Stuck in a Moment

The VooDoo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino is the only venue I’ve been to that screams Rock Star! and All-You-Can-Eat-Steak-and-Shrimp Buffet! so loudly — and in the same breath.

Like a drunken, debauched, rich, over-the-hill, sequin-clad heiress in heat, the VooDoo Lounge was meant to be conquered by a high-dollar U2 tribute band, and I was meant to be there when the faux Bono recently donned his Dolce flys.

Vertigo USA, come on down.

This band is the real fake deal. Hailing from Chicago, Vertigo USA is so dedicated to putting on a show, says guitarist Greg Flamm, that it brings its own $12,000 lighting system even when it plays small Irish pubs. That particular effect was already in place, however, at the opulent VooDoo Lounge, a two-tier room with the latest in interior bar design and way more comfortable and downright indulgent seating than any club on Earth.

Vertigo USA was definitely a step up from U2-on-the-juke, especially Flamm’s backup-singing, guitar-chorus-ringing erstaz-Edge. But the real spectacle was the singer, who, thanks to a wireless mic, repeatedly ran offstage and made the crowd play “Where’s Bono?” Like a miniature version of the world-saving wonder, this wee fellow made up for his bandmates’ lack of charisma (again, just like the real thing) by playing the part with no trace of irony not imparted by the master. He leaped about slowly with his idol’s Frankensteinian, pigeon-toed skip steps and engaged many an audience member in histrionic, slow-mo high-fives.

In the crowd, there were fans and there were Fans. The former were best represented by a mother-daughter, sister-sister and/or lesbian-lover couple who tried to win mini-Bono’s affections through stripperlike behavior. At one point, the younger of the two writhed on her belly at his feet until she was able to launch one headfirst attack at his crotch, to which Bono responded by skipping away without missing a beat, lyric or fricative exhalation.

The Fans, however, were real U2 worshippers. Adriana, who is a moderator on the worldwide U2 online forum at Inter, told the Pitch, she had seen Vertigo USA before. She praised the singer’s performance, noting that the real Bono (who once kissed her on the hand) tends to get sweatier in concert.

Chandra agreed that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery, even when it came to her favorite band. She sported a homemade fan shirt — all black with just the word “ONE” on the chest. Later in the night, the Bono clone invited the adorable, shy Chandra onstage when it came time for her song.

It was a night for the people. Some had fun, some made fun, and four dudes from Chicago became the biggest rock band in the world. Stuck in a Moment Spending a night with this U2 tribute band, fans find what they’re looking for.

Categories: Music