25th October 2013 – Las Vegas
Which ever way you look at it, Las Vegas is an intriguing city. If ever you need evidence of just how fast a town can grow, look no further than Las Vegas. Once marked as a town by non-native Americans, Vegas started life as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the West, and became a popular railroad town in the early 20th century. It was the legalization of gambling and the construction of the Hoover dam leading to the creation of the world’s largest man-made lake, Lake Mead which kicked off the growth in the form of gambling hotels and casinos. Major development occurred in the 1940’s during the time of the Manhattan project. Atomic test watching parties were often thrown, something today’s generation might find a little unnerving. Hotels even offered Atomic Cocktails in Sky Rooms that offered a great view of the mushroom clouds. Las Vegas now is a far cry from those days yet the thing that started it all off is the key to its current success. Unbelievable numbers of people come here from far and wide to be entertained and fritter away their ‘hard-earned’. Every time we land here in the plane, the city boundary seems further from the airport. Because of its hot desert climate, the views of Vegas are always stunning from the air. Today’s diary entry is unusually photo-light as 5 minutes before we left our hotel in Santa Monica, a rare migraine reared its ugly head. Fortunately, I don’t suffer as bad as some and the worst was over by showtime.
As we stepped from the plane to our wagons parked precariously close to the nose of the jet, we smelled the desert air and I thought how mild it was. We’re usually here in mid-Summer when the afternoon temperatures can be stifling, but today was quite pleasant. It was a 20 minute ride through insane Friday afternoon traffic to the venue, the Pearl Concert Theatre, part of the popular Palms casino hotel near the Strip.
The crew had been here a day and stayed the night in the hotel since they drove directly from Long Beach. As new theaters go, this one is excellent. Acoustically well considered and everything you’d ever need backstage. We did miss our European catering team however as this evening’s dinner was selected from the hotel room service menu and whilst they certainly mean well and the staff are all very accommodating, the food was, well, ok. Incidentally, I WILL be printing the second edition of the Touring Cook Book and making it available just as soon as we return home to the UK next week.
Vegas audiences are unique in that they can be quite excitable and because of the nature of hotel casinos and their entertainment schedules, it seems large parts of the audiences are not necessarily fans. This evening this was not the case. The reception was incredible. There again were many familiar faces of fans from all over and from the very first note, the band were made to feel MOST welcome. The on-stage atmosphere was as relaxed as we’ve ever known it and we all had a fantastic time up there. The show seemed to end all too soon and we were on our merry way back to Santa Monica on board our magic carpet. By half-past midnight we were at the Casa del Mar once more and tucked up in bed ready for another LA adventure tomorrow at the Wiltern Theatre.