Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Summer Casino Concerts

I've written so many times about music it must be tiresome. Here's another post about music, kind of...

We have a couple of those dreaded riverboat casinos floating on the river forming the border between our state and the "immoral" neighboring state that allows gambling. I'm not opposed to gambling, I loved the horse races our city used to host for a few months every year. I loved visiting casinos at Lake Tahoe a few years ago. I love a friendly poker game with family or friends. I sometimes play Powerball, and have even bet on a few college football games, with REAL bookies. But I detest local casino gambling in my community. I have never spent a dime gambling, dining, or lodging in one of those damn casinos. My wife put it best, when the casinos first came to our area, we still owned our store. She said "every day of our lives is a gamble. Why do I need another one?"

A couple of years ago one of our casinos started sponsoring outdoors concerts. We're talking some GREAT entertainment in a nice venue. Not too big, it can't hold a thousand people, so it's as intimate as you're going to get outdoors. The first year we saw Indigenous play for $5 a ticket. A great, high-energy blues band that's worth seeing. Last year we saw Robert Randolph and the Family band, the GREATEST live show you will ever experience. Seek them out and see them at any opportunity. We saw Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. We missed Bighead Todd and the Monsters, and Willie Nelson. Every one of these shows was less than $25 a ticket.

In going to these shows, we have to purchase tickets, and, (gasp!) a beer or two. I had thought we'd only give them a few entertainment dollars. But last year we purchased tickets in advance, and twice had to actually enter the hotel to pick up our tickets. The first time, we were in and out, and thought we avoided most of the taint. The second time, well, they gave us lawn chairs. Said it was a bonus to their "good customers" for purchasing tickets early. We kept the chairs. (Hey, back off! They were nice chairs!)

Sigh. We've been sucked into their insidious plan. It's a slow, methodical, breaking down of barriers. Just as certain as that first cigarette will lead to hard drugs, the accepting of those chairs will lead us down the path to a "Preferred Members Platinum Players Card".

All winter long, I've been watching for the release of their summer 2006 concert schedule. Another part of their plan, to get me checking their website every few weeks. But finally today, I see the new schedule.

Jonny Lang
Nickel Creek
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
Los Lobos
George Thorogood
Dwight Yoakum

Those sneaky casino bastards. I'm on a road to ruin.

There's not a throw-away show in the entire line-up. Some of the most incredible, diverse, and significant music available today. Every show will be an experience, as I've personally seen NONE of these bands or artists in a live show before, unless the PBS show "Austin City Limits" counts.

For at least one of these shows the wife and I will have to get a room so we can have a few drinks, relax, and casually stroll upstairs after the show. Shudder. I've been assimilated into their culture. I feel dirty.

But excited.


Sage said...

Go see Bela, she lives in Tampa and plays a lot of local clubs during the year. A real treat indeed!!!
I won't tell if you try to do some excercises on your right arm in front of a machine!!!!

Wish I could see Thorogood outside.

Sharla said...


I buy Powerball tickets and Scratchers every once in a while but not regular like. I've never been to a concert. Don't faint. Seriously, never. I have seen Bill Cosby though...

Jon said...

Sharla - too bad you're not in our area, we'd drag you along. You could dance right along with us. That's why our kids are too embarassed to go to a show with us, they can't stand the sight of their parents gettin' down.

Jon said...

Sage - I'm looking forward to The Flecktones. Victor Wooten, the world's greatest living bass player plays with The Flecktones. It is really eclectic music, a jam / jazz band led by a banjo.

BiPolar Guy said...

Don't let the casino ENDS your fight. The ODDS are still in your favour.