Last weekend, I went to Las Vegas for the first time, but I went for Lady Gaga, not gambling. I didn’t touch a slot machine or playing card; I didn’t even blow on any dice. I simply have no interest in gambling. I know the odds are stacked against me, and I don’t want to throw my money away.
I don’t like to take chances. I prefer to prepare in advance.
Which is why I bought these Lady Gaga tickets last August.
There were very few weekends of her Vegas residency where she was doing both her pop show and her jazz show, and if I’m flying across the country to see my queen, I wanted to see both.
I had to pounce on tickets the second they went on sale before the scalpers got them, so I didn’t have time to ask which of my friends could go and wait to hear back. I just knew if I wanted to get tickets seated together, I had to buy them all at once. So I bought the maximum number of tickets Ticketmaster would let me—eight tickets for each show.
I have never charged so much on my credit card in my life.
But I would make it back, I reassured myself. I was counting on the fact that my friends who wanted to join could reimburse me, and I could sell the rest. I might even make a profit.
In retrospect, a bit of a gamble.
But it all worked out! Two of my closest girlfriends were game to join me, and the excess tickets were bought within a day (meaning I probably didn’t price them high enough, but at least I didn’t gouge my fellow Little Monsters).
I had booked our rooms in the same hotel as Gaga was performing and staying in to maximize our chances of seeing her close up. It was Wednesday, two days before our departure, when we read that her costume museum was opening Thursday night. There was an off chance Gaga would be there after her show.
Could I get my act together and change my flight last minute?
You bet I could.
We made it to the tarmac in Las Vegas, waiting to deplane, when our phones regained service in time for Instagram live feeds to show us that Gaga was doing an impromptu meet-and-greet with the fans before the show, in our very hotel, right then.
I was trapped in Row 26, wishing I could trigger the emergency exit slide.
By the time we reached the hotel, Gaga had left the building.
So the day-early gambit was a loss.
Come to think of it, that wasn’t the only time we took our chances.
Saturday, we heard rumors that Gaga might appear after her concert at a certain nightclub where her producer was DJ’ing, so despite our jetlag, my friends and I danced until 2:30 a.m. just in case.
I gambled that I could wear my heels for that long, and I did, for lack of other options. The club floor was so sticky it was messing with my dance moves.
So I guess I broke even. I might’ve broken a toe.
By Sunday, we had only Gaga’s Jazz & Piano show left to see, and one more evening to try and catch her in the wild. Our weekend of intel-gathering lead us to suspect she might join her trumpet player at his band’s late show after her concert.
We had to get tickets to that. Could we get them same day?
The box office was closed. The concierge said they were sold out.
But this is Vegas, we thought, “no” is just an opening bid.
You can’t quit after one loss (or five).
You have to double down, ante up.
The King in Las Vegas isn’t Elvis, it’s cash.
We had some of that. And if we folded it up into tiny squares in the palm of our hand, maybe it would seem like we had more.
So we bet on which doorman seemed more amenable to a tip, and did our best impression of people who knew how to grease a situation.
We chose the right doorman, but as he pointed out with regret, we were in front of the security camera. We went from bribing to flirting, negotiating, and downright begging.
We did not get in.
And wouldn’t you just know it? Gaga did show up that night. She performed six extra songs in an intimate room to fewer than fifty guests. I watched videos of it on social media the next morning, sick to my stomach.
Like so many, I was leaving Las Vegas a little sadder, a lot poorer, replaying my errors in my mind.
From the edge of glory to a middle seat home.
The house always wins.
Copyright Francesca Serritella 2019