Last night, Italian blues singer Zucchero played his first Las Vegas gig in 15 years. He performed at House of Blues, an intimate concert venue inside Mandalay Bay.
To say this was one of the musical highlights of the year (for me) would be an monumental understatement. I own everything put out by Zucchero since his career first began in the mid-1980s, including his latest album release titled Bassa, which includes live sessions performed last year in Cuba with some of the best (and least-known) musicians in the world.
Zucchero, which means “sugar” in Italian (real name: Adelmo Fornaciari), brings it, and then gives it. He loves what he does, which is obvious from his two-hour sets and plenty of unexpected and unrehearsed impromptu show-stopping moments. There’s no lip-syncing in this show. It’s entirely authentic from start to finish. He’s not the best singer, or guitar player, or pianist, of course. But combine his passion with the gift of melody and he’s the real deal. At last night’s House of Blues show, he essentially performed every song we wanted to hear, then stayed for three encores.
Virtually unknown inside the United States, Zucchero is enormously popular over in Europe, especially his native Italy and throughout Eastern Europe. He’s performed duets with everyone from Luciano Pavarotti to John Lee Hooker (before they died, obviously). ZUCCHERO’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Give me props.
This year, I made it all the way to page 16. That’s when I finally blew up and burned the newspaper.
By then, I’d had enough.
Of course, I’m talking about the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s annual “Readers’ Poll.” Every year the readers of the city’s biggest newpaper send in their picks for their favorite this and that, which are tallied up and later released as the winners of the “Best of Las Vegas” awards.
Categories include everything from the best dry cleaners to the best Thai food. The guide runs about 50 pages long and covers just about everything you can possibly think of — and then some. And I made it all the way to page 16.
This latest edition of “Talking Points” features my immediate response upon seeing this year’s results for the first time. As you might expect, there’s excessive profanity.
Las Vegas is growing again.
According to reports, the city and surrounding area added 100,000 new residents within just the past year. This news is both good and bad.
It’s good because local property values, which took the biggest hit in the nation right after the 2008 economic crisis, are inching closer back to the break-even point for many homeowners, who relocated here and then found themselves on the wrong end of upside-down mortgages. It’s also a symbol of economic vibrancy, sure to entice businesses currently based elsewhere to move to Las Vegas, which has a plentiful supply of affordable labor.
It’s bad too. Las Vegas doesn’t really need any more residents. It’s limited resources — mostly a diminishing water supply — are already stretched perilously thin. Lake Mead is at its lowest level ever and the problem is getting worse. Air quality continues to deteriorate. And local traffic is a mess. Las vegas doesn’t need any more cars on the streets or people struggling to make ends meet. It’s already got plenty of that.
Here are ten things Las Vegas should do which will improve the quality of life for most residents and make the city a far more attractive place to visit:
You’re all a bunch of bastards.
That’s what you are.
Clueless ignorant bastards!
You obviously don’t have a freaking clue what kind of fish to order at a restaurant. And because of your blatant ignorance, I am the one who has to suffer from your lack of knowledge about seafood.
On Saturday night, we dined out at Buzio’s. That’s the seafood restaurant at the Rio. Buzio’s is consistently both good and affordable. I’ve dined at Buzio’s perhaps 200 times within the past ten years. Yes, that’s — two-hundred.
The primary reason why I eat at Buzio’s so much is — it’s the closest good restaurant to where the World Series of Poker takes place. It’s within walking distance of the tournament area. So, when I’m working on property nearly 50 days each summer, many of those dinner breaks are spent at Buzio’s, often with close friends and people I haven’t seen in a long while. Moreover, the dinner break is the highlight of my day.
Howard Stutz (Reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal), Mitch Garber (CEO, Caesars Interactive, and WSOP.com), and Nolan Dalla
Opening day of the IGaming North America 2014 conference took place yesterday at the Planet Hollywood Casino, in Las Vegas. Read my initial reaction here: Andy Abboud Melts Down at IGaming North America Conference.
One of the most highly-anticipated presentations of the three-day gathering of online gaming executives included a moderated debate between Mitch Garber, CEO of Caesars Interactive and WSOP.com, and Andy Abboud, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. On the question posed — “Is online poker/gambling the problem or the solution,” Mr. Garber argued in favor of a legalized and regulated framework which would allow adults to play online, while Mr. Abboud argued against the proposition.