Well, last week I popped over to the land of..."GOOD LUCK SIR" for a couple concerts at the Hard Rock's JOINT. THE DUKES OF SEPTEMBER RHYTHUM REVIEW on Saturday night and VAN MORRISON on Sunday evening...came home early Monday morning. The Dukes...Grammy Award winning singer songwriters Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs teamed up for a nation wide, 6 week tour that ended in Vegas last Saturday night. IT WAS GREAT! They played a mix of blue-eyed soul, rock, jazz, and R&B. Levon Helm (The Band), Ray Charles, GreatfulDead, Aretha Franklin, The Beach Boys, ThunderClap Newman, Chuck Berry, O'Jays...they really mixed it up PLUS...each played several of their own biggest hits backed by the rest of the guys and the BIG band. THE HOUSE WAS FULL AND THE JOINT WAS-A-ROCKIN'! (watch for a LIVE album or a concert DVD...) I got my usual Ipanima Tower room, pool view...14th floor this time (it varies between my original, lucky 13th floor up to the 18th, I never know) I did most of my 'play' across the street at the PALMS. Ate most of my meals at the World Buffet or All American Bar and Grill, there in the RIO. One thing I was a bit disappointed with...I go to the World Buffet in the late morning (10:45ish) This way, you pay the breakfast price and stay for lunch (11:00) but... NOT ANY MORE (the choices that is) Not too long ago, the breakfast choices were moved away and meat, chicken and fish dishes were set out for lunch. Now, they hold those items back til dinner. You still have the carving station, asian, pasta, sushi, and salads...they're always up 'n running. This is my main meal of the day and my largest portions are made of of mostly salad and fruit anyway so I didn't care...(MUCH!)...but I missed the sea bass and trout choices....CUTTIN' BACK, EVERYBODY'S CUTTIN' BACK. I've mentioned, I'm giving up 'slots' for video poker only. Well...THEY haven't given ME up. They still remember me very well and were 'talkin' to me, YELLIN' AT ME...so, not being one who makes a habbit of burin' bridges, I played a couple of my ol' favorites. 'Texas Tea', 'Dancing Dolphins' and I go waaaaay back. Playing my usual MAX LINE/3 coin, 5cent denomination, I hit a couple bonus rounds on each machine. THEY JUST DON'T PAY OUT ANY MORE! Harrah's has cut back the pay out so much, that they're just no fun to play. I met the RIO's 'new' slot manager. He'd just moved over from Caesars. HE WAS IN COMPLETE DENIAL about any lowering of the pay outs on ANY Harrah's slot machines. BALDERDASH! EL TORO CRAPO! Isn't it funny how all these floor managers aren't gamblers. I haven't met one yet who say they play...ANYTHING!. Maybe if 'WE' looked more like 'bean sheets' they could relate to us more and our gaming wishes huh... 'Texas Tea's oil rigs payed half of what they used to (BP must have taken them over...) and when I got the 3 'treasure chest'-9 free spins on 'Dancing Dolphins'...5 of the spins were NOTHING! BOTH TIMES I HIT IT. It used to pay great! That was THE END (again, lol) of my slot play this trip. The main pools were open, topless side closed. Thunder and lightning cleared and closed the pool on Saturday afternoon...light rain both days off 'n on. Sunday I woke up with a stiff neck and headache...I slept on myself wrong or something... I ate at the buffet, wondered around for a bit, then went back to bed. That night was the Van Morrison Show, with his full band...again, at the JOINT. Woke up feeling fine (3:00pm) and took a cab over to the PALMS to play a bit of video poker before the Show. I got in the cab, and there...on the floor...in between my feet...was a shiny, new penny. Ya remember the ol' rhyme...find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck?....I PICKED IT UP. Van Morrison holds court totally different then the Dukes. The Dukes and their band, spread out all across the stage the way most groups do. Normal rhythm section, horns, 2 background singers and themselves. Morrison builds the band around him. He's in the center, surrounded by monitor speakers, tables for his water, saxophone and harmonica and a music stand. The band forms a semi circle around him and he conducts...sorta. I remember and interview I saw with Willie Nelson not too long ago. He was asked what he'd learned from Bob Wills about being a good band leader. Willie said he learned how to 'point'. That's what Van did. The band had the basics of the songs down...Morrison would conduct them in volume/dynamics...UP/DOWN...to create the effects and mood he was feeling for the song at that time AND...he'd 'point' to the various members when he wanted them to solo. THE BAND SOUNDED GREAT/VAN SOUNDED GREAT! *...A TIP: The cab line at the Rock and be HUGE. They have a 'new' entrance in the 'new' casino area which most folks didn't seem to know about. NO WAITING FOR A CAB OVER THERE. (the old JOINT was made into their new casino area, registration and main cage) Next trip is in November to see Rod Stewart at the Colosseum. I went right from McCarran to Caesars when I got in that Saturday morning, and got a good seat for his Show. Oh..........that lucky penny I picked up on my way to the PALMS before the Van Morrison concert...High Limit Lounge, DB dollar machine...got a Royal Flush in Clubs.