Sometimes you get lucky in Las Vegas, sometimes you don’t. The key is always staying within your budget. You gotta remember you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you get what you need.
I wanted to see the Rolling Stones in Las Vegas on May 11th. I certainly did not want to pay the $150 face value of the cheapest ticket. I’ve seen the band many times – twice at the MGM Grand Garden Arena – and the last time was at the L.A. Forum in 2006 for $65. It was a terrific show with my good friends next to me and a fun tailgate party beforehand. If that’s the last time I see the Stones I can live with it.
|This poster was as close to seeing The Stones as I would get!|
Yet I came into some unexpected money and decided to make the drive to Vegas anyway. After an afternoon at the pool I trudged over to the MGM in the 100 degree heat with $100 cash in my shirt pocket. Usually I have no problem scoring a single ticket to a sold-out show, especially at the casinos who hold back seats for the big-spenders. This was not your typical show. Maybe because the Stones were celebrating their 50th anniversary and those who’d never seen them figured it was their last chance. I’d never seen so many single people trying to buy a ticket who were older than me (and with more cash to spend.) When the show started I realized it was time to go back to the hotel empty handed.
|The "special guest" at the MGM Grand was Katy Perry, not one of my favorites!|
I chatted a bit with some guys who came out to have a smoke and they said the band sounded “good but not great.” Then one of them offered me a ticket for $100. Seemed like a lot of money since the Stones had already reeled off 4 to 5 songs. Someone else said they’d buy it and I surprised myself by letting it go. Half an hour later I was back in the pool sipping a Corona and wondering if I’d made the right decision.
The next day was supposed to be my last in Vegas and it was a scorcher. My car was running great but the air conditioning was on the fritz. I knew I’d have to leave the next day around 8am to make the drive back to L.A. tolerable. Since I had that extra $100 I went to the front desk and arranged to stay an extra day. That took up half of the cash.
The other $50 I ended up spending on a ticket to see Trent Carlini perform as “The King” at the LV Hotel. One of my biggest regrets was never seeing Elvis Presley in the 70s when I went to at least a couple hundred concerts. I’d never even seen an impersonator! I’d heard Carlini was the guy to see in Las Vegas and the way to get there was the Monorail.
What a treat that turned out to be. Not only did the clean and cool monorail drop me off at the concert doorstep but it also provided spectacular views of the city skyline and The Strip. Then Carlini put on a great show that exceeded my expectations. He does not pretend to be Elvis although he wears all the right outfits and sounds just like him. What makes his act unique is the dancing of Ashley Belle, a gorgeous woman who takes the stage alone during Carlini’s costume changes and joins him for innocent cavorting. On “GI Blues” she wore a skimpy Army outfit and a grass skirt for “Blue Hawaii.”
|Ashley and Trent put on a helluva show!|
Its Carlini’s show however and his love for Elvis and his music comes through in a big way. Although he does plenty of hits there’s also some surprises. My favorite had to be “Viva Las Vegas.” It may not have been the real Elvis singing it but when he was done I really felt like I’d hit the jackpot.