Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Last day of Viva Las Vegas

Our final full day in Las Vegas started rather late, as we were unavoidably detained in the bar of the Gold Coast Hotel until 4am. When we eventually surfaced next morning we made our now annual trip to Red Rock  Canyon for the obligatory photo shot, followed by lunch at Bonnie Springs. The final evening at Viva Las Vegas wasn't quite vintage, but it was pretty good. The first band we saw was the Kabooms, a rockabilly band from Spain, who were very professional but a bit formulaic I thought. On the main stage, keyboard player/guitarist Rip Masters played to a thin crowd and had a varied set including Long Gone Girl and a boogie woogie version of Swanee River. It didn't really come to life until he was joined on stage by Rollin' Rock rockabilly singer Ray Campi, who he has recorded with in the past, who performed one number with Rip. No such problem for Essex's own Jackson Sloan, who went down a storm with the crowd on a set comprising mostly original numbers. He's got a live wire act and really gets the audience going. Watch out for him at a Tales From The Woods show in London soon.
The real highlight of the night was the Stars of Rock and Roll segment with four acts dating back to the fifties. First up was a return visit by Doowop group Norman Fox and the Rob Roys. Norman's voice was a little shaky at times but the Rob Roys, looking like three identical bespectacled grey haired bank managers, were excellent. Numbers included Won't You Be My Lover Doll, Dream Girl, Pizza Pie and their biggest hit Tell Me Why. The next act, Mike Waggoner, appeared at the Ponderosa Stomp in 2015, but I had completely forgotten about him until Dave Thomas pointed out that I had put a photo of him on The Vinyl Word. Based on his set, my memory lapse is forgivable. His numbers, which included Good Rocking Tonight, Say Mama and his one original hit Baby Baby we're OK, but forgettable. Of much more interest were the next act, the El Dorados, which included original member Jewel Jones. Very much in harmony, their set included I'll Be Forever Loving You and an extended version of their great hit At My Front Door. The final act was the wild man and frequent visitor to the UK Roddy Jackson. Equally at home on the keyboards and saxophone, Roddy attacks every song in his animated and expressive way and came across strongly on his novelty songs Moose On The Loose and Hiccups, the slower Consider (the title track of a forthcoming CD), Baby Dont Do Me This Way and I've Got My Sights Set On Someone New. That was it for another year so far as I was concerned. In the past, greats like Lloyd Price and Dion have made it an unmissable event, and this year it was Jerry Lee Lewis. But can they conjure up someone of similar status next year? I doubt it.
After Las Vegas we've started our California road trip with a 563 mile drive to Sacramento, where we enjoyed a very good and inexpensive meal of soft shell crab. More soon, and photos when I get back.


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