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Santana wants a new Woodstock as he makes Strip return

Updated May 7, 2024 - 7:00 pm

Rare is the rocker who has performed at Woodstock and Carnegie Hall, and Carlos Santana is such an artist.

“I can play anywhere,” Santana said during a phone chat last week. “I can play a parking lot in Africa.”

The guitar great played Carnegie Hall on April 29, as for the New York Pops’ 41st birthday concert honoring the legendary record executive Clive Davis. Santana and Rob Thomas reunited for their 1999 smash “Smooth.”

Dionne Warwick, Barry Manilow, Toni Braxton, Melissa Manchester, Fantasia Barrino Taylor, Kenny G, John Mellencamp, Art Garfunkel, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Ray Parker Jr. joined in the Davis event.

During a phone chat last week, Santana was still abuzz about that event.

“I feel really high about it, I played Carnegie Hall — can you believe it?” said the 76-year-old rocker, returning to House of Blues on Friday and Saturday, continuing an eight-show run through May 23. “With respect to the Vatican, I was more excited about being in Carnegie Hall than in the Vatican. There’s something about Carnegie Hall, you feel the spirit of American geniuses like Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis … There’s a part of me that’s still a child there, and really in awe of the place.”

Santana is riding that spirit to House of Blues, where he comes up the grand musical designs.

“I utilize the House of Blues stage as a laboratory,” the “Oye Como Va” performer said. “It’s a place to create alchemy and chemistry.”

He is also floating the idea of a new era for Woodstock. He would spearhead the effort, as an original performer who maintains a world view with his music.

“I want to make it a global caravan of harmony and oneness, on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and bring the best bands and the best musicians,” Santana said. “I have talked to Eric Clapton and certain musicians like Earth Wind & Fire, and they want to be a part of it. When I talk to promoters about this, they salivate. Everyone I talk to about it wants to be a part of this celebration.”

Santana has a timeline, saying, “This is not outside the realm of possibilities, from 2025-2027.”

Until then, it’s a House of Blues run this year and also a co-headlining tour with Counting Crows from June through September. Santana is again performing with his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums. He has not lost the passion for live performance, whether on tour or at home.

“You know, to bring hope and courage and enthusiasm is, it’s pretty mighty,” Santana said. “As a musician, I’m elevating people to claim their own light. For everyone, I want hope, courage, unity and harmony.”

Where they dined

Canelo Alvarez and a party of 80 took over Fuhu at Resorts World at 11 p.m. on Saturday, before Canelo and his party partied at Zouk Nightclub.

Tease this …

We STILL expect an announcement out of the Eagles for a fall residency at The Sphere. Also, heads up for 10 added dates for Dead & Company. We’re hearing of that, too …

And this …

Shin Lim is all but confirmed to headline where “Baz” once romped. The great magician closes at Mirage in September …

Cool Hang Alert

Fremont Street Experience and iHeart Radio’s 95.5 The Bull present “Country’s Next Big Thing” at 7 p.m. Wednesday. HuntrGirl, runner up on season 20 of “American Idol,” headlines 1st Street Stage. The series is a platform for emerging artists. No cover. No seats. It’s standing time at FSE.

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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