Hedonism Then and Now
By Royal Hopper
The first rock concert I went to cost me around $12, plus a coke and a $7 T-shirt. I bought the ticket with birthday money, allowance and a couple of bucks I borrowed from my parents. I wore bell bottoms and put on my Flush the Fashion Alice Cooper T-shirt as I went in the door of the Civic Center and patiently waited for an opening band called Tchaikovsky’s Overture to stop annoying me by playing well written poolitical relevant music so I could rock out to Alice Cooper’s shock rock Gothis Theater.
(Yes I was such a geek that my parents didn’t think twice about dropping me off at an Alice Cooper concert)
The Electric Daisies
This week more than 33 years after those hazy days the latest incarnation of non- fashionable hedonism, the Electric Daisy Carnival came dancing, prancing and tripping into the City of Sin.
Its participants paid $350 for three days of dance til you drop partying on multiple stages and likely paid more for the drinks they bought than the T-shirt I bought all those years ago.
The Daisy crowd filled Las Vegas with rainbows, bikinis, hula skirts, tutus, tabs of monogrammed pills and lots of Daddy’s now empty credit cards.
Back in the Day
Thirty-three years ago I vaguely remember looking through the haze of purple smoke rising from the front row of the civis center and seeing the guy who was so enthusiastically dancing to Schools Out Alice’s signature 1974 anti-school ballad.
The police escorted him out of the concert as he continued to dance to the Alice’s rendition of School’s Out…which incidentally had been three sets before because the band was playing Billion Dollar Baby..if memory serves. The 60s had been good to that dude because he was still there in 1979.
Flash Forward to 1989
Once upon a time there was a band called the Grateful Dead. When I first arrived in the City of Sin in 1989 they were still touring the country spreading their philosophy of not having a philosophy and being stoned while dancing to the songs of the 60s about being stoned and dancing.
I remember one of them was discovered sleeping on the rocks above the Pirate Show at Treasure Island where I worked at the time. Apparently he had climbed up on the rocks above the fake pirate lagoon while tripping on Lucy and the Skies with Diamonds and decided to take a nap. Raaahwwwt.
Later “The Dead” stopped touring because the lead singer Jerry Garcia had passed on and its difficult making tour dates when your dead. It wouldn’t surprise me if several of the bands followers, called Dead Heads back in the day, are just realizing they are gone…..
I think I saw a Dead Head filtering in and out of the Daisy crowd of the with a peace sign on their T-Shirt humming to himself “Riding that train high on Cocaine..which he may have been because he was alone and very upset at the invisible people who were singing off key and by he let them know it.
Tickets and gas are not free and the followers of the Dead sometimes financed their travels to the next show in the next city by stealing T-shirts from out gifts shops and selling them on the side walk outside the places they stole them from for fare to the next concert.
Later a band called Phish carried on the tradition of party til you drop. Jerry Garcia tried to crash the concert according to several Dead Head shamans but the new guys brought in a medium named Puppy Power to clean up their act. (No not really be serious)
The Rave goes Corporate
Then came the Rave. Raves are not new. At one time Raves back in the dark confusing days of the late 80s and 90s were secret dance parties held in abandoned buildings and back street warehouses. In 2013 they cover acres, last for days and are policed ..by ..you know police….Afterwards people walk around in their underwear like the three bald headed gentlemen who sported rainbow colored briefs and nothing else as they strolled down the boulevard this week. Another enterprising raver strolled the hallways sans pants shouting her friends to come and get her and take her to her hotel room. Her friends happened to be down the street at the hotel where they are actually staying.
What does it Mean?
Costumes, hedonist, rainbows and invisible friends. What are they? In some places they are signs of decay or a bad zombie B-movie made in Holland. In Vegas it is just another day in the sun …It doesn’t mean anything it is just another Tuesday here.
As Gildner Radner once said Its always something. Either hard drinking, hard tripping pot smoking Hippies are swiping your T-shirts and talking to invisible submarines or drunk dancing,, rainbow clad, pot smoking, ecstasy loving Ravers are buying your T-Shirts and talking to invisible submarines while they are dancing.
That’s life in the City of Sin
Rock on Sinners
What do you do if your in Vegas and you see a Flamenco dancer, a woman in pajamas wearing Mini Mouse slippers, some in bikinis wearing fur leggings and many, many wrapped in a rainbow of colors. Well if you live in Vegas you yawn a little and look at your watch. No big deal