Saturday, December 11, 2010

Leonard Cohen @ Caesars Colosseum

Wow!!! What a night!

Carolyn, Amy and I started the night off with a nice dinner at The Palm in the Forum Shops. Surprisingly this was the first time I'd dined there (and have lived in Vegas for 7 years). I had attended meetings and social functions, but not actually dined there. Great meal, and a good way to start the evening

I had heard that Leonard Cohen puts on a fabulous show, but there was no way of knowing how good it could possibly be.

This was the last show of a 3 year-246 show world tour. Cohen joked that he had started this tour as a pipe dream as a young 73 year old kid. But the road certainly did not seem to weary this unbelievable performer. From the start there was so much passion in both his singing and on stage presence, you knew you were seeing something special.

I knew sporadic songs throughout. Opening with Dance Me To The End Of Love set the tone for me and I watched, just mesmerized, as song after song this man poured everything out for a very appreciative and loyal audience. I felt amazed when he left the stage after 13 songs and was excited to hear Hallelujah for the encore. Little was I to know, that Cohen was just getting started.

After about a half hour break, where a lot of fans moved down to the stage to serenade him back on, Cohen (and a wonderfully talented band) took the stage for Part 2 of the evening. Another 11 songs - of which Hallelujah almost bought me to tears, followed immediately by I'm Your Man. This guy just did not know how to stop.

Finally (I thought) he said his goodbyes to a very appreciative audience. But no - he still had 3 encores and 6 songs left in him. Finally at midnight - THREE AND A HALF HOURS LATER - Leonard Cohen said his final goodbyes and a packed Caesars Colosseum left knowing they had just witnessed one of the best shows ever!

It doesn't matter how young or old you are, or the type of music you generally like, if you have a music bucket list - make sure Leonard Cohen is on it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I certainly hope I get to see him again. I also hope other bands with extensive catalogs take note as to how long he played for. Living in Vegas, I feel a lot of performers take the easy money and phone it in here, especially when, on average, we seem to pay more per ticket than other cities surrounding us.

Dance Me To The End Of Love / The Future / Ain't No Cure For Love / Bird On The Wire / Everybody Knows / In My Secret Life / Who By Fire / The Darkness / Born In Chains / Democracy / Chelsea Hotel No. 2 / Waiting For The Miracle / Anthem
Second Set: Tower Of Song / Suzanne / A Singer Must Die / Sisters Of Mercy / The Gypsy's Wife / The Partisan / Boogie Street / Hallelujah / I'm Your Man / A Thousand Kisses Deep / Take This Waltz 
Encore: So Long, Marianne / First We Take Manhattan
Encore 2: Famous Blue Raincoat / If It Be Your Will / Closing Time
Encore 3: I Tried To Leave You

The Crap Facts:
This is my 310th concert.
This is my 5th concert at Caesars Colosseum.
This is my 105th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 105th concert in Nevada.
This is my 117th concert in the USA.

Leonard Cohen is the 379th band I've seen.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dandy Warhols @ Hard Rock Cafe

First time seeing a band in a brand new venue. Good start!

I'm not sure why I have never seen the Dandy Warhols before? Maybe we just have not crossed paths, but I like their laid back rockin' style so time to check out the relatively new Strip location of the Hard Rock Cafe.

Good size venue, though I was disappointed with the turnout. The Dandies were great. Plenty of crowd interaction and heaps of great songs. And the sound, as Courtney kept saying, was flawless.

I lived in England when Bohemian Like You was everywhere (thanks mostly to Vodaphone) and live it was something special. Junkie & Get Off were also highlights, as well as a great set ending Little Drummer Boy. Will definitely go and see The Dandies again (if they ever come through Vegas anytime soon). Also looking forward to seeing more shows at the Hard Rock Cafe - a great smaller venue with great sound.

Mohammed / We Used To Be Friends / Holding Me Up / Shakin' / Solid / Nietzsche / The Dope (Wonderful You) / Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth / (Tony, This Song Is Called) Lou Weed / Horse Pills / The Legend Of The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers AKA The Ballad Of Sheriff Shorty / Good Morning / Godless / Last High / Bohemian Like You / Get Off / Boys Better / The Little Drummer Boy

The Crap Facts:
This is my 309th concert.
Hard Rock Cafe is the 83rd venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 104th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 104th concert in Nevada.
This is my 116th concert in the USA.

The Dandy Warhols are the 378th band I've seen.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ditch Diggers @ Double Down

For way too long I have been promising my mate, Roman, I would go and see his band - The Ditch Diggers - play. After many false starts tonight was finally the night.

The Double Down is a great, seedy Las Vegas dive-bar where bacon martinis and ass juice are the house specialities. It is also a nightly live rock venue that always has free music - and the best jukebox anywhere. I would like to come here more often to see shows but with my early starts at work, midweek days off and their late starts (usually 11pm) it is not the ultimate combination.

