Las Vegas, Nevada

Maybe I'm still on Euro time, after nearly two weeks I'm still waking up very early. So, it was downstairs to breakfast where I found Glenn and road manager Pete McKay already seated at a table overlooking the Santa Monica Pier, beach and ocean. A couple of cups of strong coffee and a plate of pancakes were demolished, then off the gym to either get my heart started or finish it off once and for all. Happily it was the former.

A short mid-afternoon flight brought us to Las Vegas and the strip. I never know what to say about Vegas, you either love or hate it and I'm afraid I fall into the negative category. I have absolutely no interest in the gaming aspect and it has been turned into a Disney-like caricature of....what? I don't know. Models of other cities, a miniature Eiffel Tower, a smaller Sphinx, a seriously abbreviated version of Manhattan complete with Chrysler and Empire State buildings. Nothing about the place has any draw for me, except the desert surrounding the city and the blast furnace of heat that greeted us as we stepped off the plane.

It was our usual venue here, The Hard Rock Hotel's rock club, The Joint. It's appropriately named, just a big bar with a patron capacity of 1,510 and an opportunity for the very well heeled to see their fave rock bands or singers in a "club" atmosphere. It too is as contrived as the town.

Just for the hell of it, I went out in the casino and changed a 20 into singles to throw away in the slots. These are now electronic things that you go through the motion of pulling the lever but can't really get any spin going, it does it for you electronically. The tumblers turn and a digital led read-out tells you if you've won any credits for further pulls. If you like you can hit the "cash out" button and a thermal piece of paper with a bar code is issued from the slot machine which enables you to use that in any other slot or take it to the cashier and actually cash out. The whole thing is completely absurd. After a half hour of winning, losing, winning, losing....I was so bloody bored that I couldn't take any more and left with 5 of my original 20 buck still in my pocket. Ridiculous. Still I have several friends, intelligent, talented, perfectly reasonable people who think Vegas is the cat's ass. Like I said, you love it or hate it.

The gig was good, people drinking and waitresses carrying trays but the whole thing was so surreal that you kind of get into how strange it all is. A couple of drunk guys right on the front row reliving their youths to the point of being escorted out. The only thing missing was a fist fight.

A runner back to LA and everyone to a man was off to their rooms for an early night. THAT'S rock and roll.

So long,