Travis Barker seems like he’s boasting, though it’s a strange topic about which to brag.
“I can bleed through shows,” says the manic drummer of Blink-182, the first punk band to take up residency in a Las Vegas venue, at Pearl at the Palms. “I can play with a broken foot, broken arm. Usually when I break my arm, I start playing with one hand or whatever.”
“Usually” indicates Barker breaks his arms a lot. But his measured, casual tone in a video he posted Monday on his Instagram and YouTube accounts is more informative than theatrical. “Something’s up,” he tells his band mates, as a bag of ice resting on his right hand.
Barker is next shown raging through a show at Pearl. A message is shown on the clip: “Unable to obtain a proper medical diagnosis before showtime, Travis decides to perform for the scheduled Blink-182 show less than 24 hours later.”
But the performances on June 8-9 were the last for Barker and the band before he was diagnosed with thrombophlebitis, a condition that causes blood clots to form just under the skin in a person’s arms and legs.
The drummer who performs with broken bones was instead ordered silent, with four Blink-182 shows June 15-16 and June 22-23 called off. Dr. Bal Rajagopalan (“Dr. Raj”) of Linden Medical Center of Beverly Hills tells Barker that if he doesn’t stop playing, he will aggravate his infection, inflammation and the “little beads” of clots Barker feels in his arms.
“This is not the time to go crazy drumming,” the doctor says. “But ultimately, you’ll be back on the drums,” Dr. Raj says. “But we need to take it week by week.” The next scheduled Blink-182 show at the Palms is Oct. 26, time to recover and to watch this musical and medical story play out.
Mariah’s cabaret vibe
Typically, I do not leave Las Vegas Strip production shows early. These experiences are meant to be taken in their entirety. Otherwise, you would miss the Elsie the African spotted pygmy elephant disappearing act in Penn & Teller’s show at the Rio.
But I made an exception for Mariah Carey at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. This is not a dig. I had planned to hang with her for only about an hour on Saturday before scrambling to Iliza Shlesinger’s stand-up show at the Mirage. One of these Kats! double-headers.
So I’m not going to offer a full account of the Carey show. But I can say that her performance felt much like a cabaret or lounge show in Las Vegas. A very big lounge show, granted, but Carey is just a casual chanteuse, moving easily around her big “Jubilee”-inspired staircase, assorted boxes and glorious “M” taking up space on the Colosseum stage. As she performs, you can drift into conversation, check your phone, lose yourself in thought … and then you realize, “Hey, I know that song.”
Carey is a wonderful singer — and if she’s singing to tracks, she’s wonderful at that, too. But small venues in VegasVille are filled with fantastic singers. Find them at such haunts as Rush Lounge at Golden Nugget, Piazza Lounge at Tuscany Suites, Rhythm & Riffs at Mandalay Bay and Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace (or by following my Instagram feed).
Historically, Vegas lounges are havens for top vocalists, dating to the days Louis Prima & Keely Smith were tearing it up at Casbar Lounge at the Sahara. That show was free, of course, where Mariah’s tickets start at $59. Maybe she’ll swing over to Cleopatra’s Barge. If she does, I’ll cut in for another hang.
About Iliza …
Shlesinger, not so incidentally, was fantastic in her return to the Aces of Comedy series. One of her frequent warnings to single women visiting Vegas: “Those guys who buy cabanas at pool parties? They aren’t rich! They pool their money. They came to Vegas the same way you did — a last-minute on Southwest, Boarding Group C, middle seat in the back! And the hot one over there? He packed all of his stuff in a Glad bag!”
Shlesinger has built a solid, devoted fan following. Those who lined up for the meet-and-greet after the show carried embroidered stuffed animals, aprons, coffee mugs with personal messages and such. To catch a version of Shlesinger’s performance, watcher her “Elder Millennial” Netflix special debuting July 24.
The last time I saw a stand-up in Las Vegas who seemed so primed for stardom was Amy Shumer, in her days at Riviera. Shumer also headlined, years later, in the Aces series. On a similar arc, Shlesinger is cast in the film “Instant Family,” with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, due out next year. Her act is one to catch, beginning to end.