Vegas: City of Sin
A Twisted Tale of Vegas Nightlife
Submitted by Jay Dawg
March 10, 2003
Here is a rather long-winded tale of my first day in vegas on my most recent
trip. I hope you enjoy it.
Vegas: city of Sin. What is there to say; some people love it, some
people loathe it. Myself, I don't see what the big deal is. It's like any
other resort destination, just much more extreme. Elaborate shows, grand
buffets, huge casino's, and extreme hotels. It's Disneyland for adults, and
if you win a few bucks while you are there, it's like going for a ride on
Mountain without having to wait in line!!! Well regardless of what your
particular take on Vegas is, I love it. So when Phish announced their
which included a two-night run at the Thomas and Mack Center, I was happier
than a pig
Flash ahead several long months of anticipation and a lovely 6 hour cross
country flight: Their I am in the middle of McCarran International
waiting for my amigo Spence to fly in an hour or so after me so the
fun/conspicuous consumption can begin. Every few minutes I see another
of Phish phans reuniting like long lost college friends. A few stop and
chat, most asking me if I have tickets. Time drags but eventually Spence
meet at the baggage claim for his flight. We exchange a quick hello, grab
and as we head for the cab stand, the adventure truly begins.
Another hour or so later, after a brief incident with a rather unscroupulous
cabbie, we are settled into the hotel. Immediately we hit the strip
in search of some frosty beverages to wet our whistles. This proves to be
trouble and in fact Spence manages to get three for the price of two because
of some minor spillage on the part of the alchol gal. Double fisted, I head
north up the strip with spence in tow, leaving behind the safety and shear
opulence of our new home, the Imperial Palace.
Now memories fade fast, especially when those memories are floating in
several gallons of beer, but as I recall the rest of our day flew by in a
torrent of wine, women and song. We bounced in and out of casinos,
occasionally to check them out, but mostly to acquire more brew and relieve
I do remember a brief pit stop in the Venetian for a quick bite to eat. It
was a mostly uneventful meal, however I can say that no tip, regardless of
large, could properly compensate our waitress for the madness she endured.
In fact if you ever find yourself in The Venetians Grand Luxe Cafe
stop by and tell them we send our compliments. While the food is so-so, the
servers are top notch and aparently they must be trained to handle top notch
After nearly being blacklisted from the Venetian, we made our way up the
street via the 301, Las Vegas Boulevard local. Sure, I know what you are
thinking, two high rollers like us taking the bus? Hey, contrary to what
you may think, taking a ride on the local bus is one of the best ways to get
to know the locals. Furthermore the cab fare saved helps defray the
cost of lap dances, ah I mean, cultural events.
Once on Freemont Street things went from bad to downright ugly as our blood
alcohol levels hit optimal levels. In fact at one point in time we were
using the head in Fitzgerald's and Spence was talking trash about some
impersonator that we had seen a sign for. Sure enough, but who should walk
out from one of the stalls, Mr. funny man himself. That's Vegas for you.
like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.
Again, my memories of the next couple of hours are hazy, but I do remember
losing a few things, including my wallet, my virtue, a whole lot of beer and
a few twenty dollar bills. Good news is I found my wallet. The beer turned
up later too...well sort of.
After wearing out our welcome with the Girls of Glitter Gulch, and every
other soul we encountered downtown, we boarded the mother ship once again
and headed for our home on the other end of the cosmos. Once aboard, our
long strange trip got both longer and stranger. We went to the back of the
bus and Spence challenged me to, "bust a rhyme". What happened from there
could best be summed up by saying that Spence pitted me and some local
hoodlum in a rap-off. With spence dropping beats like the Philly native
that he is, we showed up the locals and managed to exit the bus a half an
hour later with all our organs still intact. To say Spence was antagonistic
to this one cat would not be exaggerating, in fact I'm still scratching my
head asking myself as to how we made it back alive. I guess I'm just glad
we were not in L.A.
Back at our hotel, we took a ten minute "breather" and changed into
something a little less casual. I recall it was around midnight (still very
early by Vegas standards), so our pit stop was brief and purposeful. I had
a few places I wanted to show Spence on Friday night because Saturday and
Sunday our evenings would be consumed by the live music of Phish and moe.
It was hard to leave the majestic beauty of the Imperial Palace, but
searched deep and found the energy to continue on.
Back on the worn pavement of the strip we continued to bump into kind peeps
who were obviously in town for the show. Stopping here and there to chat,
we eventually reached a nice spot to stop and relax a moment. While sharing
a jug and some other consumables, we hung out with some new found friends
little while and basked in the beauty of the Fountains at Bellagio. I
feeling very comfortable and not wanting to part company with our new
however our presence was required elsewhere.
