afrow

Black Girl on the Front Row!

“Las Vegas: Bright Lights, Big City!”

“Vegas is not America… It’s Vegas!”…

…were the words with which my delightful Virgin Holidays Concierge advised me, in delicately-hushed, yet insistent, decibels…

The accuracy of that statement would soon become as crystal clear as the turquoise-blue Nevada sky, wrapped around our “Jersey Girl” aeroplane, floating above famed landmarks and lesser-known domesticity… and clusters of people, scattered like hundreds-and-thousands, upon Vegas icing! All of this would be greeting me, upon my approach into the enigma of this eccentric, yet intriguing, desert.

Idiosyncratic, as the bride sweeping through the casino, in full ballgown, having taken (some might say) the biggest gamble of her life, in tying-the-knot… vivid as the fuschia pink ostrich-feathers, proudly levitating in the gentle breeze, behind showgirls, owning the revered Strip… in an infinitessimal moment, it was obvious that, yes, Vegas was Vegas and could only, ever be, Vegas!

… But being there was fantastical, from beginning, to end…

…as, less than 14 days, prior, a window of opportunity within my schedule, had announced itself, as “open”… and, without further ado, I began my adventure… the unexpected nature, of which, would set the trend for my entire experience, both landside and airside! From the outset, I felt as if the Virgin representatives had taken me under their wings… guiding me, with supreme care and attention, through, what might otherwise be considered, as fast-track orientation, for all that was to come!

Whether telephonic, through the booking stage, or face-to-face at the check-in, every iota was more than a mere “process”… It was genuine excitement, for my taking a leap of faith into the “Beautiful Unknown” (as Mr. Matt Goss calls it), of a new, intercontinental domain. It brought to mind that I had, quite, forgotten how splendid travelling could and should be… and, as I boarded the flight, owing to such bonhomie, it was as if my adventure had already begun!

The crisply-coiffed, elegantly-attired cabin crew simply sparkled throughout the ten-thousand mile roundtrip… Delivering such a standard of service, which was second-to-none… with repasts so perfectly-portioned, as to leave enough room for a glass, or few, of festive fizz, with newfound flying companions! All adding to the jubilant ambience… before extensive legroom, in-flight entertainment (of which there was a vast selection) and power-naps, ensued!

Oh yes, this was holidaying, alright

…and, in the blink of an (admittedly, waking) eye… geometric shapes began to reveal themselves beneath the cloud-curtain… hotels, in shapes of pyramids and skyscrapers, shining, like foiled ornaments adorning an extravagant Christmas tree, were choraling planes in, to land… and, in a surreal revelation, the wheels touching-down were my cue to breathe deeply and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime sojourn.

“Vegas, here I come” , became “Vegas, baby, here I am!!”

…My awaiting home-away-from-home, being “The Mirage”… was, to me, the “Queen of The Nevada Desert”.

Oh, my…. the expanse of it all, left me speechless…

…the marble, the waterfalls, the retail opportunities, the restaurants, the pool, the venues, the entertainment… The decadence that was daytime and night-time… and the courtesy, once again, led me to another Matt Goss motto, that being, “Civility Costs Nothing”…

…Neither did the most wonderful upgrade!

16th floor, room-with-a-myriad views… Close-ups of the cabana-lifestyle, panoramics of the, equally-soaring, neighbouring establishments and long-distance visions of the, impressively, picture-perfect, sand-capped landscape.

Each evening, I reclined… often with CNN, but always in my newfound happy place, of a King Bed, toasty-warm, with marshmallow duvets and huggable pillows… and always, at once, at total peace… simply, giving thanks…

…which was highly apt, given that my vacation auspiciously fell around Thanksgiving!

The duration of my visit remained one of ardent gratitiude, for time spent, fine-dining at “Stack”, which was a low-lit, open-plan restaurant, with lovely service, lovely food, a vibrant atmosphere, suited to families, and yet, sensitively-designed, with sumptuous banquettes, for those being romanced, on a first date…

Next was “Osteria Costa”, the Italian venue, of choice… Light and airy, in clever contrast to its aforementioned epicurean counterpart, the menu was a food-lovers dream, from which I did not wish to wake! For example, efficient and enthusiastic service, ensured that my simple, yet stunning tricolore crostini salad was at-table, in express time… in order that I could indulge in the luxury of my own, so as to savour every delicious morsel!

However, my go-to eatery, would turn out to be “The Pantry”… with a 24-hour breakfast menu, as well as a truly compendious selection of lunch and evening courses. I had an enduring affinity with pancakes and maple syrup, the white chocolate brioche with summer fruits… and, yes, maple syrup… the Chef’s breakfasts… without maple syrup… and the knockout, “Backyard Burger”, with a tasty addition of caramelised red onions, for that little somethin’-somethin’!

It was all there… all of the time… and I couldn’t have been happier, than if I were able to party at a Matt Goss extravaganza.. or two, or three.. or, ahem, four! But, from my previous post, friends, you know I actually did that!

