I get it, I really do, Vegas I mean.
Being married to a Californian means I understand the tradition. The attraction of having a fun weekend, driving to Vegas, blowing a pre-set amount of money, taking in show, having a ball and heading home with a sore head. In the ’50’s and ’60’s, Las Vegas was THE place to be. If you showed up at a casino door in flip-flops back then, entry would certainly have been refused. Everyone dressed well, the men sharp and the ladies, elegant.
Yet every time we visit this extraordinary place, I feel somewhat horrified by the growth, the construction, the visible changes in a city which by all laws of sensibility, shouldn’t be here. The original Strip seems to have been dwarfed by behemoth hotel and casino complexes built to gargantuan proportions as if to outdo the neighbours. The Caesars Palace complex is no exception. The cars drove us behind the scenes, the service areas and truck loading bays designed for optimum efficiency. One of the many things Americans do so well is build big efficient machines and one is left feeling that this is a machine and we are a small element in its daily existence. Inside the backstage area, the corridors were spotless and large, wide enough to accommodate the late great Pavarotti and his entourage. The dressing rooms are spacious and supremely comfortable. I guess when you play Vegas, you’ve made it. At least they certainly want you to feel that way. Everyone looked after us so well.
We ordered dinner from three separate local restaurant menus – I suspected they were all contained within the one building. I opted for sushi from Sushi-Rocco. I knew it would be good, and it was. Mark tucked in with me to Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail sushi along with my absolute favourite, Uni (sea urchin). California and soft shell crab rolls complimented our energy-giving dinner perfectly.
Richard was caught napping with guitar never very far away. In fact he was recovering from a brief cold. He’s back to normal today…no revisit of the horror illnesses from Europe, thank god.
Vegas shows are different from our perspective. The audiences are often quite rowdy but tonight they were fantastic and very attentive. The venue is quite stunning too, a coliseum in the round on the outside and a triple balconied spacious concert hall on the inside, not completely dissimilar to the Royal Albert Hall. We had a great time on stage, the sound was perfect and the atmosphere, really enjoyable. We left feeling satisfied and grateful that we were about to hop on the jet and head back to Santa Monica with curry and a couple of delicious bottles of the Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2011. In the cars at Van Nuys airport, we were only 20 minutes away from the Casa with a day off and good weather forecast tomorrow. Nigel Hitchcock is back on board and continues with us for the rest of the tour. We are a happy band of men indeed.