A cool ass rickshaw ride later and we found ourselves outside the Boardwalk
Casino. Now this place isn't much to look at, and I certainly wouldn't
recommend eating there, however the Prince tribute band that plays there is
Purple Reign plays most nights in the lounge and all you have to do is buy a
brew and you can enjoy an entire set of music for next to nothing. The lead
singer is a dead ringer for Prince, and while the Casino they play in may
you of some local dive bar that time forgot, the show is cool enough to keep
coming back. Besides, you don't come there to eat or gamble, you got there
your freak on.
When we arrived at the Boardwalk Casino, "Prince" had just gone off stage,
crossed the street and tried to grab a quick brewat the Polo Lounge. After
the elevator to the top of Polo Towers we were a little troubled to hear
cover was $20. I told him we just wanted a beer and that I heard there was
The gent told me that in fact, after 10pm the venue becomes more nightclub
and there is indeed a cover after said time. Our error. After our quick
to the ground floor, we dodged traffic yet again and made our way across the
strip, or at least we tried to. This is when Las Vegas's finest jumped into
Apparently it is illegal to J-walk 8 lanes of traffic, who knew? Officer
hastily informed us that in no uncertain terms we could be arrested on the
Furthermore, it looked as though the officer was already taking a random
African American male into custody. I can't remember the specifics but the
unlucky fellow was laying face down on the grass in the middle of the lush
median strip. I could here the music in the back of my head - Bad Boy, Bad
you gonna do... I new the right play at this point in time was to simply be
apologetic, play dumb and hope for the best. I recall being very concerned
that Spence might say something to piss off the cop, mostly because Spence
appeared to be running on autopilot. Luckily the cop was busy with bigger
local fish and so he threw us back into the sea of tourists. Lesson
learned, we followed the officers' instructions and walked on the median to
the next crosswalk, making our way back to the relative safety of the
After all the drama, it turns out Purple Reign was as good as I remember.
From what I gathered, Spence enjoyed the show too. I was near blind now
the alcohol and was no doubt doing the chicken before long. As this was
their second set of the night, other people were feeling the sauce as well
and consequently the theme of the night was definitely "lets go crazy". If
I had been a little drunker I would have swore Trey came out and jammed with
them, but alas I was not quite there...yet.
After Purple Reign finished up it must have been about 2 am. Spence and I
had been going strong for 12 hours and so it was essentially 5am as far as
our bodies were concerned. I had gotten up around 4:20am that morning to
get ready for my trip to the airport. I gathered that Spence, like me, was
coasting on fumes. Still there was one final spot Spence and I needed to
before we called it a night.
Approximately 20 minutes later we were on the 51st floor of the Rio. We had
bypassed the cover charge as well as the live music inside and headed
straight for arguably the coolest late night spot in Vegas: the patio at the
infamous Voodoo Lounge.
Looking east towards the strip, the VL is a bit of a touristy spot during
the day, complete with its own overpriced theme restaurant. By night
however, when the strip fires up the miles of neon tubes, the lounge is
transformed into one of the coolest venues around. the two other times I
there it has been very chill. Sipping a cocktail, listening to some music
out to the far reaching lights of Las Vegas, I often wonder if there is a
equals the Voodoo.
It being a Friday night (early Saturday), this was not the atmosphere we
encountered. Instead the scene out on the expansive patio was decidedly
more dance-cubbish. There was a DJ spinning the newest mixes and the
majority of the crowd was dancing like they were MTV. I think I saw
Brown trying to stage her comeback on the dance floor.
Spence and I grabbed our last beverages of the night and ambled through the
crowd, eager to get a better vantage point of the excellent views. The
ladies and the strip were equally breathtaking. After taking it all in, I
into the mix and grooved to a familiar tune. Spence was a little more
and whether it was because this wasn't "his bag" or because of pure
I cared not. It wasn't my usual scene either, but when in Vegas...
A little later I caught up with him and he was chatting with some people, I
took a break and wandered over to check on him and catch my breath. The guy
and gal were from across the pond somewhere and they seemed very pleasant.
As memory serves they were brother and sister, which was cool be cause the
lass was a cutie. A remixed version of a popular tune came on and I dragged
the three of them away from the railing towards the animated crowd. We
danced for a little while as the night slowly came to an end.
I don't remember the cab ride back to the Imperial Palace, in fact I barely
remember leaving the Rio. I do however, remember thinking that if Spence
and I were going to survive the next two nights in Las Vegas and the 4
concerts we had yet to attend, we were going to have to do a better job at
pacing ourselves. Needless to say, that never happened... In fact on day
2, Hunter S.
Thompson showed up and things got real ugly. But that, my friends, is
another story for
Reprinted with permission from a letter submitted to My-Vegas.com