Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 | 9:02 a.m.
In introducing Carlos Santana on Tuesday night, Rod Stewart spoke of the song about to be performed originally being recorded “after a glass of wine and three tokes.”
The tune was one Stewart recorded ages ago, “I’d Rather Go Blind,” on his 1972 breakthrough album, “Never a Dull Moment.” Etta James first recorded the song five years prior, but Tuesday it belonged to the unlikely pairing of Stewart and Santana. The two have only in common their status as rock royalty and their shared career arc, booming to stardom in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Despite dissimilar styles (Santana known for his Latin-rock fusion and Stewart for his instantly recognizable raspy voice), the two have sold many millions of albums and singles over the years and are two of the most enduring artists ever in contemporary music.
Finally, after all those decades, the two are co-headlining a tour this year. As Stewart said in bringing out Santana at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, “This is the first time we’ve been onstage together, to my knowledge.” Santana did not address the crowd aside from his spirited playing. The two stood side-by-side, and at one point Stewart took a knee while cajoling a Santana solo. The guitar great paused for a moment as Stewart laughed, then played through the solo as Stewart slapped his leg.
The Stewart-Santana U.S. and Canadian tour is aptly titled “The Voice. The Guitar. The Songs.” It opens May 23 in Albany, N.Y., and closes Aug. 20 in Wantagh, N.Y. There are no dates on the West Coast, but Santana returns to House of Blues in November. Stewart, too, is back at his Las Vegas venue this year, with dates scheduled in September, October and November.
Stewart said at the top, “I am going to struggle to hit some notes tonight,” as the dry desert air can do a number on a singer’s voice. But the show was highly entertaining, as Stewart strode through the crowd for “Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller” and again booted 20 or so signed soccer balls into the crowd, which was at or near a sellout.
As for Santana, the appearance at the Colosseum continued his own mini-tour of Las Vegas performance venues. He’s headlined at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and House of Blues at Mandalay Bay and also has appeared with keyboardist Gregg Rolie in an unannounced performance with Journey, reuniting with Neal Schon from the days of Santana’s band in the early 1970s. The three are working together on “Santana IV,” being recorded at Odds On Studios in Henderson, due for release this year.