This trip originated as an â€œIâ€™m sick of workingâ€ getaway to Vegas. But after booking I found out one of my favorite bands, Cheap Trick would be performing their Sgt. Pepper Live show. Later I scored a discounted ticket to see Cher so this became a go see shows trip. TRANSPORTATION I choose to fly this time. The last time I flew home from Vegas, George Bush chooses that day to arrive in town and snarled the airport. It took me 6 hours to get home (for 50 minutes of air time versus 4-1/2 hours of driving). So after that mess Iâ€™ve been driving my last several trips. The drive over is always fun but that return trip somehow seems twice as long so I decided to try flying again. Well I think Iâ€™m back to driving from now on. My flights were fine but given how early we all have to arrive at the airport to get through security I think it took me 4 hours door-to-door flying compared to about 4-1/2 driving. Even worse was the flight home when the shuttle company insisted on picking me up 2-1/2 hours before my flight. It took 45 minutes from when the shuttle arrived until I was at my gate. Luckily I had a good book to read. LODGING Iâ€™m a no-roller so I donâ€™t expect comps but I sign up for e-mail alerts and look for deals. The Wynn offered $109 / night and I had my choice of an Encore suite, the standard Wynn room, or the panoramic Wynn room. Since Iâ€™ve stayed at Encore but not the Wynn I choose the panoramic room. Check-in was kind of a pain. My confirmation told me to arrive at the south entrance and go to the south tower registration desk. The shuttle driver dropped me at the north entrance so I long hauled my luggage through the casino to the south check-in. Of course when I arrive there the first words out of the clerkâ€™s mouth were â€œwe have 2 registration desks and you belong at the other one.â€ Gee thanks. Now I recognize the south end of Wynn is where the rich, famous, and/or beautiful people roam. Thereâ€™s Alex the super-fancy French restaurant, thereâ€™s a Rolls-Royce parked in the driveway outside, and the south registration desk reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Homer is given the key to the executive wash room. But thatâ€™s where I was told to go so get your story straight Wynn. The clerk did check me in (so at least I didnâ€™t have to long haul my luggage again) and I was given a great room (3729) with a view of the Palazzo and Treasure Island. So out the door I went back to the north side of the resort where I belong with the rest of the â€œordinary folk.â€ GAMBLING Tuesdayâ€™s gambling was absolutely brutal. Blackjack is my game and I canâ€™t recall ever having a day that bad. 21 got me a push more often than not. 20 won me a few hands but also lost or pushed more than a few. Ugh. I played mostly at the Venetian. I like their casino and I can always find a table that fits my budget. On Wednesday I scouted the Wynn and they had nothing but $25 tables. I ended up next door at Encore at a $10 table. How does that work out? Is Wynn for high-rollers and Encore picking up the rest of us? Wednesday was partial comeback day. I ended up winning a couple of hundred back but still ended up down for the trip. I also placed several football bets. I bet 3 road teams for the first week of the NFL season. Looking back on it thatâ€™s a little scary but I liked the odds so weâ€™ll see how it plays out. I also bet the Eagles to win 9 or more games next season. I like Kevin Kolb and I think heâ€™ll actually be an upgrade over NcNabb. Plus Iâ€™m not buying Shanahan turning around the Redskins. He didnâ€™t do squat with the Broncos once Elway retired. I also placed a bet on the US/Algeria world cup match. I bet the draw because I got +250 odds whereas the other 2 bets were both negative odds. Wednesday I made it downstairs to the Sportsbook around the 85th minute. My bet was looking good but if that score held the USA would be eliminated because England was winning their match. But in the 91st minute Donovan cleans up a rebound and drives home the winner. The place absolutely exploded. I lost my bet but the US would advance. Thatâ€™s a losing bet I can live with. DINING Since I was attending shows both nights in town I figured Iâ€™d just wing it for food. First business on Tuesday would be a quick snack. Since I was gambling at the Venetian I headed over to the Grand Canal food court. I grabbed a sandwich at the Panini place. I love that place. They make a great sandwich with quality ingredients for a fairly reasonable (for a luxury hotel) price. A half sandwich is $8, $11 for the full. I had a half mozzarella and tomato Panini hot from the press. Tasty. My show Tuesday night