However after an afternoon nap (yes I'm that old) I got down to see the Ditch Diggers open the night to a decent sized crowd and see Roman tear it up. In the tradition of pyschobilly, rock and country this 3 piece can catch a crowd's attention. Roman's guitar playing and general humble-like presence (I hope having work friends there didn't make him hold back) is a unique blend which will enamour you to the band. I hope to see them more often and learn some of the songs as they put on a good show. I would also like to see them in a venue that could give their sound a boost as tonight's sound, through their own amps, was a little weak. A proper PA would do them wonders.

I did not stay for any of the other bands due to the previously mentioned early start at work the following day. After a year of hearing about the Ditch Diggers, I hope not to wait that long to see them again.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 308th concert.
The Double Down is the 82nd venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 103rd concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 103rd concert in Nevada.
This is my 115th concert in the USA.

Ditch Diggers are the 377th band I've seen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Perfect Circle @ The Pearl

An extremely rare appearance by A Perfect Circle - their first shows in Vegas 6 years - which I saw at the Joint. Thanks to Erik not wanting to go to a party, we managed to pick up 2 tickets through Stub Hub, as both tonight's and the next sold out in no time.

This was the first show at the Pearl where I had sat in the upper tier and while seats at a rock show aren't usually my thing, tonight it came in handy. After foolishly paying $34 for 4 beers (Pearl: please note I will not be drinking at your venue EVER again unless for some unbelievable reason you make your drinks prices more reasonable) we got to our seats as A Perfect Circle started (right at 8.30pm). Tonight's show was them playing their first album - Mer de Noms - from start to finish. Naturally I was on my feet from the start as I was just waiting to hear one song - Judith - and I was not let down. This definitely an all time favorite. However the rest of the set was not fantastic and this is where the seats came in handy.

After they finished the album, they finished with 2 great covers - David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes (another fave of mine) and John Lennon's Imagine (a dark and disturbing version).

The other disappointment / surprise was that it was all over by 9.45pm. What happened to rock? Not that I ought to complain too much - I did have to be up early for work the following morning.

The Hollow / Magdalena / Rose / Judith / Orestes / 3 Libras / Sleeping Beauty / Thomas Renholdër / Thinking Of You / Breña / Over
Encore: Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie Cover) / Imagine (John Lennon Cover)

The Crap Facts:
This is my 307th concert.
This is my 9th concert at The Pearl.
This is my 102nd concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 102nd concert in Nevada.
This is my 114th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd A Perfect Circle concert.
A Perfect Circle are the 200th time I've seen a band in the USA.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wait! Wait!...Dont Tell Me @ Paris Hotel

Going to a watch a radio show being taped.

A Saturday favorite, when I can hear it, NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me, normally recorded in Chicago, is in Vegas for 1 night only, so even though Amy flies back from Phoenix from a work trip, we have tickets ready to go.

This is only the 2nd time I've been in this theater, but even from the 2nd last row, seats are not bad. The only disappointment is the place is not even 2/3 full. Oh well, Las Vegas' loss.

WWDTM is a current affairs / comedy program where the host, Peter Sagal, asks questions of a panel of 3 (usually comedians, journalists or political pundits), who are judged by the iconic, Karl Kasell. Listeners phone in and participate and, if successful, get Kasell's voice on their home answering machine. Tonight's show also included an opening performance by Harrah's Mac King, as well as an on-stage interview with Wayne Newton.

As with Jon Stewart earlier in the year, it is hard to describe a comedy show....unless you were there. Needless to say, there were 2.5 hours of laughs and in the end a little insight into the production of the show, as lines we re-read to "tidy up" the sound and the cast took audiences' questions.

I tried to get tickets to this last time we were in Chicago, but they were sold out. I'm so glad they came to Vegas and we got the opportunity to go.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hold Steady @ House Of Blues

I love The Hold Steady. And cannot understand why the rest of the whole world is not on board. We enter the House of Blues tonight to an only half full room. Which is good for me and Amy, cause we are on the floor close to the band, and not packed in sardines.

The size of the crowd does not deter Craig Finn from putting on his usual energetic show. He seems to genuinely enjoy what he does and, at times, looks like he is ready to explode with enthusiasm. A lot of bands could learn a lot from seeing The Hold Steady.

Even with an album recently released, THS played a range of songs from their whole repertoire. Highlights for me were, Sequestered In Memphis, Barfruit Blues and Southtown Girls.

I really hope The Hold Steady become a huge success. They play great rock music, which backs some great story telling, told by an excellent frontman. I hope that one day, for their sake, they come to Vegas and play a stadium. But not right away, as their intimate shows (like last April's at the Beauty Bar) are a fantastic rock experience.


