Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Vegas Friday: The Day Before Vegoose

Editor's Note: If you need help with some slang an lingo, take a peek at this old post which contains a glossary of neo-hippie terms.

After a late night of Blackjack, strip clubs, drinking, and poker, I woke up a slightly hungover and a tad on the ashamed side. I went over my stripper budget after another decadent night of canoodling with exotic dancers at Olympic Garden. I vaguely recalled that I bought Grubby a lap dance from a former late 1980s porn star with breasts that were as rock hard as marble. She couldn't keep her hands off of Grubby's chest and continuously shoved her hands down his shirt and pants. After objectifying naked women for three straight hours and pissing away the equivalent to Paraguay's GDP on lap dances, the Joker and I headed to the poker room at the Excalibur for late night, drunken donkey poker.

On Friday afternoon, I got up and did some quick math on the shitter, where I discovered that I would have to dig into my savings or my bankroll to fund some of this trip to Las Vegas. The last time I went over budget for a trip was 5 years ago during a hash bender in Japan. Since then, I've always come home from a journey with more money than I budgeted. I guess in the end, my trip budget surplus covered my strip club tab.

We ate breakfast at the Luxor before we ran errands and picked up supplies for the weekend like a cooler, beer, water, Gatorade, and various munchies. We returned back to the Excalibur poker room and I sat at Joker's table again. He bluffed me out of a huge pot. I put him on a flush when I had a straight and mucked. He flipped over the same hand I folded. Ouch. I donked off most of my chips and talked to some of the dealers I befriended during my summer stint. I also noticed that Grubby's favorite chip runner, a cute blonde who was the real reason we played so much at Excalibur, was promoted to a dealer. We left before she was supposed to deal at my table. And we never got to spin the wheel. On our way to the Aladdin, I scored some hashish from a guy standing in line at the taxi stand who looked a lot like Dave Grisman.

The plan was to get to the Aladdin and sell an extra ticket that the Joker had. We then had back-to-back shows to see: Dave Matthews (solo) with Tim Reynolds at 8pm and Trey Anastasio Band at Midnight. Both were held at the Aladdin Theatre, but we had to leave after the Dave Matthews show and get back in line and come in to see Trey. Although about half the crowd saw both shows, there was a distinct difference in the remainder of Dave fans and the crowd at a typical Trey/Phish show. I guess I would call the average Dave fan more normal than someone who would be into Phish. The girls looked and acted more like sorority girls than hippie chicks. But any guy who has been to a Dave Matthews Band show would tell you that Dave gets some of the best pussy at his shows. Hands down. Even Daddy agreed with my assessment of the talent in Dave's crowd. Yeah, as my friend Molly reminded me why I went to see Dave Matthews... to hit on sorority chicks. They might dress crunchy and smoke enough dope to get an entire reggae band high, but they also shave their arm pits and wear Victoria's secret g-strings.

Within a few minutes of our arrival at the Aladdin, the Joker sold his extra ticket and I scored some dank from a hippie kid from California. It was a strain of blueberry and smelled delicious. He wanted to sell it to me in the actual casino, but I was too afraid of the eye in the sky, so we did the exchange some place else. We also scored some molly from a spun out dude with a sideways hat. We were set and headed for the bar near the poker room which started to fill up with people heading to the concert. I called AlCantHang for my one and only dial-a-shot during my multi-day bender.

We went into the venue early to scope out the hot chicks. We found our seats, grabbed beers, then went back into the rotunda to ogle at the chicks. The Joker befriended two from Boston and we chatted them up for while before the show began.

We had seats on the right of the stage near the back of the 200 section. The theatre is plush and spacious with a balcony. There's really no bad seats in the house. They do not allow smoking in the venue but that didn't prevent people from sparking up. Dave Matthews sang and played acoustic guitar while sitting on a stool. Tim Reynolds stood and played an amazing guitar and would drop plenty of loops into the mix. Dave kept making horrible Thunder from Down Under jokes and I was convinced afterwards that he was actually gay.

I knew about half of Dave's material and he played a steady mix of DMB and his solo stuff. I walked away super impressed with Tim Reynolds. If Dave played by himself, I dunno if I could have sat through the show... even with all the hot chicks in attendance. But Tim Reynolds held my attention.
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Aladdin Setlist

Set 1: Intro > Bartender, What Will Become of Me, Save Me, Stand Up, Typical Situation, Help Myself, Stay or Leave, ??, Wharehouse, Cry Freedom, Too Much, Two Step, Tim Reynold's Solo, Smooth Operator/Where Are You Going?, Jimi Thing, Old Dirt Hill, When the World Ends, Gravedigger, Crush, Dancing Nancies

Encore: Everyday, Satellite
I kept joking around and saying, "Play Satellite." It's an inside joke that the Joker and I came up with at Deer Creek last year because if you had a guitar in a parking lot of a Phish show, a cute Dave Matthews chick would end up coming over and requesting her favorite song... Satellite by Dave Matthews Band. It's one of my least favorite songs and I kept saying it over and over all night. And on cue, Dave played it at the encore. The Joker and I looked at each other and laughed as we walked out of the theatre. Overall, the show met expectations. The chicks were hot and the music was edible.

We wandered out to the Strip to get some air and noticed that the casino and rotunda area started to fill up wit Phish kids and people getting in line for Trey's Midnight show. Las Vegas Blvd. in front of the Aladdin was turned into a mini-Shakedown Street where tons of people were selling various goods... legal and illegal... like posters, t-shirts, marijuana, and other psychedelics. We shuffled by the masses and wandered into a construction site adjacent to the Aladdin where we smoked up some of the blueberry and marveled at the bright lights of the Strip.

We wandered back over to the front of the casino and sat down to do some more people watching. There was a kid in a tie-dye who looked like he was in high school siting next to us with his girlfriend. She wore a long green dress and looked like she was barely 16 years old. He had a ton of acid to sell but was worried that he would get busted. We joked with him that we were FBI agents, but he sold us some anyway. He mentioned that he had not been to too many shows because he wasn't 21 and most bands that he liked had an age requirement of 21 and older. He was trying to tell the Joker that Cheesekids (teenagers who followed around String Cheese Incident) were good people.

"I know. I live in Boulder," answered the Joker. "I see Cheesekids and the guys in the band all the time."

The kid liked the Cheese and didn't even know they were from Colorado. That's what happens when you chomp on acid every day from ages 16 through 18. Although naive, he seemed nice enough and he had a hot girlfriend who we still couldn't figure out was jail bait or not. For a brief moment, I considered beating the piss out of him, stealing his drugs, and running away to San Francisco with his girlfriend. But then I'd have an Amber Alert on my hands. The federalies would lock me up and throw away the key for sure if I was caught with a glove compartment full of doses.

We went back in for Trey and found our seats, the next to last row in the 200 level. As one guy put it, two more rows back and we're out in the casino. He's the same guy who said, "Phish would have smoked the hell out of this joint!" I agreed but knew that Trey would bring his best efforts. There was a funny poster of Trey in the casino and he was making a face like he was jerking off. The Joker made an assertion that Trey's shows are actual 3 hour long masturbation session where he just jerks off on stage for a while. Ever since Phish broke up, we've had to experience Trey's spank sessions. But like I said earlier, everyone happily soaked up every ounce of his spooge and some Phishkids even sold samples on ebay.

I don't know all of Trey's new material. I know the names of the songs but I'm still not 100% comfortable with everything.
Trey Anastasio Band Aladdin Setlist

Set 1: Air Said to Me, Sleep Again, Money Love and Change, Tuesday, Dark & Down, Drifting, 46 Days, Night Speaks to a Woman, Come as Melody

Trey Acoustic (Setbreak): Invisible, Ether Sunday, Pebbles and Marbles, Bug

Set 2: Shine, Goodbye Head > Mr. Completely, Low

Encore: First Tube
The show started a little late, around 12:40am. The crowd was much more inebriated and more rowdy than Dave's fans. We were cooking pretty hard by then after the molly kicked in twenty minute earlier. Nothing too exciting happened until they started playing Money, Love, and Change. Trey ripped that up and I dug Jen Hartswick's background vocals. Trey played two more new songs before Drifting, an old TAB favorite. Then he busted out the only Phish cover of the set... 46 Days. The highlight (as usual) was Night Speaks to a Woman.

During his setbreaks, Trey's band takes a break while he sits and plays acoustic guitar. Ether Sunday was a nice treat. Pebbles and Marbles is arranged great on an acoustic. I don't like when Phish does it, but Trey manages to do a superb job with it. He ended the mini-set with Bug, another Phish song that I never saw played on acoustic guitar.

Second set was short with only four songs... all jammed out though. Shine is the new single from Trey and he even has a video of it. Eeek gad. At least the video was shot at Red Rocks over the summer during the show that the Joker and I attended. Goodbye Head is a song Trey wrote with his daughter. It's OK, but he could have done something much cooler with that time. The last two songs were the peak of the show... Mr. Completely > Low. The Mr. Completely was intense and that was the first time all night I listened specifically to Skeeto. Low seems to be the one song that they jam out pretty hard. I think it's the equivalent to Phish's version of Character Zero. Trey ends a lot of his sets with Low I discovered.

