They say “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but I hope the unbridled enthusiasm exhibited at this year’s Society of Exploration Geophysicists meeting comes back to Houston and Denver and Calgary and London and all of the other home towns. Nobody knew what to expect. Las Vegas is an entity unto itself, and whether or not its myriad distractions would interfere with the conference’s important business remained to be seen. Many companies decided not to have parties because it’s hard to compete with the constant party that is Vegas. Marc Lawrence of Fairfield Industries, head of the exhibitor’s committee, predicted that the ice breaker would be packed and the Monday-through-Wednesday exhibit floor would be a ghost town. He was happy to admit how wrong he was. Every time I was on the show floor it was swarming with people. Exhibitors were talking to clients in their booths, and their booth presentations were well attended. The technical sessions were equally packed, and the session I attended, the tribute to Rodney Calvert, was standing-room-only. That’s not to say that they’re partying like there’s no tomorrow. Every time we asked the question, “How’s business?” we got an answer like “weird” or “I’m not sure.” Most of the seismic contractors have been through this before, of course. When there’s less demand for new data, they work on reprocessing old data. They anticipate that clients will shift their attention to new areas as resources like oil shale are no longer economic, and they try to be ready when that shift comes. But there seemed to be a general sense that demand is unlikely to drop enough to keep prices depressed for long. Next year’s show will be in Houston, not quite the party town that Vegas is. It will be interesting to see if the mood has changed.