Hurricane J / Same Kooks / Navy Sheets / Banging Camp / Chips Ahoy! / Stuck Between Stations / The Swish / The Sweet Part Of The City / You Can Make Him Like You / Rock Problems / Sequestered In Memphis / Sweet Payne / Massive Nights / Constructive Summer / Hot Soft Light / You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came To The Dance With) / Barfruit Blues / The Weekenders / Your Little Hoodrat Friend / Most People Are DJs
Encore: Southtown Girls / Stay Positive / How A Resurrection Really Feels

The Crap Facts:
This is my 306th concert.
This is my 35th concert at House Of Blues.
This is my 101st concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 101st concert in Nevada.
This is my 113th concert in the USA.

This is my 3rd Hold Steady concert.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tshirt Retirement

There comes a time when you just have to let go. I have amassed a pretty good tshirt collection over the years, but I have decided to do a clean out and get rid of some of the shirts - some that no longer fit - some that I just don't ear anymore. I hope that someone else will get some enjoyment.
South Park shirt. I was always told that as a youngster I told that I used to mumble when I spoke. Making this shirt from a favorite show highly appropriate.

I got this shirt in 2008 on a trip back home. Since leaving Oz 10 years ago, I have a a heightened sense of patriotism. It took pride of place on Australia Day, but quickly shrunk and disfigured. Now it will be good for someone smaller.

Classic Cons tshirt. Unfortunately this cheap tshirt disintegrated quickly.

One of my slightly offensive shirts. But you gotta admit - pretty funny. Given to me by Reggae, at a time we were a bit larger and having fun with it.

Loved my Homer shirt. Wore my role model proudly for well over 10 years, while trying to live up to the Woo Hoo! feeling.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interpol & White Rabbits @ The New Joint

Got in early enough to catch the White Rabbits, but was not overly enthralled with them.

One observation for the night - the downtown hipster bars must've been empty tonight because I have never seen so many skinny jeans, sports jackets, vests and paper boy caps in Las Vegas in one night.

I know only a few Interpol songs, but had heard they put on a good show, so here I am to see what all the fuss is about. It was pretty much a straight forward rock show. Obviously the songs I knew were preferable, with Narc, PDA and Slow Hands being the highlights. Otherwise there was nothing exceptional that would make me race back to see them again.

Interpol Setlist
Success / Say Hello To The Angels / C'mere / Memory Serves / Rest My Chemistry / Summer Well / Narc / Evil / Untitled / Barricade / Lights / Slow Hands / PDA / Try It On / Not Even Jail
Encore: NYC / Take You On A Cruise / Obstacle 1

The Crap Facts:
This is my 305th concert.
This is my 8th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 100th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 100th concert in Nevada.
This is my 112th concert in the USA.

White Rabbits are the 375th band I've seen.
Interpol are the 376th band I've seen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Alice In Chains, Deftones & Mastodon @ The New Joint

I cant believe it's been 17 years since I last saw Alice In Chains - and 11 since I'd seen the Deftones so I was really looking forward to tonight's show.

To start though it was Mastodon, who I've seen twice before and really like. Except for the sound, they played a great set. It's a shame their set was so short though only - 35 minutes. Still Mastodon ripped through some great songs - Crystal Skull being my favorite.

Mastodon Setlist
Naked Burn / Divinations / Oblivion / Crystal Skull / Colony Of Birchmen / The Czar / Megalodon / Blood & Thunder

It wasn't long before the Deftones hit the stage, and they did so at full speed. The band were in fine form and all looked like they rather be nowhere else. Fur and Summer were incredibly awesome! And to be 30 feet from the stage was great. Strangely the Vegas crowd did really get into it - though this is something that happens a lot in this town. I must make an effort to see the Deftones again soon - their energy is unsurpassed by any band I've seen in a while.

Deftones Setlist
Rocket Skates / Around The Fur / Be Quiet & Drive (Far Away) / My Own Summer (Shove It) / Diamond Eyes / You've Seen The Butcher / Sextape / Passenger / Change (In The House Of Flies) / Birthmark / Engine No. 9 / 7 Words

It was mixed emotions about seeing Alice In Chains tonight. Obviously to see them with out Layne is not for the "purists", hence I couldn't get Amy to come tonight, but still they have so many great songs that still need to be heard. So I went with an open mind. Just like the Horden in 93, AIC opened with a white screen across the front of the stage and different members of the band walking on - only their shadows showing. The hit of the first drums of Them Bones and the curtain dropped and the band were in full force. This was the last show of a quick 1 month tour through the US and while I'd read some not so flattering reviews, those people should have been at this show. AIC was smart enough to know that people want to hear the old stuff and put just a few new songs in the set. Every song better than the last. And as for William Duval - he is a more than suitable front man - even for Alice In Chains. His voice is spot on and anyone who may have had reservations would have left with a different opinion. Great show!

