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goodbye to the town I loved so well

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by keno, May 21, 2009.

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  1. keno

    keno obsessed with countdown timers

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    My Trip Report

    Our trip was specifically to go see Ri Ra play at Nine Fine Irishmen for the last night that their violinist, Alana, was playing. She's decided to move on to the next stage of her life after 7 or so years of playing Irish music. She'll still play, but she doesn't plan on being in a band every day. This band works 6 nights a week from 9pm to about 3am. That's a pretty rough schedule. This one event will change forever, the town I love so well.

    Because of poor timing, Emily's parents weren't able to watch out daughter over the weekend so my parents said they'd watch her. Only problem is, my parents live in Lake Havasu, about 2 1/2 hours south of Las Vegas. But, they couldn't come get her until Saturday morning even though we were getting into Vegas on Friday morning. This was our first experience in Vegas with a 5 year old.

    Rental Car Issues
    We rented a car from Thrifty, and it's the last time I'll rent a car in Vegas. We waited around 30 minutes to get into a rental car shuttle to take us to the facility and then close to 2 hours in line at thrifty for a $18.00/day rental. I should have just given up on Thrifty and walked to any of the other rental car places that had no line. It was pure hell. Then, after waiting all that time, I get to the counter and the person 'helping' me decides to start arguing with me about me declining the damage waiver. I politely told him I don't want the damage waiver twice, and he continues to tell me how that's a bad idea and that I must not understand anything about insurance and how it works. This made me a bit upset and I politely informed him that I worked for years as an automobile insurance adjuster and my wife is currently an insurance agent and that I was quite aware of how my policy works. He continued to try and persuade me to get the waiver and I almost started yelling at the guy and then caught myself and simply said, "It doesn't really matter what I say to you, you won't believe that I understand how my policy works, and it doesn't matter what you tell me I'm not going to purchase the waiver." Luckily that shut him up and we were FINALLY off to our rental car.

    Stuff with the kid
    We drove up the strip to show our girl the sites and the first thing she got excited over was the Sphinx at Luxor. She already has a fascination with the sphinx so that was super cool for her. We planned on going directly to the Mirage to see the secret garden so we kept on driving up the strip, showing her all the cool sites along the way. We were quite nervous about her walking through the casinos and trying to go see the slots, but she was a perfect doll and held our hands the whole time. The Secret Garden was interesting, but quite a small little area for the animals. Of course, the tigers and lions pretty much just lie around all day, but a leopard cub was playing with a handler while we were there and she enjoyed that. She also really enjoyed the dolphins and wanted to pet and swim with them. Being that close to the dolphins was pretty cool but I wouldn't pay just to go in again. I'd take her back when she's older to do the trainer experience where she could learn more about the dolphins and get more out of it.

    After lunch at In-n-Out and a quick nap while in the car for the girl, we checked in to NYNY via the invited guest line. Since the room was comped, they gave us a roll away bed for our daughter since they couldn't upgrade us to a suite. The regular line was SOOO long, I'm glad I can use the invited guest line now. We headed up to the room and then the pool for a while for some frolicking in the pool. I was surprised the pool at NYNY was so crowded! normally there aren't that many people there, especially late in the afternoon. After pool time, we headed over to watch the lions at MGM and got there just in time for a feeding session. The lion exhibit at MGM is much better than the exhibit at Mirage, and it's free.

    We were back in our room at about 7pm (we did NOT want to have our girl out and about in Vegas after that) and played for a bit then put her to bed. After she was asleep for a while, Emily went downstairs to see Ri Ra at Nine Fine Irishmen for a couple of hours then she came back up and I went to gamble for a bit, playing blackjack and leaving the table $200 up.

    Our vacation starts!
    Saturday morning my parents were running late so we drove part way towards Havasu to meet up with our daughter. We were going slow, as we had to eat breakfast and all that, and ended up meeting them at Railroad Pass Casino for the kid exchange. We got back to the strip, ran some errands then returned the rental car. We had been up since about 6am that morning and both were pretty tired, but we tried some gambling, didn't do so well, then had some dinner and went to see Ri Ra that night for Alana's last Saturday night. That was loads of fun but we ended up leaving at around 1am, getting a quick bite and then heading to bed just around 2am. Way too early for us in Vegas, but we hadn't really slept much yet.

