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Viva Las Vegas
Written by John   
Wednesday, 01 February 2006

Las Vegas...The good, the bad, the NOISE!

So, the one thing that I can do without, when visiting Las Vegas, is the NOISE.

I love that place.  Well, love is not the right word.  It's fun.  I could live there - no worries about mowing the lawn - it's desert! And my allergies didn't bother me at all.

What am I talking about?  This past weeked (January 27-30), my lovely wife took me on a little trip.  The purpose of the trip was two-fold.  First, we've not been alone away from the kids in over a year... nearly 2, I think.  The second was to fulfill a little fantasy of hers and see INXS and their new lead singer J.D. Fortune in concert.

She must have wanted both of these things pretty bad (which one did she want more...?), because she does not like flying.  I can't figure out why, but that's just the way she is. 

Pretty Vegas.  The lights, the Song.

So, we arrive in Las Vegas and lucky for us our room is ready.  Normally they don't let you check in until around 3pm, but when we arrived at 11am they sent us right up to our room.

We stayed at the Luxor.  You know, the pyramid shaped hotel/casino.  The one with the huge light on top that you can see from space.  Egyptian themed throughout.

The rooms in the towers had just been re-done, so we stayed there rather than in the pyramid itself.  A good choice I must say.  The room was very nice.  Large, and with a great bathroom.  A tub and a shower.  My only complaint is that there was no coffee pot!  Holy heck Batman - no coffee?  Of course the first morning there the reason became clear... they want you to go down the elevator and buy 16oz cups of coffee from their "gourmet coffee shop" for $3.00 each.

It really was a nice hotel, and the room was great.  I just have a thing about paying that much for a hotel when all you're going to do is sleep in it and change your clothes...  Next time we'll probably stay somewhere less expensive.  This time it was super convenient - the Concert was next door (ha! - if you call roughly half a mile next door... but those hotels are HUGE!) at the Mandalay Bay. 

Concert Night.

The night of the concert we met a bunch of Beth's friends from the Rockband forums before the show.  A bunch of really nice people assembled, chatted and consumed some very potent and expensive drinks.  Being a homebrewer, I tried a beer they had called Fat Tire.  This beer has a huge following, but I found it a bit blah.

So about 30 minutes before the concert we're all walking through the casino on the way to the concert hall. The bing-bing-bing of slot machines was about to be replaced with something GOOD!  It only took them a few minutes to scan our tickets and show us through into the arena.  The seats were AWESOME!  We were probably no more than 30 feet from the left side of the stage, and just enough "forward" to have a wonderful view of everything.

The stage was set for the Love Hammers, Marty Casey's band.  He was the Runner Up on the Rock Star: INXS show, in case you didn't know. 

The Love Hammers.

Not bad.  They play edgier rock - sort of along the lines of Franz Ferdinand, My Chemical Romance, even maybe Disturbed.  But I like that kind of music, so I enjoyed them very much.  Of course, with the way the day went, I also enjoyed eating 3 chicken fingers for $8.00 and a $6.00 beer.

Marty's vocals tend toward the screamy - which is likely why he didn't win the Rock Star: INXS contest.  Well, that and the fact that JD's voice is so much more soulful and in line with INXS's style and back-catalog.

He does have good stage presence, however, and they drew a crowd - probably two hundred people lined up to see them after the show.  His "Rock Star: INXS" original song Trees drew a huge ovation as well. 

INXS! INXS! INXS! INXS!

It took the roadies less than half an hour to remove the Love Hammers kit from the stage, and get all of INXS's front gear out there.  It was obvious that the BIG stuff was already set up behind the curtain that served as the Love Hammers backdrop.

But we waited.  Previous reports had indicated that there would be a five minute countdown clock before the band took the stage... it seemed like 45 minutes or more had passed since they started setting up and the countdown began... and when it did a cheer went up from the crowd. 

(to be continued) 

Feb 17th...

Ok... can't apologize enough for taking so long to get back to posting.

The concert started.  The stage lit up.  And you could tell JD's voice was not what it ought to be.  Brochitis, we found out later.  The "Long Pause" referred to above was due to JD being seen by a doctor.

But his voice did warm up, and the show did go on.  Devils Party has got to be one of the best songs on the new disk, and that was their opener.  Renditions of Kick, Suicide Blonde, Taste it (including an erotic performance between JD and a mic stand...) , and other favorites.  The band pressed on for 90 minutes before pausing for an encore.

And at the end, all of the band members were hugging JD, telling him it's ok... that he did good, because the poor guy was NOT happy with the quality of his voice.  But the fans cheered.  A good many from out of town, who have been seeing show after show.  For those people, this was probably a low point.  But for us, a great start to a come-back tour for INXS.

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