This year I spent a memorable Memorial Weekend in Las Vegas with friends, with the soul purpose to see Cher live at the MGM Grand. After Cher announced in 2002 that her "Living Proof - The Farewell tour" was to be her last I never thought it possible that I would leave this world unfulfilled and having never see this Legendary lady perform live.
Well As luck would have it, I struck gold when Cher released her twenty-fifth studio album "Closer To the Truth" in 2013 and announced that she would be touring again with "Dressed to Kill" a farewell, farewell if you will. After my Gay friends all declined my invitation to go see her Live (I'm pretty sure that's going against the commandments in the gay world), I extended the offer out to one of my girlfriends. "If I said Cher is touring.." would you come with me? A very excitable "Hell Yes" was exchanged and before we knew it we had snubbed the idea of seeing her tour an hour away from San Francisco in San Jose on a Tuesday night, invited along another girlfriend and booked ourselves rooms at The Palms Place, and flights on Virgin America to Las Vegas! I mean, if you're going to see Cher, you may as well see her in Vegas, am I right? Plus my Friend had never been to Vegas before and was desperate to show off her rather tall and rhinestone encrusted fake Louboutins, that were sent to her friend by accident randomly from Hong Kong and didn't fit, so that pretty much sealed the deal.
It's hard to avoid the crowds of hard drinkers and party people in Vegas, and there's not that many hotels that aren't connected directly to one of the many Casinos. We opted for The Palms Place just off the strip, which doesn't have a casino, but if drinking and gambling is your thing, a short stroll across the parking lot and you can breeze into the Palms Casino, and party hard at one of the many pool parties they host.
The Palms Place has a quieter pool, but this after all is Vegas so expect the odd disturbance from one of your fellow patrons. For those in need of some pampering there is a choice of two Spa's the Drift Spa (at Palms Place) and Recharge (At the Palms Casino). Both Hotels offer an array of dining options to suit your budget, and we opted to enjoy breakfast both mornings at their in-house restaurants Simon, which serves modern American cuisine.
One of the many great things to traveling with a food Snob, such as my friend Caroline, is that you can always trust that they will do their research and have made reservations well in advance.
Saturday night we dined at Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan hotel, specializing in Spanish avant-garde tapas dishes. The dinner and drinks were outstanding and we especially enjoyed the 'Rossejat', 'Gambas al ajillo' and the lightly battered eggplant. Margaritas are a must!
If you are going to do Vegas right then you have to enjoy one of the many "All you can eat" Brunches available. The only difficult part is deciding which one. We opted to enjoy our brunch at the Bellagio-Jasmine. Dressed in our finest, with myself and boyfriend sporting one of a kind bow ties from Knotty Co (My boyfriend hand crafts limited bow ties using up cycled fabrics from around the world you know). On arrival at Jasmine we were immediately escorted to our table which faced out onto the Bellagio's famous fountains. With bottomless mimosas at our disposal, we were faced with an array of delicious dishes to which we had the pleasure of feasting on throughout the afternoon. Oysters, shrimp, sushi and dim sum were just some of the tastings on offer, and just when we thought that we couldn't feast no more we were presented with the delicious desert room. A room filled with tiers of truffles, gelato, chocolate covered strawberries with the piece de resistance a chocolate fountain with a choice of delightful things to dip. My favorite being the rice crispy treats, and also to my friends amusement as I sat there with chocolate quite literally all over my face, not to mention the unfortunate incident with a spat out pastry puff filled with foie gras nestled up in my napkin (I had mistakingly misread the buffet sign, and am Vegetarian, pescatarian, if you want to get technical.)
And of Course the Grand finale of our weekend, Cher! And Cyndi Lauper! An incredible three hours at the MGM grand with wigs, costume changes and pink pasties. Theres not many sixty-eight year old women out there that can pull off such a look, but Cher sure can. Movie montages were shown with Cher in her Glory days staring in Moonstruck, Mermaids and Witches of Eastwick to name but a few. Classics were sung, If I could Turn Back Time, Gypsies Tramps and Thieves, The Beat goes on and the iconic "I got you babe" which Cher sang looking lovingly at a huge screen with Sonny Bono singing right back at her and the audience, a tearful and memorable moment.
Cher is an incredible performer and someone I truly believe that everybody should see if they have the opportunity. There's not many singers out there that can boast having success throughout the last six decades (Cher is the only artist to date to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart in all six), and how easily we can forget what a icon and beauty this woman was and still is today.
If I could turn back time, I probably would (pun intended.)