Alice In Chains Setlist
Them Bones / Dam That River / Rain When I Die / Again / Check My Brain / Your Decision / No Excuses / Love, Hate, Love / We Die Young / Acid Bubble / Lesson Learned / It Ain't Like That / Rooster
Encore: Nutshell / Man In The Box / Would?

The Crap Facts:
This is my 304th concert.
This is my 7th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 99th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 99th concert in Nevada.
This is my 111th concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Mastodon concert.
This is my 2nd Deftones concert.
This is my 2nd Alice In Chains concert.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

San Diego, CA to Carlsbad, CA

The night after the Melvins I woke up and had one of my migraines (my first for over 6 months). I took my time driving up to Carlsbad, driving via all the beach towns and the coast along the way. I had plans just to hang on the beach for the afternoon, but the headache and cool weather put the kybosh to that. Instead I checked into the West Inn & Suites to try and sleep off the pain, so I can hang out with Naags & Baden tonight, and get to the Hoodoo Gurus at Solana Beach tonight. The nanna nap helped.

I woke up feeling better, though kind of that hangover feeling I have after a migraine.  I called Amy in the late afternoon.  She was having a ultrasound appointment today about the baby.  I think my nerves about this was what may have caused the migraine.  And, as it  and turns out, rightly so.  We are about to become parents to TWINS!  Holy shit!  In the space of 2 years we have gone to not going to have children, to trying, to almost giving up, to parents of two.  What a change!  This should bring some wild reactions once people know we are pregnant.  I think I had an inkling that this was going to happen, because I wasn't really surprised when Amy told me.  With her mum being a twin, and my nan, (not to mention Amy's doctor joking about it when we first found out - boy that next conversation will be an interesting one), it seemed natural when she told me.  Interesting times ahead.

Naags came around around 6pm, and I couldn't contain myself.  He became the first person to know we were pregnant, let alone with twins.  Poor guy, shock had kicked in for me and I think I said fuck n front of Baden about 30 times.  We headed down towards the beach to have dinner at Vigilucci's Steak & Seafood. Great restaurant overlooking the water. Unfortunately fog stopped us from watching the sunset (growing up on the east coast of Oz, I am still fascinated by watching the sunset over the water - instead of rising). Was a great meal and good to do the annual catch up with Naags. As per my usual migraines I was completely wiped out after dinner and headed back to the hotel and missed the Hoodoo Gurus. Oh well, next time!

Still was a productive weekend. Another great Melvins show, a catch up with an old school mate, and the revelation that I'm gonna be a father of 2.  Except for all the driving it was a relaxing weekend. I'll have to go back to work to recover.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Melvins & Totimoshi @ The Casbah, San Diego

Road Trip!

Got out of work half an hour early and made my way for 5 1/2 hours down the I-15 to San Diego for a weekend of rock and catching up with an old friend. The drive down was smooth except for traffic around Yermo because of that f*&ken ridiculous fruit checkpoint on the freeway. California has no better way to employ 30 people than to cause traffic on a major freeway?

Anyway I arrived at my close-by accommodations, Motel 6 at the airport at about 9pm. Just enough time to relax a few minutes and then walk around the corner to the Casbah - the scene of tonight's rock. I have no idea what time the bands start, but hopefully I hadn't missed anything. Got to the venue in enough time to have a beer before Totimoshi came on stage. I new nothing of this band but is seems they are the crew for the Melvins - using the drum set all ready to go. These guys are great. A perfect fit musically for the Melvins (take note Pixies). Totimoshi ripped through about 45 minutes of unknown-to-me rock which impressed the early crowd.

Instantly I am a big fan of the Casbah. It is a small venue (no more than 200 people) and great access to the bands. I just wish they had of got the air conditioner to work earlier. It's not particularly hot, but with the humidity, I can not stop sweating. Between bands 2 of the Melvins briefly lingered with the crowd before finally a door opened and Buzz walked on stage. The rest of the band arrived, walking through the crowd to the stage, in some sort of turquoise-bedazzeld-Gladiator outfit and the the twin drum attack set the crowd alight. Melvins powered through their set and it is amazing to watch them, especially the intertwined 2 drummers. I know plenty of Melvins music, though not the names of songs, and there were plenty that I recognized tonight (though in 5 shows they've never played my favorite - Honeybucket). The set was awesome, and the Pinhead (Ramones) cover was wild. I was supposed to come down a few months back, but left it too late to get a ticket. I am very happy that I got my finger out and got down for this one.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 303rd concert.
The Casbah is the 81st venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 2nd concert in San Diego.
This is my 8th concert in California.
This is my 110th concert in the USA.
Totimoshi are the 374th band I've seen.
This is my 5th Melvins concert.
Melivins are the 1st band I've seen in 4 states.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pixies & Fuck Buttons @ The New Joint

I listened to Doolittle, my one and only Pixies album, on the drive to the Joint. This is another band I had never really gotten into (not sure why not) but they were a favorite of a favorite of mine (Nirvana), so Eric and I went to check them out.

