Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Need some luggage for a Vegas trip? Here you go!

Getting ready for a trip to Las Vegas, but need some new luggage?  Well, look what I found!
I must say that I checked this stuff out thoroughly inside and out, and I'm personally not 100% sold on it, as much as I love Vegas stuff in general. The luggage piece pictured above is the carry-on version; it's the smallest of the available trio, but to me it doesn't seem to have enough interior room to store my typical 3-day-trip-to-Vegas stuff when I tried to envision my usual packing.  Granted, it DOES have a zippered extension so that you can increase the width, but...doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of being "carry-on"?  I might not be able to put it in the overhead bin if I expanded it, and I wouldn't want to scratch that pretty surface.  On the pro side, all three sizes of this luggage have multi-directional wheels so you can push, pull or basically WILL your luggage to not tip over while you make your way through a busy airport.  Hmmmm - I might have to reconsider my first opinion...

The small carry-on bag is $59.99, the next larger size is $79.99 (approximately 25" tall), and the largest size (comparable to a regular-sized, hard-sided suitcase) is $109.99.  

All three are currently available at TJMaxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, but I don't know how long they'll be in stock.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Show review: Matt Goss at Caesars Palace

Not a bad seat for the view...

When I suggested to my mom that we go and see Matt Goss at Caesars Palace during our March trip, she didn't even hesitate.  Knowing he was the "British answer to Frank Sinatra", she definitely wanted to hear - and see - him for herself.  Plus the fact that he's a handsome 30-something (yes, he is, Claire!) with blue eyes didn't hurt, either.  I had tried to find tickets to other shows we hadn't seen yet, and, at the time of my purchase, he was our best option for a "new to us" Vegas show.

Cleopatra's Barge at Caesars Palace is a nightclub on most nights, but on Saturday and Sunday nights it becomes the "Gossy Room", hosting Matt Goss and his band at 9:30 p.m.  The curtains around the barge are closed, creating a "private club" for his weekend performances.  Trust me when I say that anyone walking through the Appian Way during the shows will get the full effect.

We showed up at just before 9 p.m. to find a line outside the curtained area, but it wasn't too long.  The doorman checked our tickets, which I purchased through Goldstar.com for a discounted price of $40 each and printed at home, and stamped us with "MG" so we wouldn't have to show our tickets again if we had to step out to use the restroom, etc.
Gossy stamps
Seating was General Admission, but the entire seating area is a bit small and holds about 150 people total.  The seats we chose to the right of the stage, two tables from the barge itself, were fine and we could see the barge area completely, but it's a small room when the curtains surrounding the barge are closed and it seemed really cramped at times.  Most of the barge/stage is taken up by Matt, seven musicians, two backup singers and four dancers, and none of them had room to really move around during the show.  In addition, four pillars in the Cleopatra's Barge area blocked the view of the performers for us when there was dancing at the end near the bar area.
He plays, too.
We were both a little disappointed with the show overall.  While I recognized most of the songs he sang (lots of cover material, like “Hotel California”), mom was expecting him to do more of Frank Sinatra’s songs or his own.  Matt came on about 15 minutes late and performed for about 45-50 minutes total.  Apparently they continue a bit of a party with him and his band afterwards and everyone's invited to stay, but it had been so loud that mom just wanted to get out of there, and I didn’t blame her.  Not to mention the fact that three drunken women were dancing in the aisle right behind mom.  They weren't standing IN the aisle, which would've been fine - they were right up against mom's back, dancing, laughing, bumping her and yelling, "WOO, MATT!"  Rude, rude, rude.

They sell drinks during the show, which have the usual, inflated prices like $10-$12 for a glass of wine or a mixed drink.  They also offered bottle service starting at $150 for basic vodka or rum, and I can't imagine paying that for a show like this, even though I saw the people at the table in front of us purchase TWO bottles with mixers.  Granted, there were eight of them, but that's still a lot of cash for a small show venue, in my opinion.  The cocktail waitresses came around and took orders with plenty of time to spare before the show started, and they continued to take orders throughout the show.  They were never in the way or intrusive, either.

In general it was an okay show, and Matt has a beautiful voice, but I'm glad I didn't pay full price for the tickets ($80 each on the Caesars website).  If I knew then what I know now, I would've chosen seats in front of the bar area, away from the pillars, so that we could have seen the entire show without a problem and not felt the urge to peer around the pillars - or give dirty looks to drunken, dancing fans.  Plus no one would have been able to dance behind us.

I give the show a 6 out of 10.  While it was entertaining, it left a bit to be desired, and I won't go out of my way to recommend it to anyone unless they're a HUGE Matt Goss fan.