Review by Pat Stanton
The last concert at Caesars on Friday night was one of the best of the residency in spite of Roger struggling after Love Reign with what he called Vegas Throat.
The show started on a high with everyone happy and energetic. WAY opened again and is frankly much more popular with the casual fan than ICE.
Pete was funny and very chatty all night. When it came time to intro Squeeze Box, he sarcastically called it a low point in the show and a wasted 3 minutes. The fans did not agree and Roger admitted that it was written for all of them when they were young. Frank's banjo solo was fun and Pete complimented it at the end of the show.
Pete then told Roger he needed to intro the next number, Kids Are Alright. Roger launched into his extended version of the van story when he looked longingly at the van rather than living with his wife and baby. This time he expanded on how Pete had painted Detours on the van artistically to which Pete looked at him like he was crazy and told him he just painted the name Detours with an arrow and laughed. Roger said he really tried to make his marriage work with the wife and baby (and mother in law next door, who did not like him) - and that he tried hard for at least 3 months - and then he gave up and went to live in the van as the arrow seemed to be pointing somewhere that he wanted to go to.
The dynamics changed with Love Reign. Roger struggled at the end, singing with nothing coming from his mouth. Someone had given him a scarf which he worn for a few songs before he threw it down, which I guess was to help his voice. In the final moments of the show, he admitted that he had what he called Vegas Throat where a singer has a very dry throat due to the low humidity and as a result, no sound is emmitted. Odd thing is that Friday was one of the most humid days in Vegas as we had thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Pete admitted that they almost didn't make the show because of the severe storms that hit as their plane was coming in from LA. He also commended his poor driver who was soaked fixing a flat tire on Pete's ride from the airport.
Whatever the issue, Roger was upset and distressed for the remainder of the show. I thought Love Reign was great but immediately after it was over, he went to the back microphone and started talking to the crew, not even accepting the applause of the fans immediately. Pete went to him and put his arm around him to settle him to no avail.
Roger soldiered on through the rest of the show but was out of sorts and had a few issues singing. He did try his best and he did complete the show. He also had technical issues with his sound, resulting in being out of sync in the beginning of the harmonica bit in Baba but he caught up and finished it strongly. I do commend his professionalism and commitment to try to give us the best show that he could.
The Drowned version has become one of my favorite parts of the show, with Roger and Pete alternating in the vocals. Both sounded strong on that one.
Pete was playful all night. He berated a fan who was acting out, accusing him of raiding Celine's liquor drawer and later asked a fan to just shut up while he was talking.
The intros at the end were poignant. Pete thanked us for attending and experiencing their experiments that they tried for the residency. He said they were not sure they would be back to which the crowd responded very loudly.
Roger was rather emotional, talking about Vegas Throat and expressing his reluctance to continue to tour and live out of suitcases anymore as they are tired of it after all these years. He laughingly reminded us that they do have homes to go home to. As the residency was scheduled to minimize this problem, with everyone in and associated with the band being able to stay in one hotel for the duration, it is too bad that this was still an issue for him. Perhaps his and Pete's travel from L A for each show made it more difficult versus staying in Vegas.
One interesting thing that Roger added after the comment about the travel was that maybe they will go back into the studio and record. Now that would be cool. Of course then they would need to tour to promote it.
Pete walked over to Roger at center stage at the end of the show and hugged him. It was a wonderful ending to 6 very entertaining shows. Fingers crossed that they return for another residency in 2018.