Excursions to the Grand Canyon, to the Neon Museum… and to so much more, were on my list of “best intentions” , but, for this time around, I was simply content to be embraced by the might of The Mirage… and to be given the final surprise, of a sleek, midnight-black, stretch limo, back to McCarran airport…

Besides… there’s always next time, right?!…

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved

~

Heartfelt Afrow-appreciation and applause, to the entire Virgin Holidays Team, Flight Crew and Mirage Team… for making my experience one of unique splendour… and special mention to Jude, who walked me through every step, with endless amiability!

 

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“Matt Goss at The Mirage… Truly, One-Of-A-Kind!”

 

EX.TRA.OR.DIN.ARY.

EX.CEP.TION.AL.

Friends, if you happen to find yourself Stateside – Las Vegas, to be precise – there is one new wonder of the world, which must be seen.

But it’s not so much a what, as a, whom.. and he, is Mr. Matt Goss.

Having just returned from an impromptu flying visit to, arguably, the home of  show-stopping entertainment and after experiencing the most incredible Matt Goss Marathon of sell-out nights, at the legendary “Mirage Hotel”, I declare that, neither your eyes, nor ears will deceive you… because he is the real deal! In fact, not only do I, wholeheartedly, vouch for his title, “New King of Vegas”, I put it to you, that he will remain undisputed.

That he is a veritable beacon of distinct creative giftings, is well-known… however, headlining an uber-successful, “up-close-and-personal” residency, takes gravitas of another echelon… and ensconced within the intimate environs of The Mirage’s “1 OAK Nightclub”, is the undeniable proof, in the rare gem of a production…where two hours of live, power-packed escapism, filled with crackling anecdotes and faultless stagecraft, epitomise contemporary Vegas and creativity, of the highest order.

Matt is a maestro… a consummate storyteller and his stories must be told.. at times, in cheeky recollections of past loves…at others, framed by a deeper introspection…his thrilling repertoire of past and present ballads and mash-ups, twist and turn with digressions, the punchlines, of which, have the entire room hanging onto his every word, whether spoken or sung.

As leader of a new brand of “old-skool, new-cool” performer, he is loyally supported by the perfect comedic timing of his partner-in-rhyme, “Big Joe” and a capsule selection of artistes of, nigh-on inconceivably, sky-high musicianship, showcasing sublime front-man, sonic delivery, with a tone, as deliciously smooth as the “Tuxedo” cocktail on offer, (one of a comprehensive list of eponymous variations, of a libate nature!) and as intoxicating to the Soul.

Arrangements are joyous and rousing… reflective of a profound knowledge and appreciation of a genre-rich musical intelligence.. One of the most prevalent examples would be “The Day We Met”, which, would suggest reminiscences of encountering a new love, when, the opposite would be more accurate. What begins with a “Smokey Robinson and The Miracles”, sensibility and 4/4 ease, (which, I believe could also be wonderfully-suited to a Lovers-Rock backdrop), cruises into a Marvin Gaye mood, soon becoming a Ska-fest, with a superb “Specials” reference to their classic, “Too Much Too Young” and then morphs into Carnival Dancehall rhythms, sending the room into a frenzy… only to re-emerge, with a James Brown-èsque breakdown, to the epiphany of, “Sometimes you have to leave the one you love, to find the one you love”… Having looked around the room, at the very moment in which such wisdom keys sink into psyches, it is of no surprise, that the standing ovations come thick and fast… How could they not, when expressive guitar riffs are finely-knit with anchoring bass-lines, peppered, with skilfully-percussive rim-shots and irresistible vocals, from two of the most dynamic backing songstresses you will hear anywhere, let alone the Vegas Strip!!

The phenomenal ensemble makes for premium production value, the force of which can be felt in every square inch of the speakeasy-style space. To that end, Matt stalks the dais-stage, like the proverbial lion…. Majestic, oozing charisma and energy, he is a sartorially-meticulous, human international grid, illuminating the room with unabashed and unrelenting fervour, until observers become participants, in super-fast time… Only his dance moves could be said to have greater velocity… and this man can move… Complemented by a series of dancing sirens, who personify grace and sass, not only, does Matt revolve like a spinning-top-of Soul, his freedom to move amongst the guests and interact, is utterly seamless…

and democratic… because, if interaction is what you want, then this is what you can and, surely, will, get! To be front row, is a privilege… and when I say front, I mean, front… like, smell the divinely-scented-aftershave-of-the-man, front.. like, be-offered-a-hand-and-serenaded-by-the-man, front… and if not that, then steel-blue eye-contact, with flames of warmth will hold you captive, because his, is the intention of recognising everyone and encouraging “oneness”. Whether it be in clapping as one, to singing (and improvising lyrics) as one, his deep-rooted desire to inspire and facilitate unity, through musicality, is admirable.

