On Monday, October 24, 2011, I took my first ever trip to Las Vegas, for a reason no less noble than to see Paul Simon in concert again. (I have actually been to Vegas once before that I can remember–on our honeymoon we were passing through and stopped to go to church. I’ve probably passed through on family car trips when I was younger also, but this seems to be the first time that counts, as it were.)
My dad helped us out a ton with various projects in our house over the year (mostly the bathroom), and we felt like we should do something nice for him, so for his birthday we bought him a ticket to the Simon concert in Las Vegas. Of course, I couldn’t let him go alone, so I bought a ticket for myself also, for purely unselfish reasons.
Monday, October 24
We got in the car and left around noon, driving south. We stopped at Quizno’s in Nephi for some food, a few times for gas, and eventually reached LV without incident. We checked in to our hotel (the Paris) and then walked over to Caesar’s Palace for the concert. Our seats were next to an older couple. It turns out that the man’s brother was a teacher at the school in the small Alaskan village where my dad lived and went to school, and they had a grand old time talking about that before the show. The woman assumed that due to my relatively young age I would probably being hearing some older songs that I didn’t know. Har har.
The setlist was similar to the previous concert I attended in April; this time he added Graceland, Mother and Child Reunion, Cecilia, Still Crazy After All These Years, and Pretty Thing, while omitting The Afterlife and Father and Daughter. The setlist was as follows:
- The Boy in the Bubble
- Dazzling Blue
- 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
- So Beautiful or So What
- Mother and Child Reunion
- That Was Your Mother
- Hearts and Bones
- Mystery Train
- Slip Sliding Away
- Peace Like a River
- The Obvious Child
- The Only Living Boy in New York
- Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
- The Sound of Silence
- Gone at Last
- Here Comes the Sun
- Crazy Love, Vol. II
- Late in the Evening
- Pretty Thing
- Still Crazy After All These Years
Cecilia was an audience request, and the performance was nice, but apparently it was substituted for My Little Town, which I think I would have liked to hear more. I loved hearing Dazzling Blue again, as it has become one of my favorite songs from his new album. So Beautiful or So What has also grown on me quite a bit. Hearts and Bones and The Only Living Boy in New York are, as always, some of my absolute favorite songs. I paid more attention during Here Comes the Sun this time, and I was struck by how beautiful the accordion part was. One other interesting thing I noticed is that during one of the choruses of The Boy in the Bubble the words “arrogance and ignorance” were substituted for “miracle and wonder.”
Really, I can’t think of a bad moment from the concert at all, except that it was too short. I would have liked to hear a few classics such as The Boxer and America, and (one can dream) Kathy’s Song. I hope that Paul has another tour or two in him because I would love to go again.
After the concert we walked around the strip for a couple of hours, since I had never seen all the lights and hotels. It was cool to see one time, and maybe go back and see again someday. I was wearing one of my Superman shirts and there were some girls dressed as Supergirl and Wonder Woman who asked me for a picture with them. I had to decline, because really? Another guy asked me why I wasn’t using my super powers to rid the streets of smut, to which I could only reply it was my night off. We found an open restaurant and had some (crappy) food, then headed back to our hotel for bed.
Tuesday, October 25
The next day we checked out of the hotel and stopped in one of the shops for some French pastries, which were pretty tasty, but not quite like I remember from France. Then we headed over to Fry’s Electronics, which we don’t have in Utah and which I wish we did.
We then headed to visit a potential client (call it a business trip FTW) and on the way the clutch in my car stopped working. I was sad because I had just had it worked on a couple of weeks before. Luckily it turned out that the fluid was just drained, which means I have a slow leak somewhere, but at least we were able to put in some new fluid and keep driving.
After the client visit, we headed back to the strip to go on the roller coaster at the New York New York hotel. It was great the first time (in the front car) and not so great the second time (in the second car). You wouldn’t think there would be that much of a different between two adjacent rows, but man alive were we thrown around in that second row. I also got a picture with someone dressed as Mario, which delighted my children.
For dinner we decided on the French restaurant attached to the Paris hotel, and boy was it the best food I have had in a long, long time. I had some yummy escargot as an appetizer, and got my dad to try one. The steak was one of the best I have ever had, and the french fries and green beans were the best, bar none. So, so, good.
After dinner we drove back home, where we arrived sometime after midnight. All in all, it was a great trip.