Las Vegas deserves better than to see bands like The Black Keys in ballrooms
Wed, Feb 23, 2011 (4:30 p.m.)
Photo: Bill Hughes
- The Black Keys with Big Boi
- The Cosmopolitan, February 20
Cosmo’s claims notwithstanding, the Chelsea is no “state-of-the-art entertainment venue.” It’s a converted ballroom, and its makeshift stage and metal bleachers can’t conceal its glass chandeliers and printed carpet. That’s nothing new, of course; Las Vegas has tucked live music inside random casino halls for decades. But sitting in a ballroom for B.B. King or Loretta Lynn feels entirely different than trying to rock out in one to of-the-moment acts like The Black Keys and Big Boi.
The Chelsea has issues beyond aesthetics. It’s got no bathrooms. A raised cord cover runs across the lone pathway in; raise your hand if you didn’t stumble on it. And on Sunday, the fourth-story floor felt dangerously overloaded, rippling nauseatingly beneath the sellout crowd. Sound ranged from crisp (most of Big Boi’s vocals) to murky (some of Black Key Dan Auerbach’s vocals and guitar work), while sightlines were plentiful across the wide-open floor space.
Big Boi played it smart for the came-to-party audience, forgoing 2010 solo disc Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty almost completely for a slew of OutKast favorites: “Rosa Parks,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” “B.O.B.” and “The Way You Move.” “Ms. Jackson,” which saw the diminutive rapper joined onscreen by an (unheard) video version of André 3000, hinted at what a full-on OutKast experience could have been like in the decade or so since the pair stopped touring.
The blues-rocking Black Keys came out blazing, opening with “Thickfreakness” and “10 A.M. Automatic.” They drew their typical “I can’t believe it’s only two guys!” praise as they focused on gritty, early-career material: “The Breaks,” “Stack Shot Billy,” “Busted” and “Everywhere I Go.” Those two guys, Auerbach and hard-bashing drummer Patrick Carney, were then joined by two more, a keyboardist and a bassist, for a stretch built around newer numbers such as “Everlasting Light,” “Chop and Change” and “Tighten Up.” The results felt far less forceful. The slimmed-down version returned, producing a rousing rendition of “I Got Mine” before night’s end, but on the whole, the Keys couldn’t touch the raw energy of another bluesy duo’s last Vegas’ stopover—The White Stripes’ 2003 gig inside the iconic old Joint. Sometimes, a room can make all the difference.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas dares to be different. From the hotel’s red reservations desks to fine art found throughout the resort, The Cosmopolitan’s signature style is helping to pave its own path on the Las Vegas Strip.
Upon entering the resort, you’re greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio exclusively produced for The Cosmopolitan. Just beyond that, you’ll find all your favorite casino games on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor.
The Cosmopolitan’s rooms standout as the resort’s most unique feature. About 2,220 of The Cosmopolitan’s 2,995 rooms have 6-foot deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel. Other in-room amenities include soaking tubs, kitchenettes and quirky accessories like artsy coffee table books.
The dining experience at The Cosmopolitan isn’t something you’ll find at other Strip resorts, either. All of The Cosmopolitan’s 13 restaurateurs are new to the Las Vegas market. You’ll find American steakhouse fare in a modern setting at STK, top-notch sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill and the freshest fish flown in from the Mediterranean daily at Estiatorio Milos.
Whether the sun is up or down, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the place to find the party at The Cosmopolitan. The venue is a dayclub/nightclub, complete with a pool and cabanas outside and three different rooms with three different vibes inside.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can grab a drink at one of The Cosmopolitan’s five other bars, like The Chandelier, which is encased in 2 million dripping crystals.