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Smartly, Supernatural aims to please casual Santana fan

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Photo: Leila Navidi

Santana's Second Night @The Joint

Legendary hippie rocker Carlos Santana and the Vegas tourist are on different wavelengths. Example: On Sunday night, as the opening weekend of Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits neared its end, Vegas’ newest resident headliner told his audience: “We all have Mother Teresa in our hearts.” An audience member remarked, “I had no idea he was so spiritual.” Any serious Santana fan would know that, but that’s what makes recurring Vegas shows different—they primarily appeal to casual fans, who want hits more than art.

Santana, like Prince at the Rio before him, has the guitar chops and stage charisma to depart from a hits formula. But Santana’s show does promise hits in its title, and many of Santana’s best-known songs were present in the rotating set list: “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways,” “Oye Como Va,” “Maria Maria,” “Jingo” and “Smooth.”

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From the Calendar
Supernatural Santana
Three and a half stars
Through June 14, August 26-September 9
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, 9 p.m.
$75-$295
The Joint, 693-5066.
From the Archives
Carlos Santana’s legendary guitar skills light up The Joint (5/30/09)
Santana’s superb, but can he keep it lit for two years? (5/29/09)
Smooth transition (4/2/09)

Still, much of the career-spanning set, such as Santana’s take on John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” may have been unfamiliar to the casual fan. Also, beyond a mystical symbol-framed video monitor, the production values that have marked residencies by others like Céline Dion and Elton John were absent. And it is these touches that distinguish Vegas shows from regular concerts.

For Santana, leaving out such over-the-top staging might make sense. But that leaves an expensive and somewhat short (100-minute) concert, called a production show.

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Richard Abowitz

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