was at Paris so I started heading that way down the strip. I decided to stop in at Caesars Palace to have the 3 course special at Bradley Ogdenâ€™s. When I was in San Francisco visiting friends, I ate at Bradleyâ€™s One Market restaurant and it was fantastic so I wanted to try his LV place. The 3 course special is $30 starts with a salad. I had the Caesar (when at Caesarsâ€¦). It was different than most Caesars. There were several full leafs of romaine, each individually dressed, with croutons and a slice of Romano. It was difficult to eat but delicious. The entrÃ©e offered a choice of fish and chips or a hamburger. I wasnâ€™t in a meat mood so I choice the fish and chips. They were okay, and very generous with the portions (I think there were 5 pieces of fish) but a lady next to me had the hamburger and that looked like a better choice. Dessert was butterscotch pudding with 2 little snickerdoodle cookies. The dessert was light and just right after a very filling dinner. Perhaps it was the 2 glasses of wine I had with dinner but I got lost leaving Caesars. That never happens to me. I have a good sense of direction but the moving walkway I came in on was one way and this was the first time Iâ€™ve set foot in Caesars in probably 20 years and wow, everything has changed. I found myself wandering farther into the forum shops. Finally I got turned around but it wasnâ€™t until I saw Cleopatraâ€™s barge that I recognized my surroundings. The last time I was in Caesars there were only a handful of forum shops and they were right across from the barge (and the sportsbook was in the front of the hotel). Thanks for keeping the barge Caesars so I had one familiar landmark! For breakfast Wednesday morning I went to Tableau. Tableau was great. I ordered the Tableau breakfast ($29). I got coffee and juice (Grapefruit for me) plus a basket of warm pastries with butter and 2 types of jam. The main course includes eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast. I usually donâ€™t eat eggs so I asked my server for extra potatoes. He suggested we let the chef decide to replace the eggs with something else. Well the chefâ€™s choice was 3 beautiful blueberry pancakes. Fantastic! Wednesday night I was going to see Cher so I decided to grab a quick bite at the Wynn. Once again I ventured back to the Country Club. I like that place and they have a 3 course Taste of Wynn menu that is a decent deal ($42). I took a table out on the patio overlooking the 18th hole and the 60 foot waterfall behind the 18th green. For my starter I chose the asparagus gazpacho. What an awesome soup! It was flavorful yet light for a hot summer night. My entrÃ©e was salmon. It was prepared with a sweet/hot chili sauce. The fish was beautifully prepared but I didnâ€™t really care for the chili sauce with it. For dessert I had the blueberry cobbler which I later regretted. It arrived hot from the oven with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream melting on top. It was huge and delicious and enough for two. Unfortunately there was just me and I ate way too much of it which left me feeling stuffed throughout the Cher concert. ENTERTAINMENT Tuesday night I saw Cheap Trick perform Sgt. Pepper live at Paris. What an outstanding show. Iâ€™ve been a Cheap Trick fan since 1978 when I heard Southern Girls on the radio and rushed out to buy their In Color album (yes on vinyl). I go to see them just about every time they come to town but this show was totally different. First of all, there were all the extra musicians. An orchestra, 5 background singers, an extra guitarist, and the Indian musicians for Within You Without You. Couple that with Geoff Emerick himself on the mixing board and the result was fullness to the sound I havenâ€™t heard from Cheap Trick before. The show started with the Sgt. Pepper album played straight through and was followed by some additional Beatles songs and some Cheap Trick originals. Highlights for me were Robin Zander nailing the vocals on Sheâ€™s Leaving Home, Dax Neilson tearing up Ringoâ€™s drum parts on Abbey Road medley, and the Cheap Trick originals. The Paris Theatre was a great setting for the show. The seats were wide and comfortable with great viewing angles to stage. I was on the side, inside aisle, row DD seat 6. There was only one row in front of me so I had a full view of the stage. At the end of the show confetti rains down from the ceiling. There was so much confetti I was actually somewhat afraid I would start sucking it down my lungs so I was fanning in front of my face for clear breathing room. It was quite the sight. After the show there was so much confetti on the ground I saw some