Firstly though we had to endure the Fuck Buttons. Like Animal Collective, the Fuck Buttons are a couple of guys making electronic noise and boring the shit out of me. I understand that people have a wide variety of music tastes and that some people would like this (I'm looking at you Moz), but there is a time and a place. Surely being a band for 20 plus years, the Pixies could have come up with a better support act. Either that or it was genius to put such an ordinary support on the slot, so that way you look so good it is ridiculous.

The Pixies entrance was accompanied by a video in the background, which was highly surreal. The whole crowd cringed in horror as the clip showed a donkey's eye being slit. I had heard a movie that had this, but it was the only part of the movie I knew of. As it turns out, this was the move. The Luis Bunuel / Salvador Dali "Un Chien Andalou". The surrealists 16 minute silent film was the backdrop to the Pixies taking the stage.

So ignorant was I of the Pixies that as they started I found out that the tour was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Doolittle. Which means at least I'd know some of the songs. And from the start the band had the crowd partying. A few b-sides and songs before Debaser sent the crowd into a frenzy. Pixies then proceeded to play Doolittle from start to finish. Great sound (the best at the New Joint since No Doubt) and a rockin', visual, quick set. When they finished after Gouge Away they made a big deal about farewelling the crowd. It looked like we were only going to get an hour - not happy (but it would give me the opportunity to possibly get to the Las Vegas Country Saloon to see a mate's band, Ditch Diggers, perform. Wheels were almost in motion until after a short break the Pixies were back on stage for the first of 2 encores.

Overall a great show, considering I wasn't familiar with a lot of their work, but the highlights for me were Debaser, Monkey Gone To Heaven and, from the 2nd encore, Where is My Mind? Another band off the bucket list.

Pixies setlist
Intro (Un Chien Andalou) / Dancing The Manta Ray / Weird At My School / Bailey's Walk / Manta Ray / Debaser / Tame / Wave Of Mutilation / I Bleed / Here Comes Your Man / Dead / Monkey Gone To Heaven / Mr. Grieves / Crackity Jones / La La Love You / No. 13 Baby / There Goes My Gun / Hey / Silver / Gouge Away
Encore: Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf) / Into The White
Encore 2: Caribou / Nimrod's Son / Where Is My Mind? / Gigantic

The Crap Facts:

This is my 302nd concert.
This is my 6th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 98th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 98th concert in Nevada.
This is my 109th concert in the USA.
Fuck Buttons are the 372nd band I've seen.
The Pixies are the 373rd band I've seen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Viva Elvis @ Aria

Viva Elvis again (the 3rd time). I had to go as part of my job. I need to know how to sell the show. I was actually a little psyched about seeing it in the 3rd last row, to give a different perspective, but after taking our seats an usher moved us closer to the front i.e. the 4th row. Wow! That's pretty close. The show is no different from the last time we saw it, and still enjoyable. As long as people realize this is a musical tribute to Elvis and not as acrobatic as other shows, there is no reason not to love the show.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Cult & The Black Ryder @ Pearl

15 years.....that's a long time between seeing a band. But not since the 95 Big Day Out had I seen The Cult. And even then I was miles away from the stage, so I assumed seeing them at the intimate Pearl would be a treat. I would be proved right.

Met Spoon there and we were going to see if we could scalp a ticket (this is Spoon's new skill - buying tickets under face value). There were not a lot of people around, and very few people selling tickets, so we lined up to get a ticket and just as we were next in line, someone came to us with floor tickets for $25 (half price).

We walked in to a near empty Pearl just as The Black Ryder hit the stage. This six piece played that shoegazer rock reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Swirl, Swevedriver etc. This is not usually my cup of tea, but these guys were good - and the sound was excellent. It was like they were meant to play this size venue. As it turns out The Black Ryder are an Aussie band, who toured with The Cult in Australia. The Cult liked them so much, they invited them to support in the US.

For some ungodly reason it took The Cult over an hour to come on after The Black Ryder. Maybe it was so the Pearl could fill up a bit more (probably 3/4 full without the upper balcony being used.) But it was well worth the wait. They Rocked! You know how sometimes you wonder whether a band can live up to how good they were - well there is no doubt in my mind The Cult were as good as they have ever been. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy looked they were having a ball and all their songs were great. I knew a lot more than I expected, but Fire Woman and She Sells Sanctuary were definitely highlights for me. Also enjoyed the visuals projected behind the back of the band on a big screen.

