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A trip back in time to see Guns N' Roses

Last edit: KickedBoar591 on Saturday, 23rd April 2016 12:36 pm
Last response by KickedBoar591 3rd May 8:10am

Guns Ní Roses is maybe my favorite band of all-time. Maybe my favorite. But I was leery when the band announced that it would be getting back together. I likened it to the return of the Los Angeles Rams. Sure, this was a huge deal to me in my youth, but time caused the wound of their departure to heal. Hell, I loved the Chinese Democracy lineup with Buckethead and Robin Finck.

So there was no chance I was going to buy-in at Coachella. Iím past the part of my life where three days at a music festival is going to be a thing for me. The two Las Vegas shows had me interested, but again, I just couldnít pull the trigger. Spending $300 on 6:5 blackjack seemed less risky. This was Guns Ní Roses after all. Youíve seen the photos of Axl being out of shape in recent years. Hell, they couldnít even come together to accept an award for the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame!

So I saved my cash. No way. They werenít going to suck me in.

Then the Troubadour show in Los Angeles happened. Sounded awesome. Then they had the first night in Las Vegas. And I was one morose mother (expletive) for missing that show. Axl looked and sounded great. The band even looked happy. Shoot, maybe this was going to be a thing after all.

I started to think, maybe Iíll take a solo trip to Vegas for the Saturday show. (Not a true solo trip, seeing that I had friends who would be going, but close to it. Iím still hoping to break my solo trip cherry, and this would be a nice way to meander in.)

My wife asked me at 8 a.m. if I was going to head out to Las Vegas. I said, ďnah. The WWE will be out there in a few months. Letís save our money for that.Ē

Slowly but surely during the day, I checked Stubhub, eBay and other ticket outlets. Even AEG released some obstructed view shows that morning. Then I really started to think about it. Maybe I could just drop everything and get up there for the night.

So I must say this, my wife is awesome. She insisted, from the get-go, to get out of town and get up there. But hey, I donít want to be some lout who just bails to go to a concert. But again, she insisted. She had a good friend visiting from out of town, so after much consideration, I decided to go.

Or more to the point, my wife purchased a ticket for me and booked a room at Hooterís Hotel and Casino so I was on the road by 1 p.m. I was in rainy Las Vegas just after 5 p.m.

I havenít been to Hooterís since it sold last fall. Some strange changes. The bar in front doesnít have tabletop video poker, which seems like a waste to me. There is a nice restaurant (the Mad Onion?) that has a bar on the casino side, but I didnít stop by to see if it had any VP. My experience back in the old days of Hootís was that it had some rather reasonable VP tables in an attempt to draw some locals.

Check-in was really easy. The woman who looked up my reservation was super nice. She even offered to print out my Guns Ní Roses ticket because there isnít a business center on the property, which is really cool. I did tell her, however, that the main reason I was staying at Hooterís and not New York New York was because of the free parking. I even beseeched her to add it in her notes; make it known to management and the like. She did appreciate the sentiment and even confessed a lot of people feel that way.

I also told her that I was only staying in the hotel for a few hours; so donít waste a good room on me. She didnít. Thatís not to say the room wasnít good. I know what to expect here. The room isnít dirty, but itís sure worn. The tube TVs are kind of weird, too.

But the room was on the second floor, without a good look at the pool. But I could see that the pool was closed for construction (I saw that the doors were closed, but thought maybe it was because of the rain). I could also see the villas were stripped down to the studs and some repairs were being made.

A couple of thoughts here. I always believed Hooters had a great pool. It was pretty nice back in the day and thought it was an underrated gem. My buddies and I (and later my wife) liked the nice grounds and the ability to hangout without being part of the scene. It also had a bar nearby which was great. There was also a time when it was 24 hours so you could have a late-night hang during those summer months when itís still like 90 degrees at midnight, but doesnít feel terrible because the sun isnít out.

I now have high hopes that the pool will return to itís glory under the new owner (no matter what the property is branded). And those villas would be sweet, too. I honestly didnít hate the way the Hooterís rooms looked when it was first renovated. Letís be honest, youíre staying at a Hooterís branded casino. Of course your room is going to have hardwood floors and tacky decorations. Iím cool with that. I still have friends who would rather pay cheap as balls room rates and take the party down the road. Or not. Because Iíve had plenty of good times where we took over at table and closed the joint down (figuratively, with this being Las Vegas).

