John Legend took the stