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.