This adventure began at the end of April when Rod’s September – November dates at Caesar’s Palace were announced. This November Steve and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and Rod just happened to have 3 shows the week of our anniversary; we decided to see all 3 shows, one for each decade married. Work continued to be crazy and very stressful for me and when I requested vacation TIME (in April for November) I was met with some resistance, but was able to get it approved. Steve and I decided since we were celebrating a milestone, we would go all out for tickets. (Rod, you are welcome for the new tires for the Ferrari).
It was a busy 6 months of mainly working long hours, with a few days off to attend an Amateur (ham) Radio Convention, seeing Rod in June in Kentucky and spending a little relaxing TIME knitting HATS. All of a sudden it was November; TIME to get serious about packing and deciding what signs to make. The paisley jacket was a must, as well as different style HATS, as I decided it was TIME to reinvent myself a little bit. I quickly learned that 6 HATS take up a lot of room in the suitcase, but I got everything packed and didn’t even have to sit on it, yay. Steve was driving me nuts because he packs at the last minute, but he is very successful at it.
TIME to fly out and thank heavens the trip was uneventful (no ice storm, no delays like back in January 2013). Arrived at The Flamingo hotel and Steve got our room upgraded; we were on the 19th floor with a view of Rod on the Caesar’s sign, just in case we forgot why we were there. We had some computer issues, but finally got them resolved. Early dinner in Vegas, and early bedtime (we gain 3 hours going East to West); it felt SO great to not be on a schedule or having to answer to anyone but each other.
Wednesday Nov 12 was the first of our 3 shows to attend; we collected our tickets and “donated” some money to the Caesar’s slot machines. We wandered around a bit, did some grocery shopping and then back to the room to relax, me to finish up tonight’s sign and to get ready; it was at this point I noticed there was a TV in the bathroom mirror, that was different!
Steve was decked out in his green & white Celtic color block shirt with matching HAT and I was donning a yellow & green Celtic shirt with matching HAT (new design). The sign I made was neon green and said 30th Anniversary Vicky & Steve. I folded the sign into quarters and hid it and THE HAT in the bottom of my purse. As always, I was too excited to eat before the show, so I just nibbled on some stuff before we left the room.
We had a great usher trying to show us our seats. We said we know where our seats are and she smiled and said you should have a punch card, buy 5 get one free. She said you know the drill then too…. I replied, no video, no flash, if we get up and leave, we cannot return to our seats until the end of a song. She cracked up.
Here are the highlights for November 12. Rod sounded and looked better than I expected as he was still battling bronchitis, but he was still sporting a hanky and had trouble hitting some notes. He commented that he was sick and might have trouble with the notes, but the songs were coming from his heart. About 3/4 thru the show he sound a bit hoarse when he spoke, and a bit gravel-ier on some notes..... No surprises in the setlist, except for one, and I will get that. The chemistry amongst everyone on stage continues to fascinate me. Back in time, I only watched Rod, but now I am looking all around and I am sure I still miss a lot. I flashed Rod with the 30th Anniversary Vicky & Steve sign about 6 songs in, Rod smiled and nodded. A number of songs later Rod said “Where is that couple celebrating an anniversary? We waved.... he said get that
sign back out. It was hidden under my chair under 2 HATS. Not wanting to bend over and moon Rod and the band, I bent over frontwards and I fumbled about trying to pull the sign out from under the seat and then was shaking while trying to unfold it. Rod said “Hurry up I have a show to do”. I replied “You are making me nervous”. At this point Steve rescued me; he unfolded it, and handed it back to me so I could hand it to Rod. Rod read it (and I guess the sign was on big screen because we were stopped after the show a number of times with wishes of congratulations).... Then Rod asked if we are still.... and made the “thrusting motion”…. we nodded yes and because we all I know I don't have a filter I said “Yes, right before the show”. Rod smiled and nodded in approval (never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be having this conversation with Rod), and then he dedicated I’d Rather Go Blind to us. It was a beautiful performance!!! Another precious memory. Footballs during Stay With Me and yes, Rod pitched us one. No performance of You're in My Heart (first time missing from the setlist of shows I have attended since I started knitting HATS, so at this point we still had 2 HATS........he said right before Maggie, this is the last song. Security was concerned that I was going to run on stage; Steve assured them I was not going to. About three quarters thru Maggie, I tossed the green, white and yellow HAT, and Rod PUT IT ON!!!!!! He pulled it down low over his eyes again! Security looked at Steve and grinned and laughed really loud. Please keep in mind that this is the first TIME in person that I have ever seen Rod wearing one of my HATS and only the second TIME he has ever put one on that I know of. The only other one he has worn on stage was delivered by Madeline Ignarro at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut in May of this year. When he sang the line, “Oh Maggie I wished I’d never seen your face”, he peaked out from under the HAT. That was met with laughter and applause. When the band came back out for Sexy, Emerson and Conrad smiled really big and nodded good job! Conrad kicked one of the huge balloons and it popped loud, Rod ducked! At the end of the show, Rod came over and shook our hands and said “Congratulations”. We met David Featherstone who was in section 3 right next to us and Janet Elizabeth was in section 5 and we were singing across to each other. What a night and great fun was had by all.
