Special to the Sun/The Palms
Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009 | 4:14 p.m.
Yes, it was the Gran Turismo Awards, but there was more to Wednesday night at Rain than a video game.
There was a packed house, thanks to open admission and an impressive line-up: America's crowned best DJ, DJ Z-Trip, was at the turntables and one of punk rock's most enduring acts, the Offspring, were onstage.
Yes, there was Playstation signage, game consoles in club's VIP cabanas, and a race car simulator outside the main entrance, but for the mostly-male crowd that filled the floor last night, it was all about the music.
The free music: Sony footed the bill, meaning no one had to buy tickets to see the show.
(The bar tab, however, was on you.)
The Offspring took to the stage at 11 p.m. and proceeded to give the crowd an hour-long trip down memory lane.
The group, which formed in 1984 and shot to mainstream success 10 years later, proved they still have the chops needed to get a crowd going.
This is particularly impressive when you consider many in the mostly-male crowd weren't even born when the band first got together in the early '80s.
The group's hit-filled set included their break-out single, "Self Esteem," (from 1994's "Smash") as well as relatively more recent, and far poppier tracks like 1998's "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get a Job," as well as "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" from last year's release, "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace."
Midway through the set, roadies wheeled out a piano for frontman Dexter Holland, who proceeded to play the intro music from the cartoon "Peanuts."
"That was the whole reason I brought the piano," he joked before getting down to business with a solo acoustic version of "Gone Away."
Though the band has toured large arenas and stadiums the world over, Holland and the others appeared to be legitimately enjoying last night's relatively small show.
"This is the best Sony show we've ever played, ever," Holland said, leaving some wondering how many, if any, times the Offspring have played for the electronics giant in the past.
Despite the odd note of ambiguity, Holland's enthusiasm seemed sincere.
"I gotta say, I'm havin' a pretty good time tonight," he said to lead guitarist Noodles.
The feeling appeared to be mutual.
"Yeah, don't you love coming to Las Vegas?" Noodles (real name: Kevin Wasserman) replied between swigs of beer.
The four-piece, which was supplemented onstage by a handful of road musicians, left the stage at 11:50 p.m., then returned for a short encore.
The show ended just before midnight but the party didn't stop when the band left the stage: Z-Trip kept things going and ensured the crowd barely skipped a beat between one performance and the next.
Things really heated up thanks to the club's signature pyrotechnic system, which threw flames above the dance floor as Z-Trip cleverly opened his set with a hip-hopped-up version of Johnny Cash's classic, "Ring of Fire."
Wednesday night's event was the latest in a diverse assortment of entertainment offerings that have recently taken over Rain.
While Z-Trip is the club's still-somewhat-new Friday night resident DJ and spins his mash-ups on a regular basis, other acts that have showcased at the venue during the last month or so include eccentric electro-rocker Peaches (who performed, along with DJ Larry Tee, on Oct. 24 during one of Saturday night resident trance DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold's nights off) and Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Pea, who played a Friday night guest set on Oct. 23 after he and his bandmates opened for U2 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Melissa Arseniuk writes about Las Vegas entertainment and celebrity events. She can be reached at 702-948-7823 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.