If I wait 15 years again to see The Cult I'll be 52 - but if they come through town again, I'll have no hesitation going to see them.

The Cult Setlist
Every Man & Woman Is A Star / New York City / The Phoenix / Rain / Sweet Soul Sister / White / I Assassin / Sun King / Nirvana / Spirit Walker / Embers / Rise / Fire Woman / Wild Flower / She Sells Sanctuary
Encore: Lil Devil / Love Removal Machine

The Crap Facts:

This is my 301st concert.
This is my 8th concert at The Pearl.
This is my 97th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 97th concert in Nevada.
This is my 108th concert in the USA.
The Black Ryder are the 371st band I've seen.
This is my 2nd Cult show.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Frank Caliendo @ Monte Carlo

The fortunes of a work freebie. I knew of Frank Caliendo from his TBS show a couple of years back, but had never actually seen the man do any impersonations. I had been pre-empted with the fact that it was man / sport related humor, so it sounded good to me. ABH would be the test.

Again it is hard to review a comedy show, because it is not you can recall the jokes, especially in his impersonated voices, but Caliendo did some great versions of Obama, Bush, Pacino, Charles Barkley and John Madden (amongst others). His near ending hand puppet routine, while funny, ran a little long. For me, as someone who has only lived in the US for 8 years, it was the fact that his characters are more modern (than Danny Gans' were) that made him a fun show.

Both ABH and I really enjoyed the show, as did Jesse & Ashley who we ran into for the first time in a long while. It is now a show I can confidently recommend to others when looking for a comedy show.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp & The Dough Rollers @ Caesars Colosseum

An interesting night to say the least.

It was only the day before that I decided to get a ticket to this show and took a cheaper option to sit on the 1st Mezzanine at the Colosseum. Previous shows on the main floor (Cher, Bette Midler Stevie Nicks, Dennis Miller) had been great seating and the 2nd Mezzanine (Jon Stewart) had been awful - so we took the middle ground.

The night started with the Dough Rollers. 2 guys playing their guitars and singing some old school blues (mostly covers of John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt etc). AMAZING!!!! What a way to kick off the night. The Dough Rollers probably ploughed through 10 songs in their quick 1/2 hour set. This is a band I will definitely look for in the future - in a small venue they'd be phenomenal.

John Mellencamp came out and from the start had the audience jumping. He played a plethora of old hits (including a rousing acapella rendition version of Cherry Bomb) sprinkled in with some of his new new stuff (meh!). But overall a great performance. He knew it wasn't his show and was limited on time, so he gave the audience what they wanted and teased them with a couple of new songs, which I'm sure he'll do when he has his own tour later in the year. I would've loved to of heard Jack & Diane, but as I said he picked a bunch of greats. And if I really wanted to hear that song I should have went with everyone 20 years ago when he toured Australia for the Lonesome Jubilee.

John Mellencamp Setlist The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV, USA 2010

Then there was Bob Dylan. I wanted to like this. I even tried. But this was just terrible. He had no presence on stage, no connection with the audience (as seen by the dimmed lights between EVERY song) and the sound was atrociously mixed. Some of his harmonica solos were ear-splittingly painful. ABH and I left after a mere 7 songs. This is only the 3rd time I've ever done that (once with Sonic Youth in '98, and The Vines in '04).  I kept waiting for it to get better - but it wouldn't. And while I'm sure a lot of people liked it, there was also a bucket load of people leaving at the same time we were. Me thinks Mellencamp should've been the headliner, but then would we have suffered through all of Dylan. 

Bob Dylan Setlist The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV, USA 2010, Never Ending Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 300th concert.
This is my 4th concert at Caesars Colosseum.
This is my 96th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 96th concert in Nevada.
This is my 107th concert in the USA.
The Dough Roller are the 368th band I've seen.
John Mellencamp is the 369th band I've seen.
Bob Dylan is the 370th band I've seen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Primus @ The New Joint

Midnight! It's not that I'm too old to see a band at midnight, it's that I'm too old to get up and be at work for 7.30 the next morning. But it's Primus - so we must make the effort. And to combat the late start (because they had been to the MGM to see Rush earlier in the evening) I got a early evening nanna-nap in.

And, as always (this is my 5th Primus show) I was completely amazed. These guys are just such great musicians it is hard to know which way to look. Ultimately you end up back on Les Claypool, as his unique voice and bass playing take precedence over everything. From the start of Pudding Time, the audience as a whole were captivated by another great performance. Particular highlights were My Name Is Mud and the Primus song in my all time Top 20 Tommy The Cat.

Two hours of skilled musicianship and we bid farewell to Primus after Too Many Puppies (only the 2nd song of the encore). I didn't want it too end. But is was only 4 hours until I had to be up for work again. Damn you hospitality industry and making me work weekends!