So I donít know if I should be branded with a hat that says ďMake the San Remo Great AgainĒ or not, but this property could be pretty cool. I mean, if it got an SLS-type makeover it would be a very cool property because of the proximity to the NYNY corner. Not like when youíre stranded down on Sahara. Iíd be all about this place. I just wish for once, a casino operator would take a chance on putting a property close to the strip and running it like a downtown casino. Kind of like if Derek Stevens dropped the Golden Gate right where Hooterís stands right now. Is that too much to ask for?

Actually, Iíd prefer Boyd, who would immediately add the $3 Corona/Heineken special. Seriously, I believe that whatever margins you would lose by not charging $10 for a beer would be made up as a volume play.

Iíve almost given up on some place near the strip having great gambling odds, too. Like, I have way too many friends who are happy to play blackjack with crappy rules, that the casinos donít have to reconsider. I went to Vegas in March with eight other dudes. I wouldnít play at the Cosmo because of the rules. But my friends were gambling like idiots, throwing away money. Why should the Cosmo have to accommodate me?

But I will say, I really do hope the owners of the new Hooters will have better odds and cheap limits. And 9/6 VP. I mean, I might as well dream, right?

So get your stuff together new Hooterís owners. I have hopes for you. Actually, Iíll even go so far as to say high hopes. I have high hopes.

On a side note, I did walk through the Tropicana. Itís pretty gorgeous still. Iím a fan. Keep doing what youíre doing.

All right, Iíve gotten off track here. So I dropped my stuff, SSS and then headed over to NYNY to meet some friends before the show. We ate at Shake Shack. But only because my friends were buying. I didnít want to drop any additional coinage into the MGM properties than I needed to. I resigned myself to spending money at T-Mobile because itís way too hard to sneak in beers. But let me tell you about this arena.

Iím a fan. Of most things. But here are the pros and cons.

AEG figured out what they did wrong with Staples Center and got rid of all of the kinks to make a beautiful and very functional arena. The sightlines are amazing. There are not three levels of suites. Just one level, which is perfect. They have some bars at the top that I wasnít able to get up to, but it looked super fun. Itís easy to get into and around. Pretty fantastic as a building. If you get a chance to see a show in Las Vegas at the new arena, I wouldnít hesitate.

But there are a few cons. For one, Guns went on at 11. A miracle for anybody who knows anything about the band. But GNR was on time! The only problem is AEG stopped serving before Midnight. GNR went past 2 a.m.

This isnít Southern California. There is ample public transportation and people staying in the area. You can trust us to curb our own intake. Work this shit out, AEG. Because I wonít be going back to concerts at T-Mobile if you are going to pull this nonsense. Especially if youíre going to make me pour out my drinks before I head into the arena. This is still Las Vegas, right?

Thankfully, I knew GNR was going to play late so I didnít really want to pack on a huge buzz because I knew I was going to need to last. But one more would have really hit the spot.

As for the concert, I loved it. Axl sounded great. ICYMI, Axl broke a bone in his foot so heís using Dave Grohlís throne to perform from. This works in his favor because he doesnít get winded running around stage. Slash is excellent. I was impressed with the way he handled Chinese Democracy. That was really impressive, actually. If you were/are a fan of the band, I implore you to check out a show this summer. You shouldnít be disappointed.

I didnít spend much time at NYNY after the show. I walked into Nine Fine Irishmen, but didnít purchase a drink. I love the band that plays there, but I just saw the greatest rock band of my generation perform and I didnít need to hear any covers. Plus I was committed not to spend more money at MGM/Mirage than I needed to.

I went back to Hooterís to have a couple of nightcaps. The mood was pretty mellow. The tables were relatively full. There was a little excitement. The owners need to find a way to lower the ceilings. Sometimes it seems too cavernous. But I did stop at the bar and it was somewhat full. But there were some Millennial kids enjoying some VP. But not a lot of energy (it was 3 a.m.). Even the prostitutes gave just a half-hearted attempt to strike up a conversation.

In the end, I would give Hooterís another chance in the near future. Iím anxious to hear when the pool is going to open. Had I known the pool was closed, I would have complained about the resort fee. How can you charge a fee if the pool is closed? But I wanted to get to the concert (and didnít know until I was in my room), and there was no way I was going to haggle about it at 7:45 a.m. when I wanted to get on the road.

Seriously. If you are driving back to California on Sunday morning, it seems like 8 a.m. is the breaking hour. Youíre going to hit a ton of traffic. Though, this was a fight weekend and the concert was a huge draw for Californians. But Iím going to say itís a good rule of thumb.

Iíd also recommend T-Mobile arena. Just make you communicate more as to when you are going to cut off alcohol sales.

