IN MY HOME of Las Vegas, in a comfortable, intimate setting, I got to be 18 again.
On September 25, 2010, music venue Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Casino Resort Spa played host to 1980s rock band The Smithereens and a roomful of their fans. The venue was perfect for such an event – mature enough for a thirty-something and forty-something crowd, yet contemporary and modern enough to feel vibrant and fresh. I received complimentary tickets to review the show, and being a Smithereens fan since I was a teenager, I was ecstatic to see them perform.
The Smithereens have aged, as have their fans. And with this age comes experience. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and The Smithereens are on the cusp of perfection with their talent and their concert set. They played the favorites, “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Top of the Pops,” and ended with “A Girl Like You.” If possible, they sounded even better than they did 20 years ago.
In between their hit songs, The Smithereens dispersed tunes from their own favorite band The Who. At first, the musical insertion was jarring. It seemed out of place. But after a few moments, and watching the band have a good time playing songs from The Who’s rock opera “Tommy,” somehow it all just seemed so natural. It suddenly made sense. Of course The Smithereens played The Who. Why wouldn’t they?
Because Rocks Lounge is not an oversize venue and designed to be more intimate, Smithereens fans felt connected to their favorite band. Eye contact and exchanges of smiles with band members were apparent. There was no pushing and shoving for a stage view. While there was plenty of room for dancing, there was also a carpeted area and pub style tables for the laid back types (such as myself) who prefer to hang back and have a place to set their drinks. The carpeted area also provided great comfort for ladies sporting their highest of high heels (again, such as myself).
Sound quality was impressive. Unsure of my assessment, I asked an experienced musician who was present with me his opinion and he confirmed, “The sound is very balanced.” Between the intimacy, hip décor, great sound and the tightness of The Smithereens’ performance, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, feeling like a teenager again.
Service was friendly and helpful. Cocktail servers were abundant, and we never went long without a drink. Drink prices were reasonable, less expensive than those on the Strip. If the goal of Rocks Lounge is to provide a sophisticated, yet approachable setting for an audience who seeks shelter from a loud, shoulder-to-shoulder scene with overpriced drinks and aloof servers, then the venue has nailed it. And I look forward to going back again.
Laura Coronado is a Las Vegas freelance writer and fashion blogger who is on a mission to prove that fashion does exist in Las Vegas, despite the sea of Ed Hardy T-shirts polluting the Strip. Read her contributing articles in “Vegas Seven” and “BLVDS Las Vegas” and her blog at www.lollieshopping.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lollieshopping.