Today was our first ‘three in one’ day for a while, cities I mean. Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Denver. Departure time was a leisurely 2pm so there was time for a stroll, a quick coffee, a brief look in the O’Neill store for my years supply of board shorts (one pair) and a laze by the pool making the most of all available sunshine before the Eastern seaboard looms large and the onset of winter weather. A quick idiot-check of the room and we were off on one of the buses to Van Nuys airport for the last time of this tour. I love how easy flying is in the US. Saen drove the bus ‘airside’ and we were onboard the Legacy in no time and with a super short taxi, we were in the air waving goodbye to LA once again.
The San Fernando Valley and Hollywood hills..
Amy, our stewardess served up a quick lunch before we were descending into Las Vegas airport. The city views are always spectacular on approach into Vegas as the weather is always the same..clear and sunny. Although Vegas has recently been hit hard by the current global financial crisis, the strip is nonetheless a little bigger each time we come and the urban sprawl seemingly more……sprawly.
We de-plane and step outside into a very pleasant 70 degrees and wait for the cars to take us the very short distance to the Mandalay Bay.
Vegas is a weird and wonderful place, everything is built on an extraordinary scale and the Mandalay Bay complex is no exception. From afar the hotel looks like any other high rise hotel except that it’s gold. Once you draw near the building you soon realize the enormity of its footprint. The backstage area seemed to be miles away yet we were right next to the hotel. The venue is in fact an arena inside a hotel. One of the first things band members tend to do upon arrival here is go for a wander. People -watching here is unparalleled in its diversity and plain strangeness. The punters who come here to blow their hard-earned cash never fail to surprise me. With over a hundred rooms on every floor of the hotel, the long queue or ‘line’ as they say here to get into the elevators is I suppose, inevitable.
The hotel casino floor is vast and there are themed restaurants and bars everywhere, all of which are designed to tempt. The overhead signs being the only way to navigate. I navigated my way back to the event arena and backstage and headed for catering where the crew were preparing dinner. Scott and Jessica willingly pose for the camera.
After sound checks and a spot of food, we readied ourselves once more for the show which was predictably brilliant fun, the post-Hollywood Bowl show being as relaxed as they come. In the dressing room afterwards, Mark was still unsure if he was to play with our main act but soon the word came down through the hierarchy that Bob would like him to come on for song 5. Mark readied himself, we delayed our departure slightly and Bob went on. Once Mark was done, we headed off to the plane once more and a one and a half hour hop to Denver, Colorado and a stark weather contrast. The altitude in Denver is immediately noticeable (more on that tomorrow) and with lying snow on the ground, my new flip-flops seemed utterly inadequate. A 20 minute ride in Jason’s bus and we were at the brand spanking new Four Seasons hotel in downtown Denver.
Three cities in one day.