What happens in Vegas...

...is pretty much that my money stays in Vegas. So I abandoned my career as a college basketball handicapper and hit the Strip for some non-gambling sights.

First, The Bellagio, where I caught the admittedly dorky, but still kinda cool Dancing Waters...
...an Ansel Adams show...
...and the Chihuly lobby and conservatory. Wrapped up the day at The Wynn, where I caught John O' Hurley in the Vegas version of Spamalot.
Hurley drew on his Dancing with the Stars experience to be a worthy King Arthur compared to the original Tim Curry. The rest of the cast fared less well tho, particularly Nikki Someoneorother as The Lady of The Lake, a far cry from Sara Ramirez, who you prolly know better as Dirty Hot Callie on Grey's. Also, to condense the show to an hour and a half with no intermission, a couple songs got chopped, but nothing essential. Anyway, good stuff overall.

So that's it for Vegas, next time I check in, it'll be from...


What happens in Vegas...

...prolly will stay here, unless I get blogger-happy and post a bunch. I'm in Sin City for the opening rounds of March Madness. Hoping that SC can be this year's George Mason. Anyway, if I see any white tigers, I'll let you know.


Sex, Death, God and Power Pop

I finally joined The Black Parade a couple of days ago, along with my friend Frank. It was a culmination of a long-held desire (well, at least since the start of this blog). As for my review, a quick preface: while I stand behind my take on TV and movies, I don't profess to be much of an authority on music. My iTunes library isn't gonna impress anyone, my CD rack is mostly filled with scores from movies and I'm often the guy who doesn't realize that that hot new song is, in fact, a decades-old cover. That said, how was My Chemical Romance? With apologies to David Letterman, I'll say they...

Blew. The. Effin. Roof. Off. The. Dump.
(the Effin's mine, not Dave's – it's a familyish blog)

Unfortunately, "Dump" is pretty appropriate. While the view from the floor of the Allstate Arena was pretty good, it sounded like the show was being broadcast from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, MCR managed to rise against the poor sound mix... often due to the "pyrotechnics and strobe lights" that we were warned of on the way in. This was a full-out, old-school arena rock show. Spotlights. Lasers. Lighters. Guns. Blimps. And fire.

Giant, choreographed columns of fire.

The Black Parade is a concept album, loosely hung around the idea of a young dying cancer patient. To open the show, said patient was rolled out on a hospital gurney in front of a black curtain. When the first power chord kicked in, the patient ripped off his gown to reveal himself as Gerard Way, the lead singer, and the curtain dropped to show off the band, dressed in matching black skeletal band outfits. They blistered thru the set, playing the album in order, highlighted by shooting off ticker tape cannons during the title track.

Did I mention the giant, choreographed columns of fire?

Anyway, the crowd ate it up. The crowd, of course, being mostly half my age. If Frank and I wanted to hook up some prom dates, we'd have been in great shape. To be fair, there were a few audience members that weren't half my age... they were, perhaps, a third.

After strutting thru The Black Parade album, the band ditched the skeleton schtick for the encore, dedicating the second set of earlier hits to the "MCRmy" They wiped off the face paint, traded their dead band outfits for traditional leather jackets, and busted out five or six songs in front of a floor-to-ceiling curtain featuring a circle of guns around the word "revenge."

MCR may not be the most original band in the world; Frank pointed out that the lead singer was channeling Freddie Mercury and David Bowie almost pose for pose. Good thing my musical reference drawer is pretty shallow. And while tapping into teenage angst and rebellion has also been done before, it's for a good reason... it's a backbone of good ol' rock and roll.

So a hearty reco on the show – if The Black Parade is coming to your town, break out your best black wardrobe and get ready to revel in darkly beautiful musical excess. As the band says, "Come one, come all to this tragic affair."