What a difference five days can make. Less than a week after the first Las Vegas Rumble barely drew 30 bodies to the Aruba Showroom, a crowd of some 120 has flocked to the same room. Why? Dusty Rhodes and the River Band is in town, of course.
The six-piece outfit hails from Anaheim, California, but has played this city’s Downtown venues with uncommon regularity. As longtime fan Jason Harris puts it, “They’re my favorite non-local local band.”
- Bar Guide
- Aruba Lounge
Though Dusty’s Aruba set lacks some of the warmth and immediacy of Bunkhouse performances past, the hook-filled pop-rock, folk and occasional prog (see: multiple attendees’ Yes comparisons) goes over well once again. And the night-capping cover of Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” … well, the musicians require a late round of shot-glass lubrication for that.
As for the Aruba, the old-school Vegas hotel has successfully re-established its viability as a music venue, though two significant hurdles remain:
1) Sound: The Showroom is without an in-house P.A., requiring promoters to bring in their own on a show-by-show basis—a difficult and expensive arrangement, to say nothing of the wild fluctuations in sound quality from event to event. To achieve true legitimacy, Aruba needs to invest in some equipment.
2) Parking: The Aruba lot is small, and many folks aren’t sure where to spill over when it fills (word has it several Dusty fans headed straight home after surveying the crowded scene). It’s not all that tough to find spaces just off Las Vegas Boulevard in either direction, but this is Vegas, so combing for parking and walking to a destination are hardly second nature. An easy solution: Set up event-specific valet stands outside the Aruba and work out a deal with a nearby lot.