Wow, this is my 200th post, and I get to spend it talking about my trip to Las Vegas.
There's a little back story with this, please bear with me.
The last time I went to the Las Vegas strip, the Excalibur Hotel & Casino were brand new, and that was in 1990. It's been almost 20 years. When I do go to Vegas, I usually visit with family in Henderson and never make it to the strip, so this was quite a different trip for me.
The last time I saw Barry live in concert? It was probably around 1992. It's been a while since I've seen him perform.
This trip was thanks to a friend and fellow fan of Barry's, Bev, who had an extra ticket that a friend was not able to use due to a family emergency. I hope things are okay with the family member. It was on the floor, front row, to the left of the stage.
I flew out on Saturday, August 1st, in the afternoon. While waiting at the airport, I watched the 1st half of a movie on my iPod Touch. I decided to make things easier on myself and used my iPod as a mini computer while I was there. With my room's wireless connect I was able to check things and post updates to my facebook page. I loaded 3 movies onto the iPod and selected The Philadelphia Story with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. I love that movie, it always makes me laugh. I watched the last half of the movie at the Las Vegas airport.
The flight was delayed due to an overload at the Las Vegas airport, and while coming into the city experienced some really heavy turbulence. It wasn't just up and down, the plane was also getting shoved sideways. I was thankful to be on the ground.
I don't know why, but I usually hit some issues when I fly to see Barry perform. It's not been all the time, but on very specific instances. In 1987 I went to a fan club convention for him in Washington, D.C. The flight was late and it was delayed, by the time we reached the airport, the airport had closed it's main runway. They tried landing on a shorter runway, only have to abort the landing at the last minute because of tail winds that would have pushed the plane into the Potomac River. We landed in Virginia and was bussed back to Washington National airport. The convention was fantastic, I'm just not in the habit of dying trying to get there.
Since Barry's show is at the Las Vegas Hilton, I decided to stay there to make it easier on myself. It's a very nice hotel, and I got what they call a Grand Room, which is bigger than the basic hotel room.
I was on the 14th floor, here's the view from the hotel room's window:
It was late afternoon by the time I got there, so I walked around the hotel to get my bearings on where things were at. I couldn't find (nor could anyone tell me) where to get a good salad for a late lunch/early dinner, so I ordered one from room service. It wasn't cheap, but it was a huge serving of a very delicious salad.
It was all very high class, I can understand why Barry works out of the Hilton.
After eating, I got ready for the concert. I decided to wear the nice outfit I wore to see Wicked in a few weeks ago. I got my picture taken by the house photographer, and it came out looking really nice.
I met some really nice people at the show, fans of Barry's, whether they belong to the fan club or not. There was a group from England who were there, and there was a lot of excitement and fun from the crowd for Barry. I was so glad to see this, as from what I read on a friend's blog Barry had a rough return back to the Las Vegas stage Thursday night. Because of malfunctions with a portable piano and a change in a few songs in the performance there were some people leaving during the performance of the show. Barry had asked them to stay, but I guess the damage was done.
It wasn't like that on Saturday night, though. His fans, including me, were there with all of our enthusiasm which spreads to the rest of the audience. I was so glad to see this, and to see that so many of us were there, not just because we wanted to see him perform, but to also provide a little support for Barry.
I'm not a great photographer, so I hope you'll bear with me. I didn't take any pictures while Barry was standing directly in front of me, as I thought it might be a distraction for Barry while he's trying to perform. Besides, I love the guy, but I'm not interested in getting pictures close enough to see his nose hair. :o)
I didn't get to shake Barry's hand, the girls sitting next to me did, but when Barry got to me, he looked at me and then walked away to another part of the stage. Shaking his hand would have made this trip really special and I don't know why he did that, but I came to enjoy his music and I did, very much. At the end of the show, the male backup singer, Kye, came over and shook hands with the rest of us in our section, and that really made my night. He was really, really nice, and it wasn't expected (at least by me) for him to do that.
He did some songs from an album he released a few years back based on his childhood at a Brooklyn housing unit called The Mayflower. His songs talk about the different stories of the different residents there. The melodies on this are really beautiful. I was disappointed that Barry didn't do When October Goes, Big Fun or One Voice. Those are also beautiful songs that Barry has written (or co-written). I love listening to Big Fun and played it in my hotel room on my iPod while I was getting ready for the show.
After the show I changed back into my street clothes, ate dinner and took the Monorail to Bally's Paris. I've always wanted to go to Paris, but have never left the U.S. Maybe someday. The Paris Hotel and Casino has a large mock Eiffel Tower that gives elevator rides up to where you can see out over the strip. There was an hour wait for the ride, and given the late hour I was there I decided to skip it, but I did get some pictures of the base and the elevator shaft. The base actually sits inside the casino itself, and the ceilings are painted to look like a blue sky.
I went back to the hotel via the monorail, all in all it took about an hour round trip. Now that I know this, I'll probably stay at the Paris Hotel the next time I'm there.
I had wanted to go see Zowie Bowie at the Palms, but I would have had to get a taxi to get there and back and I was so tired I really didn't want to do that. It was really late, by the time I got back to the hotel from the trip to Paris it was just past midnight and I had to get up early the next morning to fly home.
As it turned out, I couldn't sleep past 5:00 this morning, so I watched the sunrise over the strip. It was really beautiful. While I waited for my shuttle this morning at the hotel, I took one last picture that I thought was really touching.