Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Carlos Santana

One of the main reasons for this trip to Las Vegas was the chance to see Carlos Santana perform at the House of Blues, which is located in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.  Carlos has been doing nightly two-week runs there for over a year now and this Sunday, May 29 performance was the last one in this stretch.

Here's a piece of advice if you plan to see Santana in Las Vegas. Do not bother with the "Up Close and Personal" package offered for each evening. Why?

#1 - you are not really "up close and personal". At best, you will be 30'-40' away from the stage, with a bunch of standing-room-only concert-goers in front of you. But you are, at least, elevated a little so you can see over their heads.

#2 - the dinner portion of this Up Close and Personal package is served in the Foundation Room of the House of Blues. This room is located on the top floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and there is a nice view up there, but the food is grossly over-priced (even for Vegas) AND (the kicker) the tip for the dinner is NOT included in your package price. I read that little tidbit in the info before we went to Vegas but didn't give it much mind. But when we were presented for the "bill" for the tip, the total came to $130. Now, granted, we had a party of six, so if you divide $130 by six you get $21.66 each. If you were a party of two, the bill would be $42 - maybe not a big deal. But with six, I was just floored. That one thing pissed me off more than anything.

#3 - the free bottle of wine or champagne that is included with your package is about the cheapest thing they could find. Maybe not a surprise, but you get this listing of available wines for the show and you get a choice of the cheapest one, or you could pay an extra $50-$200 for a "premium" bottle. 

#4 - the "goodie bag" that you get as part of this Up Close and Personal package has a DVD of a Santana performance and three pieces of art, which are pretty decent, but there should have been more, in my opinion.

#5 - the "table" that you get to sit at for this package is a table for 4. Online, the table looks pretty big; in person, you can barely see it, and it shakes and leans whenever anyone even sneezes. Maybe that's being a little picky. Most attendees at the show didn't even get a table.

As for the performance, I have to say I was disappointed for the most part. I have seen Santana live perhaps five times already over the last 40 years, and I have to say this was the most disappointing. For some reason, Carlos wanted to play as fast as possible on the five or six high-tempo tunes he started the show with. And I didn't even recognize most of them. He did get around to playing a few of his hits (BTW, the entire show is billed as "Santana's Greatest Hits - LIVE" which is simply not true), but not many.

Black Magic Woman/Oye Como Va
Corazon Espinado

Seriously, that's about it for the hits everyone would know.  When Carlos FINALLY got around to slowing down and playing some of his memorable melodic stuff, it literally brought a tear to my eyes. That's how much his melodies can affect me, but that was not what he chose to play this evening. Maybe Carlos has grown tired of his slower, more melodic stuff and just wants to party and jam these days. 

If you like Santana's music, do yourself a favor and opt for one of the stadium seats in an upper level of the venue. Those can be had for as little as $120/each. Get your own dinner somewhere else and buy a beer or two when you are at the show (for $8 each), and you'll be far ahead of those fools below who got ripped off with the "Up Close and Personal" package.

Carlos, you can do better, and you should. And, BTW, Carlos, what's with the fucking horns? Not on your head, but the trumpet and trombone, which frankly have no room in your repertoire. Lose 'em.

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