Way over 100 shows in 2012- a personal record!
I heard about this show a while back and was very excited to see that Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens was starting his residency at the Riviera. I love the music of the Smithereens and was really interested in the concept of this show. I’ve met Pat before and he is a genuine, down-to-earth guy- my favorite type of musician. I decided to make my Sunday revolve around this event.
Through TicketMaster, regular general admission is $43 and VIP admission is about $55. I looked around all the local publications to get a good deal on tickets. I came across an ad that said a buffet at the Riviera and a ticket to the show was only $25. I figured it was too good to be true, but it was for real.
Prior to leaving for the Riviera, I played $5 on a roulette table. I had a good run and walked away with $45, which was enough to cover the show, dinner and drinks (buy them from a gift shop, not a bar or restaurant- it’s a LOT cheaper!)
Around 2:00, I drove to the Riviera, parked and headed to the box office to ask about the dinner and show deal. I was told that dinner starts at 4:00PM and seating for the show begins around 6:30PM, but lining up a little earlier would guarantee me a really good seat. I wandered around the casino for a while and found their pinball museum. I played about an hour of pinball on $3 or $4. I also gambled away much more than that in a few minutes. I then went to the buffet, where I was told it would be $18 for dinner. I told them I wanted the dinner and a show deal. For $7 more, I got a voucher for the show. Thrilled by the excellent deal, I proceeded to celebrate by stuffing myself at the buffet. I ate and ate and drank and ate some more. I then went outside for a little fresh air and then to my car to put on my suit for the show (it never hurts to dress up for an event).
I then went and exchanged my voucher for a show ticket and got to the Crazy Girls theater just before doors opened. At this point, there were a few other people waiting to get in. My spot in line was close to the entrance, but those with the VIP seats were allowed to wait at the very front of the line. That was fine with me- I was just glad to be there. I talked to a very nice usher for a few minutes and pounded some coffee to liven up a bit before being admitted into the theater. I also made it a point to be very friendly to the staff inside. They ended up seating me at a table in the center of the front row right on stage. Somehow, I got the best seat in the house with a table all to myself. I was about 3 feet from Pat’s microphone. But then I am told there is no picture taking or videos of any kind in the theater, which kind of bummed me out for a second. Then my food coma starts to really set in and I am wondering how up for a show I am. I got just a little worried and started to slump over the stage for a second.
A few minutes later, the band takes the stage and I am suddenly good to go. Pat walks out and says hi. I said hi back. A video was playing on both sides of the stage that explained the origins of his musical career, but I was way too close and centered to view either one very well (that’s a good problem to have!) He then started in rocking with a Smithereens tune. He was backed by a friendly, laid-back bass player named Kenny with a beautiful 12-string Hamer bass and a young guy named Nate that did a great job on the drums.
In between covering his musical influences with anywhere from full songs to short little intro riffs (he performed a little music from America, Blue Oyster Cult, Buddy Holly, The Ramones, Elvis, Beatles and others), as well as his band and solo material, he told enjoyable stories about different members of his family. He also explained how he was a garbage man until he was 31 and then, all of the sudden, he was a rock star. It was very cool- he touched on some interesting topics from songwriting to relationships and I found his talking to be almost as enjoyable as the music itself. And the entire time he was playing and telling his stories, I almost felt like the entire concert was just for me. I am skipping listing examples of specific songs he plays and examples of the stories he tells. Instead, I will just recommend seeing this show yourself.
The show lasted about an hour and a half. At the conclusion, he shook everyone’s hand in the crowd. I had a flyer and a Sharpie to get his autograph, but I skipped it (I already have a Smithereens CD signed by the entire band, so it wasn’t a huge priority).
By the time the show was over, so was my visit to the Riviera- it was time to go. I hopped in the car and cruised the Strip happy as could be.