Overall, fun trip. So happy to be out there. But dang, I'm anxious to get out there again.

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 jinx73 responded on Monday, 25th April 2016

Very nice report. I consider GnR to be my favorite band of all time as well, however, didn't quite have option for T-Mobile or Coachella. Hoping to catch them on the tour, but we'll see how well that goes.

Enjoyed your feedback on the arena and in regards to Hooters, I have to say after visiting it for first time in October, I didn't totally hate the place. I do find your recommendation of them lowering the ceilings an interesting one, and wouldn't have thought of that, but I think you are right, it would drastically change dynamic of floor, and put it more in line with DT properties, which in this case, would likely be a good thing.

I do think they need to blow out some walls in there for the areas with VP bars and such and I think the pit and slot floor is a mess in design, but with the right touch, I do think they could do well there, especially as the strip continues to creep on prices. I've never understood why they didn't just follow the Casino Royale model and declare themselves the low end property up on that end of strip, cheap drinks, cheap gaming, etc.

 KickedBoar591 replied on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016

Thank you for reading. I feel like, "I don't hate this place" is a decent review of Hooters.

I realized this weekend is that I believe the perfect kind of place for Hooters would be to model after the Palms. Which is fitting since the Palms has the world's biggest Hooters.

 Chuckmonster responded on Monday, 25th April 2016

Thank you for the epic Guns run report! Your wife reminds me of mine. She encourages my penchant for Vegas and rock N roll by securing tickets, making plans and pushing me out the door when all other signs say I should stay at home. Misnomer went to this show as well and also had positive thoughts about the arena (discussed on Ep 22 of the VT chat show) and mostly good stuff to say about the band.

I'm very intrigued by your thoughts about Hooters. It doesn't seem all that long ago that San Remo became Hooters and the whole joint smelled like the lumber section at Home Depot. I never understood/was attracted by the Hooters brand, but loved the intimacy, playability and great value of the San Remo. In the right hands, a operator could create a compelling boutique resort on the Strip. This would have been a much better fit for what sbe had in mind for SLS. Probably could've siphoned off a ton of action from Hakkasan and offered compelling array of dining steps away from MGM's murderers row of restaurants. Tropicana - as neat as it is - is deficient in the dining department, at least for now.

Thanks for the extensive and fun report!

 KickedBoar591 replied on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016

My wife is definitely a saint!

I was behind and finally caught up with the podcast, I agree with all of the comments on the show. I'm curious. I'll hopefully be seeing them at Dodger Stadium. I wonder if winded Axl will be back. But overall, I would tell everybody to go.

I said this in a previously reply, but I really like the model that The Palms has. One of the reasons I really like staying there is that they do pretty well with its food options. I like having a high-end restaurant; but also some budget-choices, too. Because you aren't going to eat a 5-star meal every time. Well, at least I don't. I like that they have a Chronic Taco because sometimes I just want a quick burrito before I get back to the tables.

If Hooters had one high-end restaurant and then dropped in a Wahoo's Fish Taco or something, I'd be pretty satisfied. I feel like the Trop is trying to do that, too. And I have confidence they will pull that off.

 anawas responded on Monday, 25th April 2016

The show started at 11pm? And that's 11pm, Pacific time? Wow. I would have expected a normal 7 or 8pm start, especially considering most G-n-R fans aren't 20-somethings on an all-nighter.

Anyway thanks for the great write-up. Tropicana popped my Vegas cherry so I'm happy to see anything positive written about the Trop/MGM/NYNY/Excal corner.

 KickedBoar591 replied on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016

Seriously, it's a miracle Guns n' Roses started so "early." It really is.

And the Trop looks pretty wonderful. As I'm saying, I have high hopes for them. I want to stay there in the near future just as an appreciation for the free parking.

 wpsteel66 responded on Monday, 2nd May 2016

How do you rate the acoustics... I know the arena was built to host concerts but some arenas have great sound while others can be improved.

The upcoming events calendar for this arena is kinda empty over the next few months...I know NHL hockey is being pursued, but no sense building this place just for a couple events per month...anyone hear of any other leads on a primary tenant?

 KickedBoar591 replied on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016

If you've ever been to Staples, sound gets kind of swallowed up because there is a mini-apartment building in the middle of the thing (the luxury boxes). The Arena is very separated and it hurts the sound. Which is why I feel a lot of bands will opt for The Forum in coming years.

T-Mobile avoids all of that. Only one ring of luxury boxes, but they are built in better to the arena. Actually, much better and it really shows. Or sounds.