Tuesday, February 03, 2009

GREAT UNCONFORMITY

Just back from a great and much-needed fortnight's vacation in Las Vegas - already looking forward to going back soon. I regretted not seeing Tom Jones at Caesars Palace in 1984, so his amazingly dynamic and flawless performance at the MGM Grand was a very special treat. TJ did all the classics, some cool new standards, and importantly, no 'trendy' nonsense like Nirvana cover versions. Other exceptional shows included Cirque du Soleil's Ka, and their spellbinding production O - the latter taking place at Bellagio's specially designed (at astronomical cost) aquatic theatre; it was only after seeing it that I learned about some of the behind-the-scenes magic; beautiful transparent concessions, if ever there were. Neither shall I ever forget the view from the West Rim of the Grand Canyon - more than 200 miles of beautifully clear sunny winter visibility.

I could easily write for hours on the subject of this most fascinating of cities, but here wanted to make just one other observation. On rare occasions you see small children in the revitalised downtown Fremont area or around the major theme casinos along the Strip, along with their parents, brought either in the mistaken belief that Vegas is a family-friendly city, or because there's no-one else to look after them back home. In a society and culture where children are customarily treated with such deference, and have such powerful status and protection, it's remarkable to see the invariable look of haunted bewilderment, powerlessness, and isolation on these kids' faces - it almost makes you feel sorry for them.

3 comments:

Walter Peck said...

I went to Las Vegas as a kid and from what I can recall I loved it.

Some of my earliest memories are of my dad winning me an unbelievable amount of cuddly toys at Circus Circus.

I also remember that in most of the hotels, kids were allowed to walk through the Casinos, but only along certain paths. I've got vague memories of being dazzled by the whole vibe and atmosphere of the Casino, but not being able to cross over onto the actual Casino floor.

In fact, the only unpleasent memories I have of that holiday are of the unbelievably intense heat, which my pasty 5 year old Scottish body was not prepared for.

I'd love to go back as an adult. I'm guessing it would be a very different experience than the last time,

William Bennett said...

yes, indeed - Circus Circus is now a sad echo of those distant halcyon days; in fact, I heard that a wrecking ball will be taken to it in a year or two - I too fondly remember in '84 enjoying winning armfuls of cuddly toys; Las Vegas seems to evolve at a frighteningly fast pace by any other city's standards

Grandpa Scorpion said...

Did you get a chance to check out the parasols at the Wynn casino, William?

Stupefyingly gorgeous.

It fascinates me also how Vegas is such an outpost. Much of Nevada is no man's land and you are recommended to know survival skills if you plan to drive through some parts of it.