A Taste of the "Old Normal" in Las Vegas
Our long weekend in Las Vegas was so perfect. I don't even know how to begin to describe what it did for me mentally and emotionally. It was like getting a little slice of my pre-cancer life back.. except that I didn't have to go home alone after seeing Ryan on the road because we went together! So in that way it was even better!
We arrived Saturday evening and ran smack into friend/tour manager Dan in the lobby of the Westin. He gave me a "Daaaaaamn..." kinda thing - clearly I look better than the last time any of these guys saw me. We did some wandering around. Found dinner. Yadda yadda. Stopped at a liquor store on the way back to the hotel, picked up a bottle of Maker's Mark, and invited our friend Matt, who arrived shortly after we did, back to have some drinks in the room. Matt is friggin' hilarious and I always enjoy listening to his stories. Even the ones I've already heard. More than once.
|I LOVE The Flamingo. It is ridiculous and awesome.|
|I still have never made it into The Bellagio.|
|Maker's in the room.|
Sunday was Ryan's only real "work" day while we were in town, so we were up super early to meet up with the rest of the crew at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Westin. I grabbed my Americano and Ryan stayed bean-free (it's been WEEKS now...) and as the crew started to filter in, we chatted with everyone. When Tim came in, he was psyched to see me - not sure if he knew I was coming - and that made me feel great. He was super sweet while I was sick, texting me often to check up on me. It was really cool to be there and be HEALTHY. I think it made everyone feel really good. Everyone piled into a couple cars and we rolled up to the old part of town, where the Punk Rock Bowling Festival was. I puttered around backstage while Ryan worked on load in and line checks. Tim and I sat under the tents talking about some music projects and things we were both up to. I ended up hitching a ride back to the hotel with Dan and Tim and getting breakfast with them, Dan's wife, Lindsay, and an enormous gentleman by the name of "Big Chris". The breakfast buffet was outstanding. I wish there was more of that here! I'd get so fat, though! Oh man!!! When Ryan returned, he went to grab food with the other crew dudes, and I waited at the hotel to meet up with another old friend, Stacy, who lives in Vegas now. It had also been about two years since we had seen each other. And as always, it was like not a day had passed. Stacy is the coolest. We pretty much just hung out at the hotel bar as neither of us had wheels. But it was perfect. I love that girl. While we were sitting there, more friends, Spike and Branden, showed up in the lobby on their way to get food. Spike promised me a hug of at LEAST two minutes when we saw each other, and I am pretty sure she delivered and then some! Stacy's husband came to pick her up a little while later, and I finally got to meet him. He is like Ryan, but with less hair and more earrings. Otherwise cute, quiet, smart and funny. I have a feeling if they'd met, they may have fallen in love. Right as they were leaving, Lars showed up. He about RAN into the bar, I thought to hug me, but instead turned around and rubbed his butt on me first. Weirdo! We hugged and laughed and he was SO happy to see me looking well. He ordered an N.A. beer, and we toasted to my health before he had to run off to rehearsal and I had to hightail it over to The Forum Shops to meet up with Spike in... wait for it... THE BIGGEST H&M IN THE WORLD!!! ::swoooooon:: So much stuff we do NOT have in our local H&Ms - my favorite store, by the way. I had a blast shopping with Spike. She is the cutest. I talked her into buying some blue cheetah print skinny jeans and she talked me into buying a gorgeous dress that I will probably have to wear to a wedding or something, it is so lovely. Eventually I met back up with Ryan. We grabbed dinner at the hotel restaurant and then it was time to head back to the venue for the show!! This is when I really started to feel like my old self. Sitting around backstage, waiting for the band to go on. I mentioned this to Matt as we were sitting there and he said that for it to REALLY feel normal, we'd be hanging out in a parking lot in St. Louis on my birthday. Because for literally YEARS, they seemed to be playing in St. Louis, at this sketchy place, right around, if not ON, my birthday. I'd fly or drive out to see my bestie, Daniela, and we'd hang out and talk shit with Matt. It was funny when he said it, and also made me smile. Because even though the band will be in Europe on my birthday, I will be in St. Louis. With Daniela. Because vacations are important and I forgot that somewhere along the way these past few years. Anyhow... after backstage shenanigans and giggles, we headed up to watch the show from stage right, behind Ryan in monitor world. It had been at least a couple years since I last saw the band, and they were still awesome. I had a great time! Could not have been happier. Being with old friends. Hearing great music. It really WAS like life was back to normal. After their show, we walked over to Beauty Bar to try to see Tim Barry, but with Ryan having no ID after the wallet theft in NYC last week, we could not get in. So we watched through the fence from the alley. Tried to flag Tim down afterwards, but somehow we missed each other as we finally got let in by Jill Ragan and he finally got away from the snare of fans to get out to find us. I was sad to miss him, because whenever I see him, I am always happy for days. He is just such a great man. We DID get to watch Chuck Ragan's set from INSIDE the fence, though, which was a more than fair consolation prize. And then we staggered back to the hotel to crash.
