Rockabilly Vacations

VLV Countdown: Remembering The Gold Coast

12:15 PMDollie DeVille

For some reason, today I am reminiscing about the days when Viva Las Vegas was at the Gold Coast. As you all know, I am a youngin’, so I never got to experience the “golden years” of VLV, but I got there just in time to experience it for a few years while it was at the Gold Coast and a little bit smaller than it is nowadays. So, for my 77 days to VLV 14 post, I thought I would talk about the Gold Coast. Viva was held at the Gold Coast hotel and Casino from its inception until 2009 when it out grew the Gold Coast and moved to The Orleans Hotel and Casino. The Gold Coast was smaller, more rundown, and smelled bad. But, we loved it!
The best part of the weekender being at the Gold Coast was the Car show. Back then the car show was a lot smaller and was located at the top deck of the Gold Coast parking garage. You could walk straight out of the casino door and end up in the car show. You didn’t need a wristband, you could bring your own booze, and it was a lot more laid back. You also could see the car show from your hotel room if you were lucky. The best part was probably that the car show was open all hours of the day and night, all weekend, so you could go out there late at night with a cooler of beer and just chill. Eventually, when the car show outgrew the top deck it had to be moved to the larger parking lot behind the hotel, and then eventually to The Orleans. Now to get to the car show at The Orleans you have to take a mile long trek through scalding asphalt. That sort of takes some of the fun out of it in my opinion. But, the upside is that the larger venue and bigger crowd gets us bigger acts like Jerry Lee and Chuck Berry.

Another thing that was very different at the Gold Coast was the burlesque competition. Back then you could actually catch the burlesque competition! At that time there was only one show, and it was always Saturday night in the upstairs ballroom. There were no bands over lapping it, so it was a big event. It was standing room only, so if you waited around long enough, you could get a front row spot and hoot, holler and get glitter thrown all over you. It was a blast! When they moved to The Orleans they put the contest in the sit down theater, added multiple showings, and with bands overlapping it. It is also so hard to get a seat that you have to get a “ticket” in advance! Because of these changes, we have not been to the burlesque competition since the Gold Coast days.

Another thing I miss from the Gold Coast is the bingo! They have a bingo room at The Gold Coast, so a group of us girls would always meet up and play bingo together. Back then they didn’t have bands during the day, so you actually had time for other things, like gambling! You got to play a long time for a little bit of money, and they brought you complementary drinks, two at a time! The Orleans doesn’t have a bingo room, so I miss that. I was hopeful when they announced that they were doing Burlesque Bingo this year, until the schedule came out and I realized that it is in the theater on Saturday at 1am. 1am on SATURDAY? What are they smoking? No way I would be caught dead in a sit down theater Saturday night at 1am playing bingo. I will be watching The Caezars! If they put it on Friday afternoon I might have actually gone.

Another thing I miss is the cocktail waitresses at The Gold Coast. Back then they used to “dress up” for the weekend. They would try and wear what they thought rockabilly people would wear, but it always ended up being like cheesy 50s sock hop costumes. They all wore black and white polka dot halter dressed with full skirts and scarves around their neck. It was funny, but sweet at the same time. It made us feel welcomed like they actually wanted us there. They genuinely seemed happy too, so we always tipped them better.

Speaking of booze, in the Gold Coast there was a centrally located bar where everyone hung out. It made a huge traffic jam, and a “tough guy alley” but it was a great place to have a drink and meet people. Right around the corner there was an actual showroom, with real stage. Since there were only two music venues, there was a possibility that you could actually see all the bands that were playing the weekend. Back then you could also bring in your own drinks to the ballrooms. I liked the dance floor there better, because it flexed under the weight of the people, making it extra bouncy and fun for bopping! Back in the day they used to pass out the wristbands downstairs in the showroom and they used to have cocktail waitresses pass out drinks while you waited in the ridiculously long lines. Now at The Orleans they have a better system to get the wristbands, so the line is a lot shorter. The Gold Coast had a lounge downstairs, and during the later years of Viva, they had a surf band there playing shows all night, and you could see and hear them from all around the casino floor. And, you didn’t need a wristband to watch them. There were only a few seats though, so you had to get there early to get one.

I really miss the restaurants at the Gold Coast. Especially the Italian restaurant they used to have. They had really good food at very reasonable prices, and they gave you a free bottle of wine with dinner! It doesn’t get any better than that! The Orleans doesn’t even have an Italian restaurant! I also miss Ping Pang Pong Chinese food for late night noshes. It was soooooo good! The Port-O-Call buffet was really good too, especially the seafood buffet. The Orleans has good restaurants too, so I will do a post about them in the future.

There are plenty of things I don’t miss about the Gold Coast though, like the sucky hotel rooms. They were tiny, smelled like BO, and had horrible plumbing problems! They don’t call it the “Mold Coast” for nothing! It was so hard just to get up to the rooms, because the line for the elevator was always around the corner. I also don’t miss the ridiculously long lines for the shuttles. Sometimes you had to wait an hour to get a shuttle to the strip!

Those are just some of my memories that I wanted to share with my readers that have never been to VLV while it was at The Gold Coast. For those readers that have been to every VLV, what are some of your likes and dislikes of the Gold Coast?

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  1. I sadly haven't been to VLV since it moved from the Gold Coast, I've been broke and the £ to $ is not what it was :o(

    I loved the Gold Coast, happy memories!

  2. Thumbs up to your efforts to create and put such informative and interesting points in the blog. You exactly got the points which I was looking for. Keep up the real work.

  3. I miss the Gold Coast too! Viva definitely got too big for the GC to handle, but I loved how everyone in the casino (except for one or two surprised old folks) was one of "us" during the weekender. Heavenly! The Orleans is better suited to the size of the event, for sure, but the casino floor is so spread out that its not quite the same.

  4. you seem in the know... what happened to the scheduled wild records party on the friday night? thxs

  5. People do seem to think that sometimes.......he he he.

    The way I know it....

    Last VLV, myself, others, and quite possibly Tom as well, got upset that WILD wouldn't post the schedule times for the bands playing during the WILD Records Showcase. I guess Tom wanted one but Reb didn't cooperate apparently. This caused a lot of people, myself included, to miss the WILD bands they wanted to see because we couldn't find out when they were playing. I guess Reb wanted us to stand around all night waiting for the few bands we wanted to see. Afterwards, there was a big discussion about it on the VLV Myspace group. And now, this year, the WILD bands are just playing the same as the other bands, and are now included in the scheduled times. So, I can only assume that is why. Overall, I think it is a big improvement! I am sure WILD will still have a huge pre-party Thursday night, so you can catch all of your favs there. I will post about it when I hear about it, to keep you updated.

    So....there it is, the way I understand it.

  6. We are just about to embark on a tour of all the world 'Gold Coast' destinations, seemed like a great 'theme' for us to adopt, so your post we well received and has certainly given us a few ideas. Sounds like you're having a ball!


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