My JetBlue flight from JFK went swimmingly. I watched some TV: I witnessed the Red Sox lose and a horrifyingly hilarious episode of Toddlers & Tiaras in which twin sisters are pitted against each other in pageants by their terrifying favourites-picker mother AND another mother's two-week-old baby boy was entered into a pageant to come in as 4th runner up. Seriously, this stuff sticks with you.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I landed smoothly in Vegas around 11pm, though I could have sworn from my window seat that we were going to land on the actual strip as I felt only two feet away from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino when we touched the ground. Luckily, we were on the actual landing strip, not the Vegas strip.
I was tired (as it was 2am New York time) but almost skipped towards the exit because I was so excited to see Jesse and finally be there. My skipping came to a furious halt as soon as I hit the outdoors - there was a literal WALL OF HEAT. The dry air was crawling all over me at 107 degrees at 11pm at night, but I couldn't let it slow me down. Not even the feeling of being in the direct line of a city bus' exhaust pipe as the hot (and not cooling at all) Vegas breeze swept over me could dry out my spirits: I was in Vegas, baby!
When I arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel, I waited for Jesse and his mom in the lobby and when Jesse spotted me, they swept me away through the casino, to the bar in the middle of the place and he handed me a Long Island iced tea. Yep. That's how it started. Soon after, a bunch of the Motion City guys and friends were joining us, as well as some of the members of the band Valencia. We had a raucous conversation into the wee hours of the morning.
The next day, Jesse and I grabbed breakfast with his mother and then while Jesse went off to practice, Sandi and I shopped!! I had mistakenly forgotten my bathingsuits at home and needed a new one. So I bought two, of course. Then I spotted the Bettie Page store and I was in a little bit of heaven. I wanted everything there, but settled on one spectacular gray dress with little white polka dots. Pictures to come of it on its first outing for sure!
We met up with Jesse and then the Motion City guys and a lot of their friends and family! It was a lot of fun to see everyone again (like Christina, Lindsay, and Jill!!!), and we all headed into the Blink-182 show together. It was a little bit ridiculous to find our spot because we had VIP passes but The Joint at the Hard Rock is a little bit of a new venue and it was hectic. When I asked a woman where we were supposed to go, she said we couldn't go upstairs, but then when I pointed out our passes, she had this apologetic look on her face and grabbed my hand and started running up the stairs - while still holding my hands! It was ridiculous and she apologized profusely and I was just laughing because I had no idea what was going on. She brought us to our balcony table where we had a great view of the show.
Motion City ROCKED!! They haven't all played together since last October, before Tony broke his arm, and that night they were on! We were all singing and dancing in the rafters! Then they played their new song which is RAD and you should all have a listen HERE because even though it's live, I think you can tell how good it is.
Blink-182 played next and it was admittedly great to see them all together on stage, live again. I saw them several times in high school and then once on their last tour which was with No Doubt (duh) in 2004. The thing about Blink is that growing up, they were always a lot of fun to listen to, but not that interesting live. Their banter was immature, which was funny for a time, but I quickly grew out of it. Their stage presence left much to be desired and I often yawned at their shows, save for times when Travis had drum solos on their last tour. On Thursday night, I was revved up when they started out with "Dumpweed" and then as the show went on, I slowly began remembering Blink-182 shows from my youth. They were kinda lame. And yes, these shows didn't have any of the production that they will have on this comeback tour, and I really think they need it.
The second show on Friday night convinced me otherwise, however. They sounded better and were much more in tune with each other, I think. I was not really looking forward to watching them again, but I was surprised on such a turnaround of nights. They killed it! I was much more into the show, the crowd was much more into it, and I remembered all the reasons why Blink-182 was such a part of my youth.
But let me back up to Friday morning. After a ridiculously late night partying on Thursday (in which I witnessed Shana Moakler wearing a ratty white tee, sporting a brassy blonde dye job, and playing craps), I woke up on Friday to meet up with one of my best friends, RICK! He lives in Reno, so he flew down for fun!! Jesse had many label things and interviews and soundchecks to do, so I met Rick at the Wynn and we had a delicious brunch. Then we went shopping about Vegas because Reno has no cool stores (does Reno have cool anything?!). Rick then took me around to see some Vegas sights I've never seen - like the Bellagio garden, and the fountain show. It was fun to be a tourist and I had a great tour guide - thanks Rick!!
Then Rick and I decided to go back to the Hard Rock because it has such an awesome pool and I had just bought a bathingsuit so OF COURSE! Fortunately, Jesse had some extra time, as well as Brendan, his wife Jillian, and their daughter Amelia - so we all suited up! UNFORTUNATELY IT STARTED RAINING. And a coolness overcame Vegas and I'm screaming about how "Isn't this the desert?! Why is it raining?! I BOUGHT BATHINGSUITS!" And we trudged back up to change for dinner. A delicious steak dinner, that is. It definitely made up for the lack of swimming weather.
After dinner, we went backstage with Jesse before the show and the elevator door opened to Mark Hoppus and the band members of Chester French. Mark even said hi to me, recognizing my face from LA a couple of months ago. I was definitely surprised, just saying. In the dressing room, we hung out before the show and Sandi was taking lots of pictures with her new camera. Then Mark walked in to say hello and check in on the guys - he's a wicked nice dude, as I witnessed on Friday. Good stuff.
Then Rick enjoyed his first Motion City show EVER! Which, I can't believe, because I remember telling Rick about Motion City years ago in college when he lived across the hall from me. Before I Am the Movie even came out, I was telling Rick about MCS. And Rick and I were show-going partners. And I saw MCS several times during college. But Rick never came!! So strange to me. So it was fitting I should be at his first show, though, and I'm glad he had fun! After the stellar MCS/Blink performances, we all went out to the casino floor and played some slots for fun. I lost $25 the entire weekend, and won $45 that I also lost. Ha. But it was worth it!
The past couple of days had definitely worn on my body however, and Friday night I was EXHAUSTED. I felt ready to pass out on the floor, and I wasn't even drinking. I decided to bid adieu to Jesse, Jillian, and Rick and head to SLEEP! And it felt grand. On Saturday morning, Jesse and I woke up and headed to the airport for the long flight home. I knew Vegas was going to be fun, what with the friends and activities, but it was WAY more fun than I had anticipated, and though I sit here on Monday night still quite tired, I would do it again in a heartbeat...well, give me at least a month...
Oh, PS - here's another reason the Hard Rock Hotel was rad in my book: