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Carlos Santana happens in Vegas

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carlos-santanaLegendary guitarist and self-proclaimed hippie Carlos Santana has agreed to a Las Vegas hotel residency, in a deal touted this week as a first in rock ‘n roll history. Through 2010, the Mexico-born musician will not be allowed to perform anywhere else in the United States, west of the Mississippi. His deal with AEG Live commits him to play The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Celine Dion have all made a Las Vegas stage their home at some point in their careers, but Santana’s move to Las Vegas takes the performer, who first struck fame in the 1960s era of “peace and love,” far from his roots in the San Francisco hippie scene. The son of a violinist, Santana is known for his spiritual side and his mix of Latino culture and the blues. He performed at Woodstock in 1969 before going on to become a rock ‘n roll institution known for wicked guitar licks. He has posted sales of more than 90 million records and 11 Grammy Awards, and a list of his hit songs includes “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.”

Santana will perform about 36 shows a year at the Hard Rock starting May 27, in a show called “Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits.” Santana said in a statement, “Because I still live the principles of the 1960s, and because I’m a hippie at heart, ‘A Trip Through the Hits’ is designed to bring everyone in the audience together as one.”

AEG Live said that Santana is the first rock ‘n roll resident artist in Las Vegas, although British export Elton John could arguably be considered a rock icon, and he has been a resident performer in Las Vegas in recent years. Despite all that, Santana is making a break with his past by moving to The Strip, but presumably it will be a stopover on the way to another life path. Last year, the musician told Rolling Stone magazine that he sees his next career as a church minister. ”I’m going to stop playing when I’m 67 and work on what I really want to do, which is to be a minister, like Little Richard,” Santana told the magazine. His ideal pulpit was in Hawaii.

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