Monday, November 30, 2009

Viva Las Vegas ... and Thanksgiving tales

This past weekend, Stevie Wonder performed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. This was my first Las Vegas performance (ever), and I had a great time, despite the fact that my stomach decided to attack me starting Saturday afternoon before the concert. I have no idea why, but all of a sudden at 3pm, I started feeling terrible. That feeling lasted straight through the concert, but, true professional I am, I never let it quell my enthusiasm or affect my performance. Hopefully, no one in the audience had a clue as to how bad I felt. I managed to eat a little something before and after the concert, which helped settle my stomach a little bit, but something was definitely wrong.

A few days earlier, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my mother’s side of the family. My intention was to make it out to visit my paternal grandmother early in the day (1 or 2pm), and then head back to my maternal uncle’s home later in the day (5 or 6pm). However, my sister, her kids, my mother and 3 children close to the family all stayed in my house the night before Thanksgiving. Have you ever tried wrangling 5 children and 3 adults so that everyone is ready to go by 1pm? Oh, especially when the kids didn’t go to sleep until 2am? Oh, and the adults didn’t have all of ingredients for their Thanksgiving dishes, and had to go to the store and THEN start cooking?

Yeah…well, visiting my grandmother didn’t happen. We didn’t leave my house until nearly 5pm. Dinner at my uncle’s house was lovely though. He’d requested that I bring my keyboard and amp (yes, working on another holiday…) so that we could have “Karaoke Thanksgiving” after dinner. It actually turned out to be lots of fun, with everyone, including my very talented but shy cousin Torri, either telling a joke or singing a song. I had a great time, but by 9pm my energy was spent. I was back home and in bed by 10pm. Yes, you read that correctly.
10pm!!! Ms. Workaholic of the Decade, Lady Night Owl, was in bed early! After all, I had a flight to catch the next day.

I woke up at 9am Friday morning (I guess I was exhausted, eh?) and methodically set about packing and preparing myself for the quick trip to Las Vegas.

I arrived in Sin City at 4pm, dropped my bags, ate dinner and took a cab over to see my friend Tish Diaz perform (piano and vocals)
in the hit show “Jersey Boys”. I’d heard great reviews for the show, but really wasn’t sure
what to expect. I loved it!!! I was familiar with many of the songs from the show, but had no idea that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were the artists behind them. I was dancing the entire show, and basically couldn’t sit still! It was great to see Tish on stage performing! She was awesome! If you’re in Las Vegas, GO SEE THE SHOW! You’ll love it. : >

After the show, I went with Tish to a performance by a comedy troupe featuring a friend of hers. The show was cute and had funny moments, but I’m not really a “food comedy” type of person, so it wasn’t really my thing. The “Apple Sisters” sang and told jokes in character (1940s radio personalities). Their voices were great, and I did enjoy the parts that didn’t involve food. Um…I won’t spoil the joke, just in case you like food humor…

By the time the comedy show ended, I was starving (maybe all that food humor), but assumed that the restaurants would all be closed. After all it was nearly 1am. I have a visceral aversion to room service ($50 for a salad?? Really?? Come on…), so I went to bed hungry (cue the sad violins). If only I’d had enough clarity of thought to have called the front desk and asked about restaurants. Of course there were restaurants open. DURRRRR! Las Vegas! Now I know!

On Saturday morning, Fausto joined me for my usual walk. We strolled the strip, checking out the architecture and ventured into the Bellagio to see the chocolate fountain. I didn’t partake in the yummy offerings (I’m not really a sugar person), but I will next time, now that I know about it! I then briefly met up with my cousin Tony and his friend, Crystal, in town celebrating Crystal’s birthday. It was a beautiful day, and we walked along the other end of the strip until it was time for me to return to my hotel room to prepare for the show.

As usual, we had celebrities in the audience. This time, Babyface was present, sitting directly in front of me. I’m a big fan of his music, and had to stop myself from staring and saying “wow…that’s Babyface!”, so I could focus on my job! They announced that Mike Tyson was there, but I didn’t see him. He’s been to a few of the shows, so I know he’s a Stevie fan.

Later, after the show, Tish, Tony, Crystal and I went to dinner at Wolfgang Puck (one of the late night restaurants I wasn’t aware of). I was still not feeling great, but the chicken soup did me some good. 3 solid hours of sleep later, I was off again for the airport. Ah, the life of a the traveling musician…I love it! zzzzzzzzz

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