited. Some albums, like ‘Abraxas’ and ‘Supernatural,’ you can just see them stick out of time and gravity,” Santana said. “This album is like that. It’s because we’ve been marinating and just simmering. The notes are really juicy.”

As if to emphasize the obvious, the legend says, “Santana is not a one-rock pony.”

Santana has played around with making music on digital format. It’s OK, but it’s not for him.

“I wasn’t really vibing with the Zooming thing,” he said. “It’s very difficult to create emotion, passion, and feelings, because it’s hard when you have a plexiglass between you and your lover, you know?”

Santana, as we know, has been off-stage since Feb. 3, 2020. A Las Vegas resident, Santana and his wife and drumming great Cindy Blackman Santana have split the COVID shutdown time between here and their other homes in the Bay Area and Kauai.

Metaphors abound as Santana describes how he will feel in his August restart.

“For me the feeling is like getting inside a bathtub with the water so perfect, and temperature, you don’t even feel your body go in,” he said. “That, I trust. I trust that what I was born to do with this band. It’s not like taking a cold shower. It’s not a shocker. It’s welcoming. It’s perfect.”

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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