    Sunday, we slept in late and then decided to head to the forum shops and see if The Palm had the business lunch special on weekends. They did, but they weren't open yet so we shopped a bit. Emily brought some clothes for the evening, but not enough for 3 nights (she wasn't going to go out on the first night...) so she was either going to mix up her wardrobe a bit or look for something new. She ended up with a great new skirt and some awesome new sandals (she needed both anyway) and she felt much better about her last night seeing the band at RiRa. She rarely wears skirts at Ri Ra as we usually get wasted and are standing all night so we dress a bit casual, but as soon as she got there, Alana (the violinist) commented on her wearing a very cute new mini skirt and they talked clothes for a bit, so Emily was very happy she got the new outfit.

    Food Review
    The Palm lunch was very good. We had a choice of two soups or two salads. I choose the caesar salad and she choose the egg drop soup. The caesar salad was very large with lots of dressing, which made it a bit too creamy. The dressing had a nice flavor without too much anchovy flavor. Even though there was slightly too much dressing for me, the lettuce was still very crisp and a nice way to start the meal. The egg drop soup was essentially chicken broth with an egg dropped in. But, it tasted much better than that sounds. While not being too greasy (not a lot of oil floating around the top of the bowl), each bite was incredibly buttery in the best way imaginable. It was a super simple soup done right. Emily thought it was just 'ok', but I found it quite delicious and asked for more than one taste.

    For the main course, we both order the Tenderloin Filets, served with caramelized onions with mushrooms and a bordelaise sauce. We also ordered a nice bottle of Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon for the meal. Even though this was lunch, we were treating it like dinner. The meat was cooked perfectly (medium rare) and was very tender. The caramelized onions weren't quite as sweet and sauteed as I usually like them, but cooking them with the mushrooms didn't allow for much saute time, but really enhanced the flavor. Combining the meat with the onions/mushrooms created an even better taste combination. The cab we choose is quite hearty and stood up excellently with the main course. We also were served a side of homemade potato chips and onion rings which we didn't really eat. I wish we could have another side, but it was the only option. For dessert, there was a choice of cheesecake or key lime pie. I had the cheesecake, Emily the pie. The cheesecake was served with a strawberry drizzle and a side of whipped cream. The cheesecake started in your mouth as a gooey custard bite, then turned into a very sweet cream and finished with a slight sourness. All phases were delicious and one of the best pieces of cheesecake I've had in quite a few years. The key lime pie was very tart and also quite tasty, but pretty much a standard key lime pie. The cheesecake was the star of the dessert. For $22/person plus our bottle of wine, this was easily the best value quality meal I've ever had in Vegas.

    Final Night!
    This is what we came to Vegas for this trip, Alana's final night! We napped that afternoon to be fully ready to go all night. We arrived at the bar earlier than we normally would to talk to them before the set started and to talk to a bunch of other folks that are regulars as well. Everyone was in great spirits and the drinks were flowing ALL night. For many of the regulars, we ended up getting many more beers than our bill showed. It was basically a love fest all night between the employees that work there saying good bye to Alana and the regulars there to say good bye as well. As the night went on, there were about 30 - 40 regulars there to enjoy one final night of Alana and her music. Ri Ra will continue on with a new violinist, but it will always be different. The energy in the bar is hard to explain, but imagine that half the bar all knows each other and loves every song the band is playing and they all sing along with 75% of the music. Pure fun. A friend of my from college was in Vegas (we didn't know we'd both be in Vegas until Friday, as we've lost touch over the years but reconnected on Facebook...) and I texted them to come over as we weren't going to leave to meet up for drinks. They showed up during the 2nd set or so and had a complete blast. They'd never heard Irish music before but both (her and her husband) fell in love with the music. The husband even started singing along in all the right parts (many Irish songs have parts where the audience is supposed to yell out or sing out a line or two). He had a blast. In fact, they left around midnight or so, but then showed up around 20 minutes later. They decided they weren't going to find anything better to do that night as it was such a good time in the bar. I've been telling people for YEARS to head to this bar and they will LOVE it, it proved itself this night!