I put the First Tube vibe out and Trey picked it up. The light show with bubbles was pretty cool. I thought it was a snow machine, but I was spun our pretty hard by then. Overall, it was a good show but not as good as what we saw at Red Rocks this summer. It seems that Trey dropped all the cover songs his band was playing. That's great artistically... to play more original content. however, the newer songs kill the vibe of the show and because not everyone is familiar with his new stuff, most of them are hearing it for the first time and getting used to how it sounds. It takes bands years of playing together before they find a collective rhythm. Trey's band has only been together for a short while and they have more pressure to gel instantly instead of maturing over the years like Phish did. Trey can still bring it. He pays his heart out at every show. If he has fun, I have fun. But you can't help but wonder why Phish broke up. They guys and girls in his band are accomplished. They can be a good band someday. It's hard for me to grasp why Trey ditched three amazing musicians for several good ones.

The show ended and the crowd rushed back into the casino. I yelled, "They're letting the freaks out! Here come the freaks."

Thousands of spun out hippies, Phishkids, wookies, and other weirdos flooded the Aladdin casino floor just around 4am. For a tourist couple who had no idea there was a music festival going on in Vegas, they must have been freaked out to see so many dirty hippies walking around in a jovial daze. The unleashed freaks did nothing to deter the degenerate gamblers from plugging away at the slot machines. The kept their heads down and continued to gamble while they ignored all the weirdness that went down right behind them. Kids were slinging pot and molly behind rows of slot machines, while other spun out hippie chicks watched the various lights on other slots, or headed to the bar for post-show cocktails, or continued to dance at the bar above the poker room.

Grubby was in the poker room at the time and told me that the entire casino reeked of pot. He thought kids were actually smoking it inside. I'm sure that the aromas of various kind buds wafted from the theatre out to the floor. Grubby also said he saw a few braless hippie chicks wander through the poker room.

The Joker and I made our way outside and walked from the Aladdin to the Excalibur. Along the way, we spotted two hookers on Las Vegas Blvd. just outside of Fatburger. The Joker wanted me to teach him how to spot a hooker in Las Vegas and I gave him a quick tutorial. We identified the ladies as they walked right next to us. One was a tall, super thin black woman with a blue wig. Her friend was a portly white girl with a super short skirt and her beer belly slipping out of her top. Two middle-aged tourists also spotted the girls and began to follow them. We walked a few paces behind them. I couldn't tell if they were interested or just fucking around. The black hooker with the blue wig walked up to an older gentleman wearing a suit. He was by himself and she made a decision that the guy was going to be her mark for the moment. The other chubby hooker slowed down and made a phone call while she let her friend do her thing. I assumed she was calling up their pimp telling him that they have a possible john. The old guy walked into the MGM. The black hooker with the blue wig walked in with him, followed by the chubby hooker a few feet behind them. The two middle-aged tourists followed the chubby hooker. I looked at the Joker and motioned towards the MGM front doors. We followed everyone into the casino. We decided to investigate.

By then, the Joker picked up on what girls where hookers and who weren't. As we walked by one of the bars, we saw about a dozen at work. He was amazed at what was going on, but for me, it's just part of Las Vegas. It's not anything out of the ordinary for me to see hookers crawling around a Strip hotel bar. It's simply another integral part to Las Vegas, just like the Bellagio fountains or the all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet.

The black girl with the blue wig struck out with the older gentleman. I assumed he wasn't interested. The middle-aged tourists soon disappeared from sight and we found the two hookers sitting at the hooker bat at the MGM. We sat down for a little while before retreating back to the Excalibur. On our way from New York, New York to Excalibur, I spotted a woman sitting down in front of the Statue of Liberty. She was drunk with a souvenir goblet nearby, she was missing her shoe, and crying hysterically. Another Las Vegas 5am casualty.

We headed to the bar at Mandalay Bay where we met up with some of Joker's friends from Colorado. We all watched the hookers over there work it. One guy had a table of three or four of them and we wondered if he had any idea they were working girls. There was some sort of bull riding contest in town, and a slew of cowboys were all around. They stood out with their tall black cowboys hats, blue jeans, and shiny buckles. Some of them were getting hit on by the hookers. The bar had an interesting mix at 5am with drunken cowboys, spun out hippies, and scantly clad hookers elbowing each other and fighting over which girl is gonna blow the only high roller in the bar.

The Joker is originally from Texas and said, "Tourists from Texas must get a lot of hookers when they come to Vegas, because every time I tell them I used to live in Texas before I moved to Colorado, the hookers start flocking and hit on me even harder."

Since Vegoose was supposed to start in seven hours, we decided to leave Mandalay Bay. We eventually walked back to our room as the sun was coming up over the mountains, and we spotted a hooker walking towards us. The Joker nodded to me with a funny face which said, "Spotting hookers at sunrise is tons of fun."

... to be continued.

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