The Blue Note-Gone But Not Forgotten
Eve Quillin
Have you heard on television or read the reviews or perhaps attended, the VIP parties held for the opening of new Casino’s here in Las Vegas, NV.  Perhaps you have said to yourself that you wish you could have been invited.  Well, as a member of the press I am invited to some of these “doings.”  Went to the party for the Excalibur Casino quite a few years ago, and even to Sam's Town, many, many years ago, but none has compared with the one we were invited to recently.
The Blue Note Jazz Club’s are internationally known with clubs around the world, but this one, was just opening in the Aladdin Hotel (now Planet Hollywood) in Las Vegas.  It was the first Blue Note on the west coast.  They had their VIP party scheduled on August 17, 2000, this was to coincide with the opening of the new Aladdin itself.  The invitations read that “you and a guest are invited. Etc.” And the show would start at 7 PM.  The entertainers?  Nancy Wilson & Lou Rawls.  For someone who loves this music as much as both my husband and I do, this was a dynamic duo that, at least with us, would wipe out that other dynamic duo of, Batman and Robin.  Besides that Nancy Wilson and my husband were close friends many years ago.
We E-mailed our confirmation as they requested, saying that we would be there with “bells-on.”  Then we prepared to get ready for this great event.  I had been wearing my hair long for a year or two, “put it in a pony tail and put a hat on”an easy quick fix, that I really enjoyed, but we were going to a show where I would get to meet Nancy and Lou.  My husband knew them both from his old days on KFWB in Hollywood, as well his previously mentioned friendship with Nancy.    SO---this was a “happening” that called for drastic change and I went to my stylist and had my hair cut really short.  I picked out clothes that I only wear for really special occasions.  Jewelry that says strictly “evening wear” that makes me feel like Mrs. Ritz.  My husband put on his good suit and even wore a tie, which is a real sacrifice for him.  Yes, we were dressed in our very important clothes, for this party for the Very Important People.  The invitation read fine food and spirits included at the party.  Since we don’t do much “spirits” we just went with our appetite for the fine food.
So---the adventure begins!!!  We knew that since the Aladdin was opening the retail stores in the Desert Passage shopping complex at the same time as our party was to start,( and the people in the whole city of Las Vegas would be driving by, in front of, in back of, and any which way they could, to get a look at this beautiful new Casino, )that we’d better  plan to go early.  We left home at 4:30 PM.  It is about a ten minute drive from our home to the Aladdin, so we felt that this would give us time to get parked, (I had called and the Valet parking was going to be open a long time before we were getting there) and I thought perhaps we could walk around the Desert Passage a bit , before show and party time. Well, for those of you, who know the streets of Las Vegas, the ride begins.  We drove to Flamingo and Koval in preparation of making a left turn onto Koval, which would have been a short couple of blocks to Harmon, right on Harmon and directly into Valet parking, right in front of the Blue Note Jazz Club.  We went in to the left lane to make our Koval turn, and there we sat, and sat, and sat.  Forty-five minutes passed and the car sitting in position to turn onto Koval Lane, where we would have to make our turn, had not moved in the entire 45 minutes.   Finally at my insistence my husband pulled the car out, when we had the chance, back into Flamingo traffic.  We went across the strip down Flamingo to Valley View, made our ‘wind around’ way to Tropicana, left on Tropicana back down Trop to Paradise Road, left to Harmon once again, and this time we got on to Harmon.  Success?  Not quite!!! We sat, and sat and sat, and about 45 minutes later we made a U turn on Harmon and headed out of that mess.  We were both so disappointed that we were nearly in tears, and when you get to our age it takes a lot to get that disappointed.  As we retraced the route we had come, to get away from this traffic, I remembered that we still had a gift certificate for The Outback Steak House, so we went down Flamingo to Pecos and pulled in to the Outback.  We had a wonderful “Bloomin’ Onion” and shared a Petite Filet Steak.  The food was wonderful and from the looks we got, dressed as we were, (I’m sure the people thought we must be tourists who think everything in Las Vegas is dressy.)  I imagine they are still talking about us!!  I KNOW we are still talking about our VIP party at the Blue Note and probably will for a long time to come.
The best part of this whole experience comes in retrospect.  A couple we knew, who were there, walked from the MGM to the Aladdin in over 100 degree heat, she in high heels, and waited outside in the heat for over an hour to get in, the room which seated 400 had more then 800 guests, so there was no sitting down.  The show didn’t start until after 8:30 and by that time everyone had drunk so much, that the crowd was noisy and rowdy.  Nancy had to have the air conditioner turned off because it affects her voice when she sings, (can you imagine Las Vegas in August with no air conditioning?  I don't think so!!) so it was a sweat shop in there, and when Lou came on the crowd was rowdy and loud... So he had to stop and ask if people had come for a show or to talk, and even that didn’t quiet the noise, so those who got in couldn’t hear the show.  All in all it was not the opening that the owners had planned, but it is one of our “memories” of the older Las Vegas days and I guess that night we probably had more fun with our ‘bloomin’ onion!!!!