Thursday: Went to see Anthony Cools at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, home of the world’s largest Eiffel Tower that isn’t the Eiffel Tower. Cools is one of those stage hypnotists whose shtick is making allegedly hypnotized audience members do lewd and ridiculous things on stage like disrobing, performing faux sex acts and generally acting like asses. However, despite the predictable and questionably authentic antics, I couldn’t help but actually enjoy myself. And worse, I believe I acquiesced to “going back” at some point after leaving the show Thursday night. What.
Friday: Opened escrow on a house. No biggie.
Saturday: Attended the Vegas Magazine Sixth Anniversary Party at Pure nightclub inside Caesars Palace. I have gone to the Vegas mag anniversary parties every year since 2006, and until this year, they were always held at large, outdoor venues: Green Valley Ranch Resort’s pool in 2006, Mandalay Bay Beach in 2007 and the Palazzo Hotel & Casino’s pool in 2008. These events were typically massive gatherings, involving (at alternating times) daredevil motorcyclists, a live scorpion pit, go-go dancers inside giant floating bubbles, a graffiti wall and, sadly, an American Idol finalist.
But perhaps as an indicator of our weak (but recovering? Right, Obama? Yeah?) economy, this year’s fete was scaled back considerably. First, it was in Pure, which I typically despise. But apparently it’s not such a horrible place when it’s filled with people you know and like as opposed to wall-to-wall d-bags. Secondly, there were no death-defying stunts, pools or annoying singers to be found anywhere. But there were models in fluffy pink wigs, Pussycat Dolls dancing and, supposedly, Vegas mag cover girl Heather Graham hiding somewhere among the masses.
Most importantly, thanks to an equally scaled-back guest list, there were plenty of easily accessible bars serving free drinks and, well, within a two-hour period I may have had more than my share. OK, so a few of us had more than our respective shares. And I may have stumbled out of the club, past the throng of waiting suckers–er, clubgoers–and had to be driven home due to a certain lack of brain-body coordination. But I guess that’s to say, “Thanks, Vegas Magazine for getting me sh*tfaced. Happy anniversary!”
Sunday: Band practice. Working on a cover of Helmet’s “Unsung.” Realizing how bad of a drummer I am. The rest of the band ran through the song without me and they sounded pretty good. Then I came in on the drums and OH MY GOD WHO LET THIS MAN JOIN A BAND DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN PLAYING THE SKIN FLUTE MAKE THE NOISE STOP PLEASE HELP.
Later that night, as if to destroy my fragile musical ego even further, we headed to the new Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel, Casino & Den of Debauchery Even On a Sunday to check out “Supernatural Santana: A Cash Grab on One Man’s Lifetime of Music Featuring Unknown Singers Performing his Greatest Hits.” Yes, Santana is the first rock band to hold a residency at the Hard Rock’s revamped venue, and … hell, it’s Santana. Carlos and his band churned out the songs we all know and love — “Oye Como Va,” “Black Magic Woman,” Maria Maria,” etc., etc. — as well as a few lesser-known tunes that surely only hardcore Santana fans know from one of the man/band’s 36 albums. But despite the music — and band’s — age, Santana poured as much passion into this material as if the songs were days old and not decades old. Sure, the imagery of doves, pivotal moments of hope throughout the last century and the changing face of Carlos Santana was all a bit schmaltzy, but even Carlos’ occasional mini-speeches about love and God and whatnot couldn’t break the rockin’ vibe inside the Joint, even if at times it felt like a church revival.
Oh, and assuming last night wasn’t a lark, the verdict’s in: The new Joint is a goddamned better venue by leaps and bounds than its predecessor. I mean, I already reported on its improved visual appearance, but after actually experiencing a live performance there, I can honestly say that the Pearl (inside the Palms Resort & Whatever) has sonic competition — though the Pearl’s seating arrangements are still far superior.