Sunday, March 30, 2008

Friday Afternoon in the Boneyard

I had big plans to make my first-ever trip to the East Coast this Spring. My friend Wix has been in Rhode Island building toys for Milton Bradley or something and he invited me to come out to visit. Traci’s stint on bedrest, combined with the gov’t extorting a huge amount of taxes from us, however, voided the plans. In consolation, friend Tyler offered to let me use some of his frequent flyer miles to visit him in sunny Las Vegas and enjoy a rock ‘n roll weekend.

We were able to see Strung Out, Bad Religion and Streetlight Manifesto during my 48 hour trip.


Things spilled on me
At the House of Blues, I was standing on the floor, right against the wall that separates the floor from the bar above. Everyone put their half-empty beer cups against the wall (you know, so they could grab 'em later). Any time the crowded pushed back, I stepped on another drink. My shoes were soaked by the end of the show.

At the Extreme Thing festival, the teens were getting restless waiting for Streetlight to come on. Empty water bottles started sailing through the air--no biggie. But water bottles led to empty cans of Red Bull which led to not empty cups of Slushies, which led to flying CDs and shoes. I left feeling very sticky.

Getting kicked out of junior high school
Ty asked me to bring my tennis racquet on the trip. I play tennis once a year with Traci's dad, so I'm really good. Ty didn't know where the closest tennis courts were, so he looked some up on the internet. Our first try yielded a park, but no tennis court. The next spot on the list had a tennis court, but seemed to be a junior high school. The sign said Public Park, so we went on in. A few minutes later, the bell rang and out came all the kids for gym class. We kept playing tennis, but then the coach came over and told us to move on. Yes, we were the two creepy guys hanging out at the junior high in the middle of a school day.

Trip to the boneyard
Las Vegas recently decided that instead of just blowing up all of its old landmarks, it should try to hang on to at least a little bit of history. They are building a Neon Lights museum with old signs from old casinos. In the meantime, they host tours of the "boneyard," a dirt lot full of huge, beat up neon signs. It also has the charm of millions of broken bottles and broken light bulbs everywhere. It was awesome.

The boneyard also had the 30-foot tall leprechaun from the O'Shea's casino. Unlike many of the signs, it was in great shape when it showed up. However, now it was all charred up. Apparently, a bum had been living inside of it and it had caught on fire when he started a fire inside of it.

The best Thai restaurant in North America
When a restaurant boasts something like that, it must be true. The Lotus of Siam is strip mall full of Asian restaurants and billiards halls and may or may not have actually been the best Thai restaurant in North America, but there was a picture of Pat Sajack on the wall, so it probably was.

Bad Religion acoustic
For their encore, BR came out with three acoustic guitars and a stare drum. "I bet you didn't know that we influenced bands like The Eagles and Crosby Stills and Nash," Greg Graffin quipped. They played "Dearly Beloved" from their new record. It was really very good, but it was cool to see, nevertheless. Though I don't like their new album, BR always puts on a good live show.

Strung Out did not flip me off
When I saw Strung Out in Vegas six years ago, lead singer Jason Cruz flipped me off. Me personally. Why? I'm still not sure. I haven't been flipped off many times in my life and up until that point I had never been flipped off by a rock star. There's a first time for everything, I guess.

Great trip. Thanks, Ty.

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