By Stacey Kuhns
This week, "Oma Loves U!" is welcoming aboard new guest writer, Stacey Kuhns. Ms. Kuhns will be offering local reviews and experiences, complete with photos and/or videos.
You might also be treated to a poem from time to time! Welcome Stacey.
* * * * * * *
I purchased tickets for a concert at Casino Pauma approximately four months ago. It was extremely easy to get good seats (I purchased the tickets the day they went on sale) and the ticket prices for Casino Pauma concerts are quite reasonable. Our tickets were $52 each. Other advertised venues were available for $35 and up.
There were also tickets available for purchase the same night as the concert or performance. The staff at the casino are friendly and welcoming.
On 09/11/15, my friend and I drove to Casino Pauma. We had never been there before; it is off Highway 76 on the Pauma Indian Reservation. Upon arrival, we drove down a welcoming entrance to the casino, which turned out to be very small. There are no rooms for overnight stays, just a casino, two restaurants, and a walk-up deli/pizza counter.
Upon entering the casino, you are assaulted with the smell of cigarettes. There is no lobby. You are directly entering the slot machine area. Attached to the back doors of the casino is a large tent with numerous folding chairs inside as well as large floor fans. As the temperatures outside ranged in the very high nineties, we were hoping this was not the concert venue.
We chose to eat at the buffet. The concert start time was 8:00 p.m. and we arrived at the buffet around 5:30 p.m. The buffet was deserted, but crowds began gathering around 6:30 p.m. and then there was a line to get in.
The buffet offers a decent variety of food at a cost of $12.95 per adult. The service is wonderful and our waitress was very attentive in refilling drinks and asking if we needed anything. The décor is nothing special although there is a large orange tree in the center of the seating area with padded seats around the base of it. (Was wondering how many times an orange has fallen on a customer).
The food at the buffet was bordering on horrible.
Nothing tasted fresh. The best thing I had there was the salad bar. Fresh lettuce and lots of toppings. My friend tried many of the meat and fish selections. Neither of us was impressed. I wound up taking a bite of everything and not eating any more of it. The desserts were just as tasteless and inedible as the entree selections. The one thing that was hot and somewhat decent was the pasta station where they will add sauce and toppings into your selection of pasta and cook it on a little stove.
After dinner, we headed outside to wander around. We were told the concert was indeed in the outdoor tent as the casino does not yet have any sort of theater. Once outside the tent, we discovered the line was inside the casino. We got in line. The line ran through the slot machines, mostly penny machines, as they want you to play while you wait. This is also the smoking section which was unpleasant.
Tip: Another thing to be aware of is the women's restroom in the concert line area only has two stalls (the line after the concert was ridiculous). The men's restroom in that area has one urinal and one stall, so you are better off using the restrooms in the entrance area.
Something different than other concert venues was the fact that they did not search bags and they were fine with cameras and recording equipment! The seats are easily marked so we were able to seat ourselves without a problem. The folding chairs are very close together so you are cozy with your neighbor; not comfortable at all.
The venue is small so most seats offer a good view of the stage but everyone is on the same level so if you have a tall person in front of you, it can block your view quite a bit. It was very hot inside the tent, but once the concert started, it was easy to forget about the discomfort. Kansas was amazing. They sound exactly the same as they did in the seventies.
Although the food and outdoor seating area was a disappointment, we were happy we had gone. It was a fantastic show.