Carlos Santana happy to be a hippie in Las Vegas

Fri Jun 5, 2009 3:28pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Guitarist Carlos Santana has an answer for anyone who questions what a self-proclaimed hippie is doing playing a months-long residency in Las Vegas: He doesn't buy into anyone's illusions of who he is.

Santana opened his new show last week at the Hard Rock Hotel -- 40 years after the guitarist thrilled the crowds at Woodstock -- becoming one of the biggest music-makers from the generation of peace and love to take up digs in Sin City.

The 61-year-old Mexican native told Reuters this week that he does not care about anyone who might criticize him for straying from his hippie roots by taking the gig in Las Vegas.

"I don't buy into other people's illusions about who I am," Santana said. "First of all, they don't even know about what I do with my money."

Santana, an 11-time Grammy winner, said he has a long history of supporting political causes, such as Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu's fight against apartheid in South Africa, and charities, such as earthquake relief in Nicaragua.

He noted that fellow 1960s superstar Bob Dylan, with whom Santana has toured in the past, will play at minor league baseball parks this summer. "What's the difference if I play at a parking lot, Woodstock or Las Vegas?" Santana said.

Santana, whose hit songs include "Smooth" and "Black Magic Woman," opened his show "Supernatural Santana" on May 27 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in the first of 72 shows he will play this year and next at the venue.

Music critic Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Santana's show opened with video images from Woodstock and it seemed an odd fit for Las Vegas' crowd of weekend revelers.   Continued...

<p>Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana performs during the 50th International Song Festival in Vina Del Mar city, about 75 miles (120 km) northwest of Santiago February 25, 2009. REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez</p>