When are they coming back?

Pudding Time / In The Flesh (Pink Floyd Cover) / Duchess & The Proverbial Mind Spread / Behind My Camel (Police Cover) / Groundhog's Day / Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers / Mr. Knowitall / Big In Japan (Tom Waits Cover) / Over The Falls Drum & Whamola Jam / Eleven / Frizzle Fry / My Name Is Mud / Southbound Pachyderm / Tommy The Cat
Encore: Over The Electric Grapevine / Too Many Puppies

The Crap Facts:

This is my 299th concert.
This is my 5th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 95th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 95th concert in Nevada.
This is my 106th concert in the USA.
This is my 5th Primus concert.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blondie & B52s @ Mandalay Bay Beach

Ohhhhh Yeah! This is how every concert in Vegas should be. Ankle deep in water, not crowded and full of people just having FUN! For our first ever concert at Mandalay Bay Beach, ABH and I joined Spoon and headed into see the B52s open for Blondie. A bit of a nostalgia trip, and not sure what to expect, but this was to be a blast of night.

This outdoor venue gives the option of standing back a ways on the sand or actually being in the pool to get closed to the stage. We opted to cool our heels in the middle of the Vegas summer and relaxed into the evening.

Once the B52s came on stage everyone was in party mode (especially the muscly dude in the pink dress and matching beehive who we'd seen earlier in the night eating dinner inside Hussongs). There is nothing complex in what the B52s do - its just fun, dance music. Even the songs which I didn't know - which was most of them - were catchy enough to keep the crowd moving. They finished the main set with Love Shack - and yes the girls can still hit those notes - which lit the place up. But for me the highlight was definitely their encore ending Rock Lobster. I rate seeing that song live up there with seeing Smells Like Teen Spirit and Killing In The Name Of live. It was spine tingling.

How were Blondie ever going to top this. Unfortunately they weren't, but they did hold their own. I enjoyed the set when I knew the songs (Hanging On The Telephone, Rapture, Call Me, Heart Of Glass, One Way Or Another, The Tide Is High etc), the songs I didn't know lost me (and I think the crowd). Still a great show. It was also great watching a storm roll in from the south east and travel east of the Strip, yet the concerns of lightning forced everyone out of the pool for the (probably shortened to) 1 song encore of Blondie.

2 legendary bands now ticked off my bucket list.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 298th concert.
Mandalay Bay Beach is the 80th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 94th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 94th concert in Nevada.
This is my 105th concert in the USA.
The B52s are the 366th band I've seen.
Blondie are the 367th band I've seen.
Blondie are the 150th time I've seen a band in Las Vegas.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bester / Sainsbury Wedding in Las Vegas

We got to hang with the Besters one more time after I finished work, as they came to our place for a quick dinner before we dropped them off at the Strip so they could go and see Love. I’ve had such a great week with them here, actually 2 weeks if you count the time with everyone in Hawaii as well. Tomorrow they continue on their US trip, while I have to work on keeping this quiet for 3 months until they have their Australia wedding. I think I’ll make it ?!?!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bester / Sainsbury Wedding in Las Vegas

Still working as the newlyweds get to spend their first day together celebrating Phil’s birthday. Again we meet up when I’ve finished work and the 6 of us head out to Joe’s Stone Crab for dinner. Again, a great meal with some good company. And no trip to Vegas is complete until drinks have been had at the Peppermill. The pictures below say it all I think. Tonight was our farewell to the Saffas, as they head back to Houston in the morning.

Us In The Car

Us @ The Peppermill

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bester / Sainsbury Wedding in Las Vegas

Again I had to work today, so all was left for preparation for the big night. Phil & Reggae get married at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. The girls were spoiled by a hairdresser & make-up artist while the boys …well just got ready when they had to.

Gretchen, Reggae & ABH @ Aria

Me & ABH @ Aria

Regs & Her Bridesmaids

Reggae On Her Way To The Chapel

Saffa & I escorted Reggae to the Chapel and in Vegas style we were up and done in 20 minutes. Elvis walked her down the short isle to her nervous husband in waiting. Elvis then proceeded to perform a great, fun ceremony and before we knew it Reggae & Phil were Mr & Mrs Bester.

Me, ABH, Gretchen & Saffa

The Besters @ Graceland Wedding Chapel

After the ceremony, the Besters had hired a photographer who had a limo driver take us to different parts of the city for 2 hours for the wedding photos. We went to the Vegas sign, Mandalay BayBellagio & Caesars Palace before heading to Firefly at The Plaza for the reception dinner.  Definitely a fun wedding and a great night had by all.

