Saturday, May 26, 2007

Last Night in Vegas

You know the sound: the continual tinka tinka ching blending with babbling chatter. It’s a long walk south through the crowds and construction dust but Lola knows what she wants at the MGM Grand. So sitting at a counter in L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon we finish dinner with a fragrant Armagnac no longer listed on the menu. We have only four bottles left from 1986 says Fred, and you know we have a celebrity present? Yeah Fred, we know Robin Williams has been sitting immediately behind us this last hour. The high roller aspirations are so quintessentially “The Strip”. It's all fake dear but fabulously authentically fake.

Yet yearning for something authentically real we then grab a cab to get away from the all the manipulated and manufactured opulence. The driver is clueless but his dispatcher knows where to find Sand Dollar Blues Lounge. A subdued sign on the side of a two story building is all that marks the doorway. It’s as if the venue proclaims: I ain’t trying to find you if you ain’t trying to find me. Outside people are riding up on bikes and inside Andy Walo is filling an old black walled room with complex and inspired guitars riffs. Years of honing his skills in the Chicago blues bars shows as the band follows his lead through playful, soulful and intense emotions. The dancers and aficionados in the audience rightfully approve. It’s exactly the best place to end up in the darkness of the desert.