Several years ago, while on a trip to London, a friend of mine decided that we had to go to the Hard Rock Café. While not being all that keen on it—as it was in December, pissing snow—we made our way through Green Park to the brightly lighted venue on Old Park Lane. And not surprisingly, the bar/restaurant was full of people like us, who were there because it was there, as we were. In addition to the crowds and the “Gee, isn’t that a pair of Townshend’s boots?” or whatever, I do recall the beers were pricy. But so is admission to Madame Tussauds.
That Hard Rock was the original. It opened in 1971. The first piece of rock and roll memorabilia it had was one of Clapton’s guitars. Now it has so much stuff that they’ve had to open an annex to house it all in. In addition to which, it has become so much part of the fabric of ordinary life that it offers a Christmas Menu:
“This Christmas allow yourself and your guests to receive the ultimate Rock Star treatment! What could be cooler than being sat next to The Rolling Stones’ glittering stage outfit while enjoying a Mulled Wine or sipping the ultimate cocktail beside Hendrix’ Flying V guitar??”
Yes, Rock Star treatment. No doubt real rock stars gobble down burgers with delighted abandon.
Earlier this month, Hard Rock International announced the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun. The opening included performances by the Goo Goo Dolls and Flo Rida. Nothing like a corporate gig.
The hotel boasts some 600 rooms, five restaurants, and five bars. Apparently, upon entering the 12-story building it “transcends guests into the edgy, rockstar vibe featuring a signature ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ design.” We’ll let that set a bit.
Of course, prior to being transcended, one arrives on the “larger than life guitar-shaped driveway” which “provides the ultimate VIP entrance.” Hot damn! Shaped like a guitar. Imagine! How can one not automatically become a VIP?
The Hard Rock Hotel Cancun has “custom rockstar memorabilia lining the walls, showcasing signature pieces from Paul McCartney, Melissa Etheridge, Alice in Chains and more.” Is there a difference between “custom” rockstar memorabilia and non-modified memorabilia?
Today there are 139 cafes and 18 hotel/casinos. Evidently, rock and roll has changed the lives of some people, primarily the owners of Hard Rock International.
So when you take a trip to Biloxi or Bali, Chicago or Cancun, do you get the ultimate rock star experience? If not, why not?