DIGITAL TONY: Trippin’ Down Memory Lane

C2K, house parties and nudie bars, oh my!

Antonio Llapur

All right gang, bear with me, I've been going through a reflective funk. I've been thinking a lot about so-called simpler times: old girlfriends, old comic books, and the zany hijinks of more carefree days. Specifically, the crazy summer of 2000. That was my summer of love, when my friends and I got sucked into the Vegas club scene. It was a wondrous, crazy time.

Back then, I wasn't a happy guy. I had just moved back home after an unsuccessful go in LA, and was stuck in some dreary cubicle hell. Worst of all, I couldn't write a bloody word. My best friend saw my sorry state and decreed that I needed a change, that I had to go out and have some fun. It took one trip to Baby's at the Hard Rock to get me curious, and one to Utopia the following week to seal the deal. I was a club kid.

Mondays were reserved for recovery from the weekend, so the actual club week began with Studio 54's EDEN. Not much has changed since: Studio is still the only place to be Tuesday. But there was also the after-hours at Play It Again Sam. Nowadays, you don't see the nudie bar after-hours parties so much, but 2000 was a banner year.

Wednesday, we had two options. First, like today, was Ra. But, down at the Venetian was C2K. Back then, C2K was a juggernaut—for a while, anyway. Controversy, ODs, bad management and worse press eventually sent it into a downward spiral to the sad showroom it is today.

Fridays where reserved for house parties. These weren't your average, run-of-the-mill parties. Hundreds of people and established DJs would show up.

Now, the real deal: Saturdays at Utopia. I've never had so much fun in my entire life. Even though that infamous fire struck in June, the vibe kept going at the Drink, where Ice is now. They eventually rebuilt Utopia, but it was never the same.

Utopia wasn't Saturday's only loss. What about Spearmint Rhino's after-hours? Good lord, what genius debauchery I encountered there! While Utopia was all peaceful and lovely in that hippy sort of way, Rhino was dark and dirty, but in such a very good way. I don't think I'll comment any further; my mother might be reading.

The end of the week came with Sundays at SRO. No other night celebrated the joy the scene had back then. It wasn't a hot party night, so many club workers were off and hung out there. It was so much fun that I swore never to set foot in SRO except on Sunday.

Back then, there were only a few clubs, and it was a small community where everybody knew everyone else. Now, it's huge beyond dreaming. But there was something about 2000. Maybe it was all the new friends, the crazy new music, or even the free-flowing chemicals, but that was the year the scene broke out and came alive.

Antonio Llapur walks softly and carries a big club. E-mail him at [email protected]

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