On the one hand, I applaud The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for setting itself apart from the pack by centering much of its appeal upon leading-edge musical acts (like Adele and Florence + The Machine [twice!]). However, it makes Deutsche Bank’s decision to cut corners by not building the once-planned showroom (above) look downright imbecilic — or at least self-defeating. “Chelsea Ballroom” may sound like some swanky club on paper but when you get there …
… you’re confronted with a long, standard-issue, shoebox-format convention space. A quasi-stage sits at one end and some tremor-prone bleachers — which put one uncomfortably close to the chandeliers — are at the other, with a long “moshing pit” (as anti-gambling nimrod Gary Bauer would call it) bridging the gap. Bottle-service areas have been busked into place along the flanks. Compared to both The Pearl and The Joint, the effect is very “wrong end of the telescope,” even with the obligatory video screens. Nor is it an acoustically treated space, so the sound is very hard (though not quite so bad as Downtown’s stony Smith Center for the Performing Arts, where a fortissimo chord can leave a bruise).
Be it Pet Shop Boys or Duran Duran or Elvis Costello, nobody fires up a Vegas crowd nearly as much as Kelly Clarkson. Maybe Sir Elton John, but that’s about it in my experience.
Stage illumination is obviously very makeshift: The backlighting for Clarkson’s opening number was placed in such a manner that it was literally blinding. And if you’re seeing a multi-band show … fughedabboudit! It took The Fray the better part of an hour to haul their (excessively) elaborate setup into place, by which time the post-Clarkson buzz had thoroughly worn off. The Fray’s set didn’t go so well either …
Fray lead singer Isaac Slade makes Bob Dylan sound like a professor of elocution. However, opening act Carolina Liar had better watch out or they’ll give Christian rock a good name. They were everything The Fray wasn’t. As for the Chelsea Ballroom itself, Deutsche Bank picked one of the stupidest ways of saving money, particularly in light of CEO John Unwin’s business plan. Like its casino, the Cosmo’s “concert hall” is a good concept undone by cheeseparing half-measures. Oh, and it’s hellishly remote and difficult to find, too.
The climactic audience-participation number of the Stronger Tour 2.0 Cosmo concert. It’s a birthday present to myself.
I wonder what @JohnUnwinning thinks of the place?
Notice that to even see the “observation wheel” from the Strip, you’d have to be standing atop the Augustus Tower of Caesars Palace.
Rumor du jour. Scuttlebutt from the Strip — and from pretty “juiced in” channels at that — characterizes Gary Loveman’s Ferris wheel as dead in the water. If that’s indeed the case, it would fulfill my prediction on KNPR-FM’s State of Nevada that if rival builder Howard Bulloch got his shovels in the ground first (which he seems to have done) the Caesars Entertainment wheel would go away and quickly. Anyway, with debt-servicing outpacing cash flow and, in light of CFO Jonathan Halkyard’s abrupt defection to Nevada Energy, methinks a Caesars bankruptcy is no longer a matter of “if” but “when.”