14 May, 2013

USA Adventure: Part 8 - Viva Las Vegas!

Ok, I know it's taken me too long to get to this part of the adventure and at risk of disappointing you, I still haven't gotten all the images downloaded off the camera yet so I don't have ALL the images available, but I will share what I already have. You can look forward to a bumper photo post once I've finally been able to sort through the thousands (literally) of photos. But, into the action of VLV!!
On the Thursday after we'd been shooting we headed back to The Orleans to scrub ourselves up for the offical start of Viva Las Vegas 16! We had a bit of a look in the vendor rooms when they opened but my goodness it was CHAOS up there! There were SO many people packing the stalls it was almost impossible to look at anything, unless you were prepared to push and elbow your way through. Which I was not. So we grabbed some dinner and headed to what was to be our main HQ throughout the festival, Brendan's Irish Pub. Just one of the many venues of the festival, Brendan's seemed to match our music tastes rather well and staying put was certainly much easier than trying to run around to all the different band rooms. We started off with Roy Rapid & The Rhythm Rock Trio, friends of Turtle and Mitchy's from their travels. Next up was Dead Zed's Chopper who added a bit of psychobilly to the mix. We also caught the Hard Fall Hearts before we headed upstairs to the Ballroom for a couple of dances to Ruby Ann. About 2am we called it a night, saving our energy for the next two days which were set to be the biggest.
Friday we had planned to take part in the bowling tournament for a bit of fun but everyone was still recovering from the night before and motivation was low, so we couldn't seem to rustle up a team. Instead, we decided to enjoy the sunshine and headed out to the Pool Party for some hair of the dog. We listened to The Aquasonics and paddled our feet in the water before it was time for me to head inside to get my hair done. By the time I was ready we decided to grab dinner before once again settling in for a night of music. This was when we met the lovely Kristy and Justin as we lined up for dinner. We ended up getting a table together and spent the rest of the night enjoying each others company and drinking...lots. Ha. From dinner we headed back to Brendan's just in time to see The Twistin' Tornados. Next up was Lil' Mo & The Dynaflos, a great doo wop quartet. Considering we don't get much doo wop over here in Oz, this was really fun! As it turns out, Dave who does tenor vocals was also a friend of Kristy and Justin. We spent the rest of the night at Brendan's for the All Night Jumpin' Showcase which was a smorgasbord of musicians jamming in various line ups for 4 hours. It was incredible! Such a fantastic night, we dragged ourselves to bed at about 4:30.
Saturday was the Car Show and despite our late night of drinking, we tried to get ourselves up at a reasonable hour. I was feeling rather under the whether (both hungover and getting a cold) and couldn't be bothered to do much other than put on a dress, touch up my make up, wrap my hair up in a scarf and hide behind sunglasses. We wandered around the car show in the blistering heat and as much as I tried to enjoy myself I felt terrible! I couldn't even shop!! I stuck it out for a bit, long enough to snap a few pics, check out a few rides and make it into the Aussie group photo but I was fading fast and retreated back to the room for a bit of a lie down. I made sure I made it back down to the car show to see Dick Dale and seeing him perform Miserlou was just what I needed to pep myself up. It was also time for me to go and get my hair done again, which also helped to make me feel much better. Covered in sequins and with some fab hair, I made my last jaunt down to the car show area to see Little Richard on the outdoor stage. Even at 80 and in a wheelchair he's still got it! TO see him perform hits like Good Golly Miss Molly live was pretty incredible. Certainly not something I thought I'd ever see in my life.
We then headed inside to catch the last half of Deke's Guitar Geek Show where we were lucky enough to see the performance of the festival, not to mention discover the musician of the festival! Husband of recently discovered blues, rock and roots singer Nikki Hill, Matt Hill is an old black blues man trapped in the body of an unassuming white guy. Matt was AMAZING and his cover of an old Howlin' Wolf song, Howlin' For My Baby was nothing short of transcendent. I've never seen anything like it before and his vocal ability was unbelievable! I'm pretty sure all the men in the room wanted to throw their pants on stage as well! After a quick bite to eat and a moment to digest the amazingness we had just seen, we headed to our favourite haunt Brendan's just in time for Gambler's Mark. We stayed for the All Night Jumpin' Showcase and we're glad we did because not only were we treated to a repeat performance by Matt Hill, we also got to share a table with MARKY RAMONE and his wife!!!! That sure was a highlight, and we couldn't believe it when he got up on stage to perform Surfin' Bird, Rock'n'Roll High School and I Wanna Be Sedated. Too cool!!
Unfortunately the sickness had taken hold and we were really starting to go downhill so at about 2:30 we decided to call it a night. When I woke up on Sunday, I almost wished that I wasn't in the Swimsuit Competition as I felt so poorly I didn't even want to get out of bed. But I dragged myself out from under the covers and made myself look presentable. While I was waiting for our event a Swedish photographer who is putting a book together asked me if he could take some photos of me, so I'll have to keep an eye out for that in future in case I end up somewhere! One of 20 lucky ladies who were chosen to take part in the competition it was a really fun and positive experience. The MC from Bachelor Pad Magazine was a real character and kept the crowd entertained while we pranced around on stage. There were so many amazing costumes and the girl that won DEFINITELY deserved the title! But I didn't have much time to spend congratulating her as I had to race back up to the room for a quick wardrobe change before it was into a limo and off to the Wedding Chapel.
Don't worry, it wasn't ME that got hitched! Some friend's of ours who are a lovely couple and have been engaged for a little while now tied the knot in front of Elvis, some friends and close family. It was a slightly entertaining yet still beautiful ceremony and it was pretty cool to be a part of something like that to totally complete the Vegas experience. The bride looked stunning and it was such a sweet little occasion. We headed back to The Orleans and although there were still plenty of acts on the last night, we felt way too poorly. Considering we knew we still had about 3 weeks of holiday stretching out before us, we didn't want to push ourselves too hard and risk getting REALLY sick and not being able to enjoy our holiday so we had some dinner and then headed to the room to pack up ready to leave the next day and a well-deserved early night!
So that was a quick recap of the VLV weekender! If you missed all the other bits of my USA holiday, you can go back and read all about my adventures in Vegas including my Vegas tattoo as well as all the fun of Arizona, San Diego, Tijuana, Long Beach and Palm Springs. I guess that's all that’s left to cover now...stay tuned for a massive photo post to come!

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