    At the end of the final set, the leader of the band, Daryl, gave a nice farewell to Alana and together they played, for the last time, the first song they ever played together almost 7 years ago. It was a very sweet moment and brought many of the audience to tears. For me, music is very moving and a very important part of my life. Listening to live music and getting to know the people who play it is even more special. Musicians are artists and they can touch your soul, as Alana did for me. Here is her last song, with an intro by Daryl. The video is a bit long (about 9 minutes), but just cue up a couple of seconds of the music and see how much these two love playing music and performing for people. If you want to just get to the music, you'll need to skip to 2:59

    [YOUTUBE]0zcWF8HF6Qw[/YOUTUBE]


    That's it! The happiest and saddest trip report I've ever written. Thanks for sticking around for so long (if you have). Vegas will always be great, but it will never, never ever be the same as it was. The next trip will be exciting to see the new band mate, but so hard not to see a great person, friend and beautiful artist playing in the town I love so well.


    Now the music's gone but they carry on
    For their spirit's been bruised, never broken
    They will not forget but their hearts are set
    on tomorrow and peace once again
    For what's done is done and what's won is won
    and what's lost is lost and gone forever
    I can only pray for a bright, brand new day
    in the town I loved so well

    -lyrics from "The Town I Loved So Well" (you can find it on YouTube) ​
     
  2. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Sorry we didn't get to meet up Ken, but it sounds like you all had a blast anyway.

    Good job my man :thumbsup:
     
  3. SnertAlert

    SnertAlert Toast Smuggler

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    Excellent trip report Ken! Makes me wish I had stayed in Vegas for a bit longer....
     
  4. keno

    keno obsessed with countdown timers

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    Yeah, I'm bummed we didn't meet up as well. But like I said, the trip was all about supporting a friend and my own selfishness one last time. Any other weekend and it would have been different. But, I did have a most amazing time. And I was quite happy to catch up with an old and very good friend who had never been to NFI before. That was pretty cool.
     
  5. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Thanks for posting. Well done.

    later, GVJ
     
  6. zerofan

    zerofan VIP Whale

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    Nice TR man! By the title of the thread I thought you were never going to Vegas again!
     
  7. Hoopswife

    Hoopswife Low-Roller

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    I enjoyed your report very much. You managed to combine your vegas experience with your daughter and something completely different but yet very meaningful to you and your wife in one trip. Well done.
     
  8. teambeam

    teambeam Tourist

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    great video
     
  9. Beach Crazy

    Beach Crazy Hostess With the Mostess

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    Nice write up as always Ken! I have just got to try The Palm...one of these days I'm going to do that. :peace:
     
  10. keno

    keno obsessed with countdown timers

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    You really do. For just $22/person, it's a super value and some really good food. And it's every day, not just weekdays. We'll go back for sure.
     
  11. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Lovely tribute to your friend and a great TR

    Glad you were able to attend Alanna's *sendoff* tis what its all about really :)
     
  12. Sheltie Lover

    Sheltie Lover Low-Roller

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    Nice trip report and thanks for posting the music. I remember listening to them in the past.

    Did not make it there last week. First trip to Vegas we did not go:(

    Hope to meet up with some of you in Sept.:beer:
     
  13. pywakit

    pywakit Low-Roller

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    Very nice TR and glad you were able to see a good friend and artist off to a new beginning..music is the soul of our lives and it can touch us all in a very good way.
     
  14. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin VIP Whale

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    So did I ....scared the crap outta me for a minute...:confused2:

    Sounds like you had a great trip and even enjoyed seeing Vegas for a day and night from a childs eyes.:thumbsup:
     
  15. keno

    keno obsessed with countdown timers

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    That was kind of the plan, glad it worked :)
     
  16. keno

    keno obsessed with countdown timers

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    We did have a great time. I'd even say it was amazing. I did enjoy letting our little one see some of the things we've talked to her about, but I don't plan on bringing her back anytime soon. I was happy it worked out so easily this time though.
     
  17. robjen+3

    robjen+3 Tourist

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    Had the same thing happen mate. Our last trip was the first time we had rented a car there, and I feel my blood boiling now as I read this. I suppose they do work off commision somewhat, but there's a fine line between being a salesman and a DB.

    Glad to hear the rest of the trip went well!
     
  18. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Tourist

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    nice trip report. If you ever have your five year old with you again, she would love Circus Circus. :peace:
     
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