|The stage was a mess Saturday morning from the shows the night before.|
|I missed seeing these things. Strange, eh?|
|Tim was playing his acoustic all morning.|
|Awesome capture of Dan and Tim in the car going back to the hotel.|
|Lars and Spike. The cutest cuties ever!|
|Me and Spike. I was doing weird stuff with me feet. To help me be cuter.|
|Matt. Being awesome.|
|Me and Tim. He vetoed the first two for not being Instagram-worthy.|
|Chuck Ragan at Beauty Bar.|
Monday morning... well, Ryan and I pretty much slept through Monday morning. We did not manage to get going until all the breakfast buffets in town were CLOSED. The internet lied to us and told us the one at Imperial Palace had brunch til 2. So we went there. And ended up getting lunch. Which was surprisingly AWESOME! As we were leaving, our Cleveland friends, Dott and Lanza, were checking in. So we had a couple drinks with them and then wandered up the strip a ways to see what we could see. Eventually they got tuckered out and Ryan and I wandered a little further in search of a decent gift shop to get a post card for my homie, Spencer. We have to have walked like a hundred miles. Or maybe more like 6 and a half, according to my highly scientific calculations, just now, on google maps. Regardless, it was far. And my feet hurt. But they did not hurt enough to miss the ride with Dan and Lindsay back to PRB. To see Hot Water Music. Ryan wanted to check them out, as he says their live shows are way better than their records. I have never been into their records, so I hoped he was right... and was he ever! They were phenomenal. After they played, we spotted ANOTHER friend, Gordy, out by the beer tent, so we went to chat with him. Gordy is awesome. Someone needs to hook that guy up with Michael Symon because they would love each other and Gordy is a hell of a chef. While we were talking to him, one of my absolute favorite bands from my high school days, GBH, began to play. I was so geeked to see them, I can't even tell you. Ryan led us back to the backstage and with our magical VIP passes we got to watch them, too, from the stage. The grumpy stage guy made up go behind the drum riser, though. But my awesome husband wasn't having that, and led me back over to monitor world for a better view. It was stellar! I was smiling like a total tool the entire show. Afterwards, with no interest in Pennywise, we went back out to talk to Gordy some more. He, too, gave me a hug and expressed how happy he was that I am a-ok! We have SUCH wonderful friends. As we were getting ready to walk over to the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street to meet up with another friend of Ryan's, we saw Colin and Jock from GBH heading in our direction. Ryan was all, "You wanna get a picture?" But that shit is SO not me... but Ryan wasn't having it. "Come on. They're nice guys." And he dragged me over to them, introduced me, talked about the shows they are doing together on the Europe run this summer, and then made us take a picture. And it was SO RAD! Hehehe. I have never been super-fan-girl before, but this was just too cool. The rest of the night? I have no idea. I was dazed, exhausted, and so so happy. We made it back to the hotel around midnight and snoozed restlessly til 6am when it was time to get up, get breakfast, and head home...
|Me and the fuzzy hubby in front of the fake Trevi Fountain at the Forum Shops.|
|Dott Motherfucking Schneider!|
|Almost back to the hotel after our long-ass walk. Exhausted.|
|Backstage during the GBH show. Wow Wow Wow!!!|
|Me with Jock Blyth and Colin Abrahall from GBH!!!|
|All Important is RIGHT!|
I cannot express enough how happy I am that I went. Thanks so much to Dan for helping with the logistics to make it happen. And lots of love to ALL of our amazing friends we got to see out there. Good times! So, so good. We love you all. So many of you are the people who taught us that friends ARE our family.
Thank you. You have no idea how good it felt.
Love love love, Phoebe