Last week I did a ticket giveaway for Duran Duran at Valley View Casino and also scored a pair for myself. Daye had entered my contest and didn't win, but I asked if he was interested in being my plus one and he agreed. Both of us work until 5:30, so we weren't on the road until 6:15 or so, but surprisingly we made pretty good time to Escondido. We'd both skipped lunch, so I thought we'd arrive with time to spare to grab a bite before the show. Coming from a gambling family, I know all about the trickery of casinos, so the plan was to have Daye sign up for the Players Club to get a free buffet.
Unfortunately, while I knew the casino would require some driving east on swervy country roads, we didn't predict that most of the 15 miles would be under construction with posted speed limits of 15, 25 or 35 mph. I am highly prone to motion sickness, and for most of our ride, we were behind a giant white diesel truck, which wasn't helping my nausea.
Eventually we got to the casino, where we were directed into an overflow lot, parked, and then waited for a shuttle to drive us up the hill to the casino.
The venue looked pretty cool as we passed it coming into the casino, but we were on a mission, so while the openers, Your Vegas, played, we waited in line to get players club cards. I had been to the casino years ago with my parents, but the chick was cool and gave me a buffet voucher, too. We went to the buffet line and it was really long and not moving. You have to sign in with a hostess, they give you a time when you're allowed to lineup, but then you wait as table by table becomes available. We didn't want to miss the show, asked if there was any way to get in sooner, and they told us Duran Duran would be starting any minute and we'd be better off coming to eat after the show.
We took their advice and made our way to the venue and found our seats. And frankly, they were terrible. The cheapest seats for the show were $65 and I'll tell you, had I spent $65, regardless of the band...even supposing I was seeing my most favorite band on the planet, and we ended up in those seats, I would've made a stink, and we weren't even as far back as we could be. Row 45 doesn't sound that bad, but in a parking lot, with two seating sections split down the middle, we couldn't see jack shit. I'm not a fan of big venues anyway, and maybe I'm just spoiled, but I don't go to a concert just to hear music. If I'm not up in it, I might as well be at home listening to a CD. I was also surprised because most large venues like this at least offer projection screens on both sides of the stage so people in the back can see what's happening onstage, and there were none set up.
Like I said from the get go, we were starving, and the casino GM came out and thanked people and said they'd be a few more minutes before starting, but Daye and I conferred and decided to skip the show and get back in line for dinner. We waited quite a while, and knew there was no way we were going to see any of the show, but we were ok with that. Instead, we were seated around 9:15 and were treated to quite an amazing spread. The buffet has the standard salad bar, meat carving stations, and sides of veggies and pastas and whatnot, but it also has sushi, a ton of seafood, a cold crab and shrimp bar, lobster, NY steaks, and my favorite, oysters on the half shell. We were in hog heaven. That doesn't even mention the full dessert bar, ice cream, and chocolate fountains with fresh dipped strawberries.
It was delicious, though something that no person should do more than once a year, if not a lifetime. We finished up and headed to our shuttle and the concert venue had cleared out. We enjoyed What Made Milwaukee Famous on our long ride home and it ended up being a good night with a great friend. I don't really see myself going back to the casino for any reason, but if slots are your thing, it's a nice, albeit small, casino. And of course the buffet was awesome and at $26 regularly, it's probably well worth it, but I'm not so into being corralled into a dining establishment or waiting in line for close to an hour just to eat. As far as concert venues go, I wouldn't recommend this one, unless of course you're going to see Trace Adkins sing "Honky Tonk Bedonkadonk", then this really just my be your calling.