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Trip Report Part 5: Big Mama's, Blue Agave


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Trip Report Part 5: Big Mama's, Blue Agave

Thomas W. | Jan 19, 2006 01:00 PM

Thursday, 12/15

After sleeping a full 6 hours, it was time for that part of my answer
to the question "Yeah, but what will you do in Vegas for a whole week
?" people usually don´t get. I drove down Decatur, stopping here and
there to browse books at Borders, check out Trader Joe`s (no, I didn't
eat at Joe's) or pick up a few gifts for my family. Then, I headed to
the downtown outlet mall for my date with Calvin (Klein, that is) and
picked up some pretty good stuff. Clothes are so much cheaper here it
really pays to spend some tome shopping.

I had a lunch date with Steve at Big Mama`s on Bonanza at Rancho. To
my surprise, nobody was shooting at me when I parked the car, this
having been the matter of some debate on avlv. The place isn´t much to
look at, but still has a nice athmosphere. Steve is every bit as nice
a guy as you´d think knowing him from the group. We spent almost 2
hours solving problems like Iraq, the deep divide in American politics
and the general sucking of Atlanta`s sports teams (just kidding, even
we couldn´t get the Braves to play better). I promised to show up at
this evening´s show at the frog, which greatly seemed to please the
less bearded one of the two banjo players I know personally. He
mumbled something like "and make sure to tell em Steve send me, for my
kickback" and quickly made a run for his car, diving to the left to
avoid some sniper shooting.

After all that excitement, I checked in at the Palms, the only hotel
on this trip I´ve stayed at before. I wasn´t too impressed then, but
the $50 LVA comp combined with a $59 rate proved irresistible.
Check-in was a lot better than last time, friendly, quick and
providing me with room 30111, a partial strip view. It wasn´t too big,
like all the Palm´s regular rooms, but the furniture´s tasteful, th
bath pretty cool and the bed kicks ass. Additionally, they have pretty
cool toilettries now, and free issues of the Rolling Stone and Las
Vegas magazine.

I spent a miserable hour trying to fit everything I´d bought into my
suitcases and prepared for the festivities of the night with a long
hot bath.

I had been told at check-in that the LVA coupon would cover the room
plus restaurant cost up to $50. Bracing for another discussion with
the manager, I went to Blue Agave and ordered the house roast ($19.95,
$10 with coupon - I hoped), a concoction made with obster, crab,
shrimp and scallops in a green chile, tomato and white wine sauce. The
seafood was plentiful and it tasted quite good. Nice atmosphere at the
restaurant, and quite a few good looking ladies.

No time for that, as I wanted to see the greatest living bluegrass
artist. Unfortunately, Gillian Welch wasn´t in town, so I had to
settle for the Pickadillos at the Freaking Frog. You may not know, as
he´s very modest and doesn´t like to post about it, but the banjo
player of this "band" (as you young people call it) actually is a
regular on avlv ! The band seems to be very close (it´s always a good
sign when the drummer shows up an hour after the show has started). I
especially liked the bass player, who seemed to love his instrument a
little bit too much. I wasn´t quite sure whether sexual acts with a
musical instrument in public are a felony in Nevada, but nobody else
seemed to mind. The lead singer´s got a great voice. I entered the
avlv Pickadillos photo competition and generally had a great time. The
pub would be quite nice even without the live music and the band, all
joking aside, is pretty great. My favorite songs were Maggie´s Farm,
Stop in the Name of Love, Elvis Costello´s Watching the Detectives, a
killer version of Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard and our own
Steve´s solo on "Don´t worry, be happy". Go see them, before there
really famous, win the best bluegrass Grammy (typically presented at 7
a.m.) and play the MGM Arena. Of course I got the official cd which
some of the major stars should have signed for me. They didn't, as
they apparently take their first break of the night at around 1 a.m.
If you manage to get a great seat like me, the nice lady beside me
will be happy to explain several government conspiracy theories to

I stayed more than 2 hours, a lot longer than I had originally planned
to. I said farewell to Steve and his charming wife and stopped at the
Pussycat Dolls' Lounge on my way to the hotel. I had seen them on the
Las Vegas tv show and knew that they are basically one voice and some
pretty bodies. I got a coupon for free admission at the restaurant
reservation booth earlier. It was a pretty bizarre experience, the
ladies looking way too excited and happy, occasionally throwing
naughty glances around that were supposed to be saying "I can't really
believe I'm sashaying around in my underwear with all the naughty bits
covered very well. Man, I'm a trip". Somehow, it reminded me of a
Disney version of a Strip club, rather PG 13 than R, and certain not
too offend even most of the bible toting crowd. It still was fun to
watch for free, but got pretty repetetive after 15 minutes. Lots of
girls in the audience too, who used the same kind of glances as the
performers (minus the underwear part).

I went to bed around midnight, too exhausted to check out my favorite
lounge band, the Checkmates, who were playing the midnight show at the
Sahara. Still, a memorable evening.

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