Regs & Her Boys

KISS and The Besters
The Besters & Cake @ Firefly

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bester / Sainsbury Wedding, in Las Vegas

I had to work today so I had Phil & Regs drive me to work so they could have my car and have the day to do as they please. Also Phil is moving into Aria today - to keep away from his bride the night before the wedding. He will be joined there by his mate, Zu, who will partake it the events as well. Also Saffa and Gretchen arrive into Vegas this afternoon to complete the party.

After work we all met at Aria to let them marvel at where I work, and have a drink before keeping it low key and having dinner at the Hookah Lounge - a fave from Reggae's last visit. We escort the bride home afterwards and the boys headed back for a bit of fun on the casino floor.

Me, Zu, Regs, Phil, ABH, Gretchen & Saffa @ Aria

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bester / Sainsbury Wedding in Las Vegas

A mere 3 days after getting back from Hawaii we are blessed by the incoming Reggae & Phil, who are doing a few week tour through the US (LA, Vegas, Chicago, NY, Amish Country, Memphis, Nashville and Honolulu). But this stop is special as it includes a secret wedding that only parents and the 5 guests (Me, ABH, Saffa, Gretchen & Zu) know about.

I picked the kids up from the airport and we made the trip directly to get the Marriage Licence from Clark County Courthouse before going to Rent a Dress & Tux to get the kids outfitted for Friday. While alterations were made we headed over to the Hard Rock Hotel for lunch at Mr Luckys.

Reggae & Phil getting their Marriage Licence

10 days of travelling and the upcoming fun ahead and Phil & Regs were happy for a night in and a home cooked meal. Fine by us too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Barnes / Monaghan Wedding in Maui, HI

The morning after was spent at Brunch back at the Westin. It was fun to relive the previous nights' funny parts and everyone's great memories over a Bloody Mary.

Again afterwards we spent the afternoon dividing time between the pool and the beach. Such a hard life!

Later that evening the Joyners, Creans, Besters-To-Be and the Hutches joined forces and headed down to the Hyatt for the Luau. I had a blast - great company (never know when we are all going to get together again), good food, the outdoors (we didn't even budge when it started raining in the middle of dinner) and decent entertainment. However us oldies were straight back to the hotel afterwards too exhausted to go on.

Me & The Creans @ The Hyatt Luau

ABH and I got up early on our last morning to walk along the beach and get a quick swim in before we head back to reality. Got a taxi back to the airport with the Creans and spent the flight back reflecting on how stoked we were to get the opportunity to make our first trip to Hawaii such a special one. And how can we get back quickly?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Barnes / Monaghan Wedding in Maui, HI

Plenty of relaxing time around the pool and at the beach before we have to get ready for the evening festivities. It is so good to sit in the sun and not worry about anything - work, cell phones, life etc. You just have to not get sunburned.

We caught the early shuttle for the 20 minute ride up to the Ritz, where the wedding is held outside down by the ocean. Just ridiculously beautiful! We waited a while as a storm passed through - just enough to make the wedding party nervous. But the simple ceremony had all the elements of beauty. The waves in the background, a small group of close friends and family, the setting sun and the happy couple. Everyone was so happy it all went well for Greg & Jill.

Regs, Phil, KTel, Creany, ABH & I @ The Ritz

Greg, Mick & Anthony at the ready

Jill & Greg married in paradise
ABH & I after the wedding

The evening then moved back into the hotel where the open reception room, looking over the golf course and the coast, hosted the festivities in style. When the wedding party arrived - the party started. A great meal followed by all the usual wedding frivolities topped off a great day for everyone, especially Greg & Jill. ABH and I are definitely blessed to have such great friends and a good life.

ABH, Phil, Suzanne & KTel @ The Reception

Barnes, Me, Crean, Regs & JJ @ The Reception

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Barnes / Monaghan Wedding in Maui , HI

We made it! We only get 3 nights but is was the wedding I had to get to. Barnesy and Jill were finally getting marries and picked a spot between both families to do so. The beautiful island of Maui. I shuffled some days off work around so that ABH and I could make the journey for the wedding and catch up with some friends.

After an early start our flights to Maui via San Francisco seemed effortless and by 12pm local time, we were ready to find friends and maybe get in some pool time. We ran into most of the crew while having lunch at a bar in our hotel, The Westin Ocean Villas, so the festivities began.

One of my missions for the trip is to get into the ocean every day we are here, and after lunch I started that tradition - switching out between the Pacific and the pool. When we finally got settled into our room, we had little time before getting on the bus to Lahaina to go an a pre-wedding cruise. Wow! This is the life. 3 hours just cruising, with great people, enjoying the good weather and celebrating the love of 2 friends. Doesn't get much better than that.

Creany, Barnes & I cruising Maui

The Bride & Groom

We kicked on for a little while at a local pub, but it had been a long day for ABH and I so we left before the shenanigans got out of hand.

The Creantels

Philby, Barnes & Regs