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Santana to emphasize looseness in Vegas House of Blues residency

February 20, 2012 |  4:05 pm

Carlos Santana prepares for Las Vegas House of Blues residency
Carlos Santana is gearing up for a new residency in Las Vegas at the House of Blues, moving along the Strip from the Hard Rock Café, where he recently completed a two-year residency, the first his band has done.

Although he’s a big fan of Cirque du Soleil -- “We just saw the Michael Jackson [‘Immortal’] show and we were blown away” -- don’t look for his new engagement, also set to run two years, to feature the Cirque brand of acrobatically theatrical razzle dazzle that’s omnipresent in Sin City these days.

“We’re not at a place where we’re utilizing or working with dancers,” the 64-year-old guitarist and band leader said during an interview for a profile coming later this week that will detail the residency that launches in the spring. “It’s the difference between reading a book and watching TV all the time. Your imagination is a lot more graphic than the TV.

“With all respect to Cirque du Soleil -- maybe someday, and they have approached me in the past -- I think right now because I’m constantly shifting the set list and everything, it’s important to focus more on imagination and spontaneity than rigid, rudimental, everyday stuff. Perfection can be too rigid,” Santana said. “There’s beauty in the Marines, but also beauty in the looseness. And I like looseness.”

That doesn’t, however, mean unstructured. Santana will be assembling songs spanning his four-decade-plus career in the live equivalent of a concept album -- “like a string with a bunch of beads: There’s a continuity to it, not just [unrelated] songs. There’s a purpose to where you put each thing and how you play it.”


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-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Carlos Santana. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.