Gear hunting in Las Vegas (part 2)
Now that I’ve overcome my jetlag incurred while returning home via 16 time zones, I’ve the energy to report what I got up to over a week ago. Here I am next to the iconic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada’ sign.
After this shot was taken, a couple dressed in bride and bridegroom outfits crossed the road with their photographer and waited so that they could take a shot after us. In a friendly and jovial manner I jokingly called out something like ‘I’ll let you stand next to me for a picture for $100’, but judging by the look of disgust, the way they exchanged shocked looks, and frankly, red-faced incensed anger on the face of the groom, I think they heard someone with a weird foreign accent shout out something that must have sounded to them along the lines of ‘hey, I’d pay $100 to fuck you’ to the bride. We ran away quickly.
Here’s my buddy with a cactus in his ass.
Here’s the Guitar Center at Town Square, just south of the Las Vegas strip – 6387 South Las Vegas Boulevard I think. It’s a pretty large outdoor mall for want of a better description, and rather lacking in character to be honest. The Guitar Center, as you can see, occupies a large area of the lower floor of a fairly warehouse-like building.
Here’s me waiting for Brian to find out if that Led Zeppelin tab book boxed set is available. Feast your eyes on the wall of guitars behind him.
I honestly don’t know why people keep ragging on about how useless and unhelpful GC staff are. They aren’t. During the hour or so that I spent in the store I was greeted cheerfully and asked if I required assistance on numerous occasions. One chap by the name of Eric (huge guy, red/blue beard) helped me hook up a PRS Custom 24 (whale blue) into a Mesa/Boogie Roadster head and let me thrash away for about 30 minutes, answering my questions and helping me tweak sounds throughout. He certainly wasn’t obnoxious or curt with me when I said ‘thanks but no thanks’ at the end of it. Brian took the time to call up other departments to see if the item I was interested in was for sale which it wasn’t since it had been reserved for another customer. Never mind – at least he tried. He also told me about the local live music scene and where some good places might be to go catch some local bands. I’ve been in a number of different GC stores over the years and have been treated with nothing but courtesy and willingness. Maybe they think I’m rich because I don’t have an American accent.
The store itself is very large, with multiple departments, all well stocked and well staffed. The selection of guitars is broad and diverse, as is that of amps, effects, etc.. In the end, I only ended up buying the latest copy of Guitar Player magazine (Allan Holdsworth on cover), but it was worth the trip there just to hang out.
Getting back to the city centre was a different story though – Town Square is not well served by taxis. Upon calling a cab company we were told we’d need to wait 45 minutes for one to arrive to get us. Not being one to stand still I suggested we walk from Town Square to the Mandalay Bay hotel/casino which didn’t look that far away so off we set. One thing I hate about the U.S. is that you need a car to go *everywhere* and to encourage this, (hence fueling the oil industry) along many sections of road there isn’t even any pavement/sidewalk for pedestrians to go along. About an hour later we reached the Mandalay, with sore feet, my buddy cursing me and very thirsty and in need of the toilets. The damn casino/hotels are so gargantuan that they look much closer than they are due to their size from distance. I think we walked about 3 kilometers in the end.
Anyway, while waiting for my buddy to use the toilet, I won $28 on this machine for a mere $2 investment.
…but while waiting some more, I then lost the lot.
Oh well. That’s Vegas baby.