kids making snow angels in it! I guess the show has been pretty successful (there were some empty seats at my show in the back sides) that Paris is bringing them back for more shows in August and September. I think I may have to plan another trip to see the show again. Wednesday night I went to see Cher. Iâ€™m by no means a Cher fan but I think sheâ€™s a great entertainer and I wanted to see her Vegas show. I took advantage of a Travelzoo discount and scored a seat in the first mezzanine for $86 (I think thatâ€™s about $40 off). While Iâ€™m glad I went to the show I donâ€™t think I would go again nor recommend the show to others. My first complaint was the seating. The view from the mezzanine was great but the seat was tiny and there was no leg room. The listed start time was 7:30 but when I picked up my ticket the agent said she went on stage at 7:40, but this night the show didnâ€™t start until 7:50. That made from a long evening in an uncomfortable seat. My seat was 1st mezzanine 3, row C, seat 309. My other complaint was with the show itself. Cher didnâ€™t spend much time interacting with the crowd and she seemed uncomfortable when she did. And then she spent much of the show going through costume changes. Iâ€™d estimate that for the 90 minute show she was only on stage for about an hour. And then to top it off she really gave her classic songs (Half Breed, Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, Dark Lady) the short shrift by performing them all together in a medley (Dark Lady got one verse) with a costume change between each one. Yet she found time to do all most full version of cover songs by U2, Bob Seger, and Nazareth that were pretty lame compared to the originals. Hereâ€™s a tip Cher, when you sing your own material people canâ€™t unfavorably compare it to the originals. The good news was after the show I found my way out of the casino without getting lost! WEATHER The weather was fabulous for this trip. It was hot (of course) but not that mind-melting heat you sometimes get in the summer. Perfectly clear blue skies and I would guess the temperature was around 100 most of the day. I did not take advantage of the pool but I imagine it would have been great out there. CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS I think I saw Greg Oden (center for the Portland Trailblazers) in the hallway on my floor at the Wynn. I saw think because I passed him right as I came around the corner from the elevator and my head was about at his stomach level. By the time I adjusted my eyes upward, he had gone past me. Later that night, down in the casino I overheard someone say â€œdid you see Greg Oden walk past?â€ Also when I came back from the Cher show I saw 3 more guys standing together talking in the Wynn casino and all three had be at least 6â€™10â€. So I think there was some kind of basketball get-together, golf tournament, thingy going on there. RANDOM VEGAS OBSERVATIONS Thereâ€™s construction at the Terrace Pointe CafÃ© at the Wynn. Itâ€™s still open but part of it is closed off. Not sure whatâ€™s going on there. They might just be expanding. Daniel Bouludâ€™s restaurant is still there. I thought it was suppose to be closed by now? At the Venetian David Burkeâ€™s restaurant has been replaced by the Timpano Tavern. By first appearances, this does not look like an upgrade at all. They have opened up the space so it is open to all the people passing by (normally not a sign of fine dining) and their menu is very suspect. I never trust restaurants that try to be all things to everyone and that what this appears to be. They have pasta and pizzas and steaks and seafood and hamburgers (what, no sushi?). At the Wynn I saw three backpackers with full packs heading through the casino. These werenâ€™t the kind of backpacks your kids carry books to school. No these were full South Pole expedition, climb Mt. Everest, backpack through Europe packs. So kids, what are you doing at the Wynn? Backpacking between 5 star hotels? Perhaps Steve Wynnâ€™s running a campground out there on his mountain? When the older casinos like Caesars expand so big it seems like they just donâ€™t have the infrastructure to support it. The lineup of cabs at Caesars was huge and blocked the driveway. Throw in a few buses and a couple of confused civilian drivers in the mix and it was a mess. Compare that to the newer hotels like the Wynn or Palazzo and they seem to have the traffic flow much better under control. CONCLUSION I think Iâ€™ll be planning another trip back in the August/September time frame to go see the Cheap Trick show again. Hopefully the blackjack will be kinder to me then. I hope you enjoyed the read.