Monday, January 16, 2006

Vegoose II (Electric Boogaloo)

We made our long journey back to the ghetto side of the Vegas Strip and Circus Circus via a nice air conditioned coach. The driver let us know that anything was fair game while we were on the bus, but requested that we not leave a mess. The aroma of Humboldt Co. KB was soon dancing down the aisle and we all strapped in for the video game projected on the large windows at the front of the bus. The guy behind me wouldn't stop talking about how great the Beck set was which only upset me because we had opted to skip his set because of our killer rail position for Phil & Friends. Peaking over the seat I could see that Leigh's eyes were as big as dinner plates. We had skipped out early because he hadn't eaten in 3 days and was in desperate need of calories. Our first day of music had been long, but wasn't anywhere near over.
After grabbing some food(I got Chinese), we started down the alleyway of Circus Circus. In a momentary lapse of reasoning, Leigh decided to spark up a roach when we were less than 100 ft from the back door. Just as he lit it up, he heard some keys moving in behind him. I didn't hear shit. Jeff and I reached the side door just as a Vegas cop yelled at us to stop. My heart sank. Like good friends, Jeff and I headed toward the lobby at a steady pace leaving Leigh to deal with the fuzz. Just as we were about to turn the corner in to the elevator bank, the cop caught up stopping us dead in our tracks. "Were you guys smoking pot in the alley?", he asked. My only reaction was to hold up my bottle of water and bag of food and say, "Chinese food." Like some magical Jedi Mind Trick, he bought it and sent us on our way. Whew! Leigh caught up with us in the room where we told him what a dumb fuck he was. In the early hours of the morning, we went back down to the lobby and found the HUGE roach right where Leigh had dropped it. The Gods were on our side.
I certainly won't go in to the gory details of the early morning. Needless to say it was depraved behavior, at best. Leigh had a ticket and plans to meet up with friends at the late night moe. show at the Aladdin. I decided to walk them down to the lobby and send them off in to the neon night by themselves. As luck would have it(the Gods must be CWAZY!), the couple in front of them waiting for a taxi had just been given two extra tickets for the show. So, now I had a ticket to go. Woot! I called Jeff up in the room, but he decided to pass. We made it to the Aladdin about 1:45am with the band in full swing. We made it through about an hour of their show before we felt the heavy hand of slumber. We bailed. It was for the best, though. We heard the next day that their set had stretched passed 5am.
Jeff took off early Sunday by himself in order to catch some of the early artists that day. I think he caught Spearhead and another I can't recall. We arrived about 2pm and I nearly fell over Leigh's friends I had met the day before during Phil's set as I was looking for a choice spot to catch Ween. It wasn't long before all the usual suspects(including Jeff) were about 50ft back, dead center. Ween came out and were by far the big surprise of the weekend. I had big expectations for their set, but they delivered above and beyond my wildest dreams. During the middle of their set, and in between songs, I got a bit hungry and dug in my bag for one of the bananas I had managed to sneak in. Just as I began to peel it, the band broke in to their song "Bananas & Blow". The whole crew got a good laugh out of that one.
After smoking out with the crew, Ween started to get really weird(in a good way). I don't know the name of the song, but it was played by the band as if they were submerged in molasses with a tripped out effect on the lead singers vocals. One of the coolest aural experiences of my life. It actually sounded as if the band were playing a 45 record at 33 1/3 speed. WAY COOL!
I had been talking up the Flaming Lips to everyone and I was very pleased that practically the whole crew decided to join me for their set. We set up just right of center about 35ft. back. We watched as the band mulled around the stage and set up their own equipment. Later, I found out that this had impressed Leigh.
Their set was spectacular! Wayne actually landed on the audience(from space) in a gigantic clear plastic bubble. As expected, the stage was adorned with a variety of people in animal costumes dancing all about. What I didn't expect was that the band had invited several people in the audience who had come dressed in costume(it being Halloween and all) to join them onstage, as well. To my delight, the guy right next Stephen was dressed as Jerry Garcia! It was more than entertaining to see the Fat Man shake his booty all night long to the Lips. WOOT!
The band had gotten in to the spirit of things by dressing up themselves. Wayne was, of course, in his Armani suit. Stephen was dressed up as a VERY fat Santa, while Kliph and Michael were both in skeleton outfits. Very nice.
Highlights of the set included, a karaoke version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" complete with words projected on the video screen. Two new songs, one of which featured Wayne trading licks with Stephen on a rewired children's toy. And finally, a BLISTERING version of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs"(complete with Bush bashing comments by Wayne to start it off). WOW! I was giddy at this point and just stood their in awe as the crowd headed off toward their next musical adventure.
As I was heading toward the stadium, where the crew had set off to secure a spot for Widespread Panic, I noticed a backpack that looked very familiar to me. I grabbed it and set off. Not a minute later, I ran in to Mark who had realized he had forgotten it and was frantically heading back toward our spot. When he saw that I had it, he was very thankful and gave a huge sigh of relief. Not too much later, I would rescue some of Jeff's personal belongings.
Once in the stadium, Mark and I managed to secure the exact same spot we had the night before. But it wouldn't last. The crowd closed in behind us quickly leaving little, if any, space for the ever growing crew of misfits we were with. Just then, I happened to pull my phone out and noticed it was ringing. I hadn't been able to hear it all day long because of the crowd and P.A. noise and it was just luck I caught the call. It was some guy who had found Jeff's phone somewhere on the grounds of the venue and was looking to return it. (If you remember part 1, this is the second time in as many days that he had lost it, only to have it returned). I hooked up with the guy behind the soundboard and thanked him by telling him that Jeff was just a little ole cowboy from Texas who would be totally lost without his phone. Little did I know how true that statement was. As it turned out, Jeff had been frantically making phone calls back to Texas in order to get my cell phone number. After securing my number, he called me and I greeted him with the information that I had his phone. An even bigger sigh of relief came from him. stoners...sheesh!
Widespread's set was long and jammy. I danced like a man possessed. I looked around and saw Leigh, which reminded me it had been just over 10 years since he and I were in the very same stadium dancing with friends at the last Grateful Dead shows we would see together.
Will it go 'round in circles? It sure as shit will!

Life is strange and wonderful.
Dance hard.
You have to make you're moments in this life.
Rarely do they find you.
This was certainly one for the record books.
Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.....

Thanks to Jeff for coming along. We climbed the Rock of Gibraltar together and then knocked it down. ;^)

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