Vegas Then…….and Vegas Now

Vegas Then

It was the first girls trip that we took about 10 years ago. Centered around the Iheart Radio concert, we all piled on an excuse to get away. There were six of us. It was timed pretty much right after the first Hangover movie was released. Our friend Amy was ahead of the pack in organizing. She had us listed on every VIP club in advance of landing. She was meeting with concierges to confirm or upgrade our experiences. It was great. She was all in.

The weekend started as expected with some pool time, a little gambling, and a catch up from a friend who had flown in from San Francisco. Then Saturday night hit. Pre game before the concert had everyone feeling like they owned the place.  Dressed up for a big night complete with high heels we continue

We left our cocktail hour to move into the concert venue. As we were shuffling in with the crowd, I look to my right. It’s Mike Tyson. Like Mike Tyson, from the Hangover movie. Complete with a face tattoo and an entourage. I just smiled and gave him a punch on his upper very muscular arm.  I said “Hey Mike Tyson, it’s great to see you. Enjoy the show.” He giggled and laughed. It was like we had entered our own version of the movie.

The concert was great. It was an mish mash line up of Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Salt n Peppa, and closed with Elton John who was just mind blowing amazing. Especially when you were in arms distance of his piano. Special memory that is hard to top. Concert disburses. Amy on the case gets us all into Pure. As we walk in through the VIP line, we notice a crowd surging a bit. We go into a side room with a bar that is about the size of half of a basketball court. Then PDiddy jumps on the side rail next to the DJ and starts pouring Cîroc and performing. At that point in the evening, we had failed stilleto bootcamp. Feet screaming in pain, it was just time to do a shot of vodka. Not for the buzz, but to quet the throbbing that was our feet after being out in Vegas all night with high heel boots and pumps.

In the end, it was a laugh riot and magical night. No one went missing. No one ended up with a baby that was not theirs and no one was left tied up in trunk. Success.

Vegas Now

As I go there for business, Vegas now is not about mixing with the celebrities or even late nights. When I go for work, I always find it strange that there are slot machines dispensing coins on my way to meetings during the day. I find it strange that you can see the “talent” working business men throughout the day and evening. I am typically home like Cinderella by midnight. I will gamble one night because you should if you are in Vegas.  Even farther from the experience of the Hangover movie, but at times still surreal.

Why destination Vegas? I guess it’s just a screaming good deal for a large company to bring their sales force to. All that aside, having to go their multiple times a year, it is a good business case for combat pay don’t you think?

If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free…..karaoke.

 

We need more cowbell.  When you are in public and have an opportunity to sing in front of a room, do you jump at the chance?  Very few people do unless they have the skills to pay the bills.  If public singing, isn’t your bag, there are a few creative ways to even the playing field for a good time.

1. Visit a Norebang (노래방) which means sing room. You can find the 노래방 sign everywhere in Korea especially in entertainment districts or student areas.  If you are not in Korea, you can find sing rooms in nearly every major city and even smaller cities where there is a good representative Asian population.  The first sing room, I went to was in Sydney, Australia and the place was hilariously called Ding, Dang, Dong.  It was pretty late in the evening.  Inhibitions aside, it didn’t take much to belt out every cheesy pop song you could think of.  I found another sing room close to my home in the Washington DC area, called Irock and also visited one in London.  The name of the place in London escapes me, but it was directly across the street of Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club. If you are on that block, I would recommend skipping the sing room because Ronnie Scott’s was pretty magical.

2. Play Karaoke Roulette.  This involves attending a bar or restaurant that is offering public karaoke.  The key to karaoke roulette is that essentially someone in your group picks a song for you and you don’t what you will be singing until it’s chosen.  Like truth or dare, you can’t deny the song so be prepared to be put on the spot.

3. Make your own fun. What if you don’t have a sing room or don’t want to get your groove on in front of total strangers?  Here’s what you can do in any town where you have a decent relationship with the proprietor. My girlfriends and I took over a little wine market for our own karaoke night.  Typically, this place was not crowded.  We offered to bring a gang of fifteen, eat in and liven the place up a bit.  The market had open mike night occasionally so a microphone and speaker was already available.  With years of Halloween costumes in duffle bags, we headed out.  With everything available via apps today, I downloaded a Karaoke app on my IPAD and then we had all the makings of a great night.  Add cowbell and tambourines, it was a memorable inexpensive, girls night out only a couple of miles from home.

4. Last Tip:  Rap songs are for the advanced.  Even if you think you know every word by Mac Miller or Childish Gambino, nailing those lyrics in a crowd is not slight work. To help you stack the deck, here’s the quick list of the best songs to sing and the worst songs to sing.

The Best Songs

1. The Foundations – Build Me Up Buttercup

2. Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart.

3.  Madness – Baggy Trousers

4. Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

5. The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

The Hardest Songs to Sing

1. I Believe In A Thing Called Love – The Darkness

2. Video Games – Lana Del Rey

3. Forgot About Dre – Eminem feat. Dr. Dre

4. Hurt – Christina Aguilera

5. Hello – Adele

So to close, find a place close buy that is willing to host a no-frills costume karaoke evening. Most local businesses are willing to show support and many have a sense of humor.  Gather up those old costumes and put them on grab bag style.  It will be a GNO, that you will remember for some time.