Completely logical, thus, that so many admirers from around the globe, descend upon this place… from an, ever-devoted, British contingent, to super-fans from Australia and Italy, all join the savvy Las Vegas locals… and all expect to be transported to “Gossy World”, where you cannot out-glitz or out-glamour the occasion… Quite frankly, people go all-out, to turn-up, and the entertainment exuded on their musical excursion, is beyond first-class!

It is for this inherent ability to translate and transmit from the stratosphere of ever-changing moods, in consistently exemplary fashion, that return visits are so commonplace, why tickets are so sought-after and why Matt Goss’s star will only continue to, exponentially, rise… It’s also a reason why, as in “Hotel California” so many, check out of The Mirage, but can never leave… It’s the entire reason why so many others, myself included, have fallen, not only for Las Vegas, but the sheer, prolific genius of this, most talented, South London boy-turned-man.. for, not only has he made good, but he is a uniquely authentic example of the Humanity, Civility, Passion and Professionalism which go into making an Artist, truly great

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved.

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Click-through for December 2018 ticket availability to see “Matt Goss At The Mirage”!

Twitter: @TheMirageLV

Social Media:-

Twitter: @mattgoss  ~  Instagram: @mattgoss  ~ Facebook: @iammattgoss

 

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Sincerest Afrow-appreciation to “Big Joe”, Olly, Ashley and the amazing 1 OAK Family, for their supreme kindness and hospitality at every show!

“Intentional…”

Don’t. Fit. In.

Fit-out your Life,

with Divine Purpose.

Change civilizations,

in one breath of determination.

Shout the mountain

down to its knees,

until it submits, into an avalanche.

From all angles,

every degree,

branch out!

Flick the dominoes,

in direction of your Destiny.

Run ahead,

watch them fall,

in surrender to the monumental.

Stun the world,

with what you have to give,

from your Heavenly head,

to your trailblazing toes.

Who cares, who else knows?

They’ll discover,

when necessary.

Contrary to those,

outward-facing,

who only live for

the outer glow.

They’re an allout, no-show.

Cannot quantify

that which moves you, so.

Or, how you grow.

The effort seems less,

yet more comes,

because, what you do,

is flow.

Yes,

you put in the hours,

cultivate seeds you sow,

knowing,

a Power, beyond where you are,

is the root to your fruit…

…and the Truth, is reflective,

of rolling the sleeves of your Soul up,

way up,

way past your elbow.

Every tear is your testimony.

Message through mess.

With your lessons, you bless.

You’re. All. In.

To Life,

you’re no novice.

Whatever it deals,

you defeat, with a grin.

Pain, is a platter,

you eat and you spin.

Spit wisdom,

then, spit out

what no longer matters.

I get you.

I got you.

I mean it.

I don’t mean to flatter.

Seen, or unseen,

out of sight, means reliance

on insight.

It’s not rocket science…

Surprise you?

I just might…

by joining you…

walking at Peace

and at one,

with you…

Doubting released,

by graceful intent

and gracious defiance.

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Point Breakthrough…”

Poised

On

Inspiration’s

Nexus,

Trembling…

But

Ready…

Emotionally

Able…

Knowing

That

Hope

Rushes

On

Unto

Greater

Happiness.

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Reflections…”

Brave.

Revealing one’s tenderest depths.

A heart-song,

in state of undress.

Acute recollection,

en route to perfection,

in past-historic time.

Engaging your partners-in-rhyme,

each line, by meticulous line.

Such a sign,

of courageous endeavour,

to open a treasured,

emotional process.

Would others so do?

So, confess?

I silently, surely, cry

“Never!”

As,

it’s not about being “too cool”,

nor, a strategy, to “take you in”,

to manipulate,

go beneath skin,

by feigning, “clever”…

It’s pure and it’s humble…

… inspires us all,

to share, from profundity,

one-on-one,

just how we feel.

It’s authentic…

It’s touchingly, real…

… and,

this is what brings us,

and binds us,

so tightly, together…

… in Love and Respect,

for Now and Forever.

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved

“A Beautiful Mind…”

Abundant with moves.

Moulded by moments,

which mate

with energised analogies,

embedding analysis,

beyond the board.

Pliant thought-patterns,

check challenged minds, run aground.

Daring conjugations,

of liquid lucidity,

are crowned, in sound.

You speak the vocabulary of dreams.

Translate transience, for mortal musing.

Decorate discussion,

with fearless intelligence,

that beams.

With brilliance,

you cleanse the confusing…

…share genius,

this, you can afford.

For,

freely, you give…

…Your Soulful Truth,

is our reward.

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved.

“Old Friend…”

 

… I lean into the contours

of my yesterdays.

Exchange rings with the fingers of memory.

Make notes-to-self,

that

the Soul still sails,

as Hope floats…

..that

Autumn springs eternal

and leaves

rustling thoughts in mind…

..that

gone, is not forgotten…

..and

I know,

I shall return to you,

my

Peace and Love

to find.

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2018. All Rights Reserved.