I will not belabor the non-Rod parts of this trip as it was a special anniversary trip for us, and I think I have already shared enough with Rod and each of you (wink, wink).
Fast forward to Saturday Nov 15. I was a total and complete wreck because we were notified that we going to get to meet Rod that evening. I was totally bonkers ALL day, and driving Steve nuts. (NOTE, please do not ask me the details of how this came about, it has been a long time wish and the result of some hard work and complete sincerity on my part, please just be happy for us.) The “What to wear?” was easy, the paisley jacket for me and the Stewart plaid shirt for Steve. The “What am I gonna say?” is what I was fretting about. What an anniversary trip this was turning into! I was too nervous to eat, but Steve made me eat, as I have low blood sugar issues and he said you don’t want to pass out when you meet Rod.
TIME to go…..I was nervous and calm at the same time (how is THAT possible???), because I didn’t know what to expect. It went quickly as there were a number of guests that evening and we were the second ones; I was afraid if I started talking, I would still be there……….. Rod thanked me for ALL the HATS and I think I thanked him for putting up with me. Since I was wearing the paisley jacket, I asked him if it looked like I nicked HIS jacket and he smiled and yes and I like it too. I left a bag of gifts for Rod, including a HAT and I told him he would get another one during the show. I was told that he wore the Celtic green, white, and gold one home after Wednesday’s show.
Steve and I splurged that night and had front row center seats; that venue is AMAZING. Before the show, we met a number of you who I have corresponded with over the past few years. I don’t want to mention names because I am afraid I will leave someone out, but know that this
too was a very exciting part of this adventure for me, and Steve was well caught up in all this too.
Out came Rod, and I felt like we were right at the tip of the stage, oh wait we were! Various waves, smiles, and winks from the stage --- I think it was the jacket! Rod sounded GREAT and was in a fantastic mood. I was mesmerized all night, just drinking it in. We also got to see more of Julia, Katja, Jimmy, and J’Anna from this vantage point. When Rod performed “Have I Told You Lately…” Steve asked me to dance……. We did and it was wonderful, Steve hates to dance so this was very special to me. Then I heard cheering and clapping and I unburied myself from his chest and opened one eye, the spotlight was on us and Rod was standing RIGHT THERE singing to us! I was then glad I ate something earlier, because I was about to faint. Thank you to Stefano and Adriana for getting the vid clips of this for us. Rod’s performed a beautiful rendition of this song. After the show Lucy told us that when Rod saw us he got up from his seat and tiptoed to the edge of the stage to sing to us, so he had fun too. Always like to give back to Rod and the band, as we get so much enjoyment from each of them. When Rod introduced “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, I launched the knitted Celtic Santa HAT onto the stage, and it landed right in front of Rod. He didn’t skip a beat and said, “Oh look a nice fluffy Christmas HAT”. He wore it during part of the song……..I know for a fact this was a warm HAT, so I was not surprised that he took it off. At this point, his voice was a bit weaker and he apologized for not hitting some of the notes. After that song was over, the woman sitting on the other side of Steve asked him if we were paid by Rod. Steve said “What?” she said; “You know are you part of the show, like planted in the audience to get the atmosphere going?” Steve smiled and said No, we are just huge fans, there is a loooongggg story tied to the HATS, and it is our 30th wedding anniversary. We are still not sure she believed him. During Stay With Me, Rod beckoned a young girl on stage and handed her a football, he had to keep coaxing her to come up, it was great and I cheered!! Rod performed You’re in My Heart and it felt SO strange not to toss a HAT on stage. During Maggie, Rod looked up into the balcony and made the stripes motion across his chest. I turned and looked and there was the brightest Celtic jersey I have ever seen, neon yellow and black stripes. Rod sang directly to that person, ya just gotta love him! Next thing I know the show is over and what a night it was.
We headed over to the pub after the show to meet Susanne Baker and Susan Haynes who flew in earlier that evening. Again it was SO great to continue to meet many of you in person. We grabbed a big table and chatted about, Steve took my picture with 4 men in kilts, and then with Conrad. We chatted with some of the band and they graciously signed a few more photos for me. I then heard someone say “There’s Rod!” I am thinking yeah, right. I turned around and there he was flanked by a group of people and headed to the back of the pub. Susanne immediately commented, “I didn’t bring my camera because we were only coming to meet Vicky and Steve. We peeked to the back, but left Rod and his guests alone. The 6 foot wide uniformed guard in front of the table was also a bit of deterrence. When they all left, Rod went over to where some of the band was and a few fans went over and had photos with Rod. I hung back and watched; I have had more contact and excitement than I ever expected, but good heavens this did add to the memories.
Sunday November 16 started with a delightful long lunch with Susanne Baker, Susan Haynes, Steve, and I. We talked like we have been friends for a long time. We wandered around a bit and then Steve and I headed back to our room to start packing. It was hard to believe this adventure was about to come to an end, but what an unbelievable, fabulous time we had.
About ten minutes before we are to leave the room to go to our last show we heard water running in the bathroom; shockingly it was coming out of the light fixtures and trap door in the ceiling!! Steve turned off all the lights and told me to throw all the towels in the floor; at this point it was pouring out! He called the front desk and it was determined a pipe burst and we
were told we had to change rooms. We said we are headed to see Rod Stewart and it was our last night, could they not mop and clean the bathroom and let us stay for the 5 hours we had left in the room. They said they would talk to housekeeping and we instructed to check at the front desk when we returned. So off we went to the show and would deal with the room situation after our last night of fun and frivolity.
The security fellow checking bags was the same from Wednesday night and he smiled said, “Hi, just go on in”; the usher was the same from Wednesday night and said – “you almost have that punch card filled up.” Soon that familiar music began, we started clapping and singing at the top of our lungs. Curtain up and I gave it my “all” the entire night as I don’t know when I will get to see the show again. Rod’s voice was weaker, but he continued to give the high energy performance we know and love, but with a little less banter. At one point mid show, Rod said something to the effect that he was still battling bronchitis and that he was going to do the next song and then go to hospital. Poor fellow, he had to be feeling poorly to make that kind of joke. He also commented that David was not feeling well either, but the show must go on. Set list the same as Wednesday except no “I’d Rather Go Blind”. I think I “danced” with Lucy, Di, and Kimmi all night and at one point during the drum solo, Lucy shouted “Go Vicky!!” The HAT for tonight was one I made to look like a visor. It was Celtic green and white with spiky gold yarn to look like Rod’s hair. (It was goofy, but I was going for something totally different). No You’re in My Heart (hummmm I wonder if I am missing the hint, I have ENOUGH HATS!), so Maggie was again the default HAT delivery song. I pitched it, but Rod was moving too fast, he tried to football kick it to get it to his hand, but it didn’t work. Next thing we saw was Di wearing it and twirling it around; THAT was a fun new twist to the Adventure of the HAT. It then was resting on the mike stand center stage…….and all too quickly the show was over.
We all headed over to the pub, for a few beers and more chatting and visiting. This was a bittersweet night for Steve and I as we knew our fabulous memory filled 30th wedding anniversary trip was about to come to an end. We were repeatedly asked about staying or returning next weekend. We said we must get back to “reality” and that the vacation fund was about empty. At about this point, I turn around and there is Rod once again coming into the pub! We again left him and his guests alone, but were hoping that when he left, we could get a quick photo with him. We resumed chatting again amongst ourselves and some of the band and had some photos taken with them. When Rod and his guests were leaving, we did ask for a photo, but he said thank you for coming and shook our hands. While disappointing, I am sure at this point all he wanted was his nice bed, warm blanket, and fluffy pillow, after all he was not feeling well and that was very understandable.
Steve and I say our goodbyes to all our new friends (who we felt like we have known for a long time) and said we will meet again some where some time, perhaps even across the Pond. When we got to the hotel, we learned we had to change rooms and move all our belongings for the less than 5 hours that we had left to stay. I politely said I guess we understand, but it was such a great week and I know it was not your fault the pipe burst, but what a pain in the arse for the few hours we have left and we are exhausted. They felt our pain and found it in their power to provide us a generous credit on our bill. While sitting at the airport on Monday, Steve said why don't you fly back for the weekend and attend the party on Friday and shows on Sat and Sun, I will entertain our houseguests ............ with the refund, it won't cost much as much. And with this, I am once again reminded how lucky I am to be married to Steve, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” very, very much.
Words and pictures