I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Eve. My immediate reaction is, Oh, NYE, you mean “Amateur Night”? It’s the most over-hyped holiday; an excuse for people who spend 364 nights out of the year behaving to go buck wild. The past few years, I’ve kept things low-key to avoid the lines and cover charges at bars and drunk drivers on the road.
This year my boyfriend’s friends had a plan to go all out- get hotel rooms at the Gaylord Texan and see a local 80s cover band, The Spazmatics, play at the Glass Cactus, a nightclub adjacent to the hotel. When I first heard the idea, I was immediately turned off. This would be an extreme version of amateur night I thought, based on the band and the location of the club (Grapevine, Texas- if you’re not familiar with the area, it is quintessential suburbia). After some debate, I decided to roll with it. The group of friends going guaranteed a good time, and 80s attire became de rigueur. Plus, staying at a hotel would keep us off the treacherous highways.
When we arrived at the Gaylord Texan early Friday evening it was packed. The check-in line was long, but moved quickly. The compound is huge, reminiscent of a Vegas hotel, with several wings connected by a climate-controlled atrium, and plenty of restaurants and shops. On the way to our room, we walked through the atrium to check out the holiday decorations. Rotating Christmas trees, lit-up icicles, and reindeer topiary tried to convey holiday cheer. The decorations, like the rest of the hotel’s décor, were so contrived they were practically camp. Antler chandeliers, giant paintings of cowboys in action, and tin stars abound at the Gaylord, perpetuating the stereotypes of the Lone Star State.
Our room was clean, comfortable, and spacious. We stocked up on pre-party libations and kept them cool in the mini-fridge. There was enough space for friends to come in and out as we made plans for the night and perfected our 80s looks. When it was time to head to the Glass Cactus, we squeezed into a shuttle and were driven a few blocks away to the club, which was very much appreciated by myself and the other ladies in our group wearing stilettos.
The Spazmatics are a totally awesome band to see. They dress up like “nerds”, play all 80s cover songs, and are very talented at engaging the crowd. Speaking of, as expected, the median age of the patrons was a little older than our usual haunts, but for the first time I appreciated the amateurs- it made for great people watching and everyone (that I saw) was genuinely having a good time! We had a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and danced the night away!
If I could tell the management team of the Glass Cactus anything about the night, I’d have one suggestion: switch to plastic cups instead of real glasses! The dance floor became a sea of shards of glass by the middle of the night. I’m responsible for breaking two! Oops! With all the party-goers working their best 80s moves, glasses were flying. Luckily none of us slipped and fell! It can happen in pointy stilettos…
We brought our party back to a friend’s suite at the hotel once the Spazes were done. The place was still buzzing with action. It was an interesting mix of families with young kids, awkward pre-teens wondering around, and glammed-up couples of all ages. I didn’t last long after the concert, and fell asleep in my 80s gear on top of my covers. The next day everyone was slow to get up and about. Our hotel room was littered with snacks, cups, and random costume pieces. It was a treat not to worry about cleaning up a friend’s place after a party- the beauty of maid service!
Overall, the night provided a fun, safe environment. It was nice and relaxing to stay close to home, and not having a mess to clean was definitely worth the money spent on the hotel. Hanging out with such a fab group of peeps was the best way to ring in the new year! 2011, here we come!