Stardust Event Center
- 777 Blue Chip Drive
- Michigan City, IN 46360
- (219) 879-7711
I’ve always been pretty hit or miss seeing shows at casinos. I don’t actually like going to casinos so that always leaves an impression on me. It’s still one of the last archaic bastions for smokers who just can’t wait to poison other people because they think they’re special and deserve the right to pollute the air for everyone around them.
As I was making plans for a Saturday night with no wife or kids, I came across a tweet from Bob Saget advertising a show in Michigan City. That was on my way home from Chicago to Kalamazoo and I’ve always wanted to see Bob Saget live.
The show was at the Stardust Event Center inside the Blue Chip Casino on the north side of Michigan City, IN. The casino itself is about twenty years old although it’s undergone a few expansions to the actual riverboat and a couple of towers for the hotel and spa. The Stardust Event Center is inside the hotel portion of the complex and accessible by entering through the main entrance to the casino and heading to the right all the way down the hotel until you see the sign for the Event Center.
I pulled into the parking lot at Blue Chip just after 6:00 and parked in the surface lots near the entrance to the casino. Of course they offer valet and even covered parking options, but I found a spot not too far from the entrance on the surface lot.
The show wasn’t until 8:00, so I had some time to kill. I had given myself a limit of $80 to spend in the casino….I’m not a high rolller. I really don’t even like gambling, but I needed to kill some time so I decided to go play. First off though, I grabbed a beer. There’s a beer and wine bar near the entrance to the gaming floor and they actually had some decent beer selections. I picked up a Hopwagen from New Oberpfalz brewery in Griffith, IN. It cost me $3.50 for a beer in the casino and it was a delicious American IPA…remember that….
After losing $60 on a combination of quarter and penny slots I decided to call it quits. I had a $20 left in my pocket and I wanted to get a beer for the show, so I just gave up with about fifty minutes until show time.
I left the smoky confines of the casino floor and I’m pretty sure my eyes thanked me as I walked down the hallway to the Event Center. The velvet rope that was there earlier had been removed and there were two people with scanners for the tickets. I pulled mine up on my phone and let them scan it. Technology is awesome, but I do miss the keepsake of the ticket stub.
The Event Center was done another long hallway. There actually looked to be a retirement party going on in a different room back passed the entrance, but a security guard was pointing people in the right direction.
The Stardust Event Center isn’t a theater. It’s more of a large multi-purpose room that can be divided into several smaller rooms with a large stage on one end. Right outside the door there were portable bars. One was doing cocktails. The other was doing bottles of beer. The beer selection in this part of the complex was pathetic. Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Heneiken, and one other bad choice. The worst part? Those beers were $5 each although they did have a deal on buckets of beer where you got one of them basically free. I grabbed a Miller Lite then headed into the room to find my seat.
The seating is all done on one level. The room is big enough for about 1200 people. The seating are all the type of chairs that you would see set up around a table at some kind of fancy dinner. For those of you from West Michigan, think the Steelcase Ballroom at DeVos Place only with a permanent stage. The chairs are all hooked together…to start at least as several people around me did their best to unhook them. The seats, hooked together, are really close together and a little uncomfortable.
I paid a little extra money and sat three rows back just so I could get a seat on the end of a row. It was about the only one like that left and I’m glad I did it. The guy sitting next to me unhooked my seat and I slid over just a little bit to give us both a little more room.
Once the lights went down and the opening act, Mike Toomey of WGN Morning news fame, hit the stage, none of the other stuff mattered. I was pretty close to the stage so the lack of elevation as the rows went back didn’t affect me. For a show like a comedian where everyone stays seated anyway, I don’t think it would be a problem even for those way in the back.
Toomey went for about fifteen-twenty minutes then Saget came out. If you’ve never seen Saget or know nothing about his stand-up, as a few people around me did, you would be incredibly surprised by what comes out of his mouth. It is incredibly dirty, but, if you like that kind of comedy, as I do, it’s also rolling on the floor hilarious. He did some old bits. A lot of things that were on his last album and HBO special, but there were some new bits in there as well. I never get really excited about his bit with the “heckler.” It seems kind of forced and almost like a plant, but a lot of it is still funny and there were definitely some new jokes in there as he riffed on “Chris.”
The show ended with music. He played the same three songs on his last album. If you’d like to find them on Youtube to just to see how dirty they really are, the three songs are My Dog Licked My Balls, The Girl From Driftwood Retirement Home, and Danny Tanner Was Not Gay. It goes without saying, those links are NOT safe for work. So don’t click on them if you’re at your desk.
The Stardust Event Center is what it is. They get some pretty good shows there and I would go back if there was a show I wanted to see. It’s a small house which works well for comedians so I did like that about it. It just seems weird that you’re essentially in a conference room…albeit a large one….on chairs that are too close together to sit comfortably which space isn’t really an issue. I hope this doesn’t sound like I didn’t enjoy myself because I actually really did. I’m not a super huge fan of casinos or casino venues, but they serve a purpose. Some are better than others. Blue Chips is about mid range for me. It’s a nice space. It’s a small room and if there’s a show you want to see, don’t pass on it because you don’t think you’ll like the venue. The small, intimate nature of the place is great for those kind of shows.