Just came back from Las Vegas, and it's changed quite a bit since the last time I was there a few years ago. Almost all traces of Rat Pack-era Sin City are gone from "the Strip," from what I could tell. Fine dining used to consist of crappy $3.99 buffets, and shopping used to be for souvenir clocks using dice for numbers. Now star chefs and their expensive restaurants and Rodeo Drive-level shopping malls bring in more money then gambling. Speaking of gambling, you don't even use coins for the slot machines any more! I brought a roll of quarters that I never used - the one-armed bandits now take paper money and credit slips, which means no more chingchingching sounds ever time somebody hits the jackpot. In it's place, music is piped in everywhere. Sinatra? Elvis? Forget it - modern rock rules, from hair metal to such unexpected tunes as the Velvet Underground's "Who Loves The Sun" and The Strangler's (!?) "Golden Brown."
Free lounge performances are apparently a thing of the past, too. Lounges that used to feature dudes in tuxedos belting out the standards now sport djs playing modern dance music.
A few classic performers are still making the scene: Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, Wayne Newton, and Tom Jones, who we caught at the MGM Grand. Sir Tom was great. His voice is as good, if not better then ever. He rocks, funks, swings, and fills his show with flirtatious comments and gestures that make the ladies squeal every time. Not bad for a dude in his late sixties.
But what's up with his new look? Fake tan, beard. I was expecting: but got something closer to this:
Here's a repost of a lounge singer's original ode to Vegas:
Mike Hudson - I'll Take Las Vegas
and a slew of brilliant and/or hilarious lounge versions of rock hits performed by totally unknown (well, except for Louis Prima, of course) performers' private press releases that were probably only available at their shows (often autographed), which I have lovingly ripped from vinyl. I've been collecting these for years, searching used record store bargain bins, garage sales, and thrift shops.
Chet DeMilo - Sunshine Superman
Louis Prima - Mrs Robinson
Carmen D'Oro - Something
Vic Caesar - Norwegian Wood
The Jose Maria Band - Light My Fire
Dick Burns - Bad Bad Leroy Brown/All Of Me
Candi - Philadelphia Freedom
Deb Hyer - Proud Mary
Wayne & Marin Foster - (Can't Get No) Satisfaction
There are a lot of place-themed hotels in Vegas: Paris, New York, Egypt, etc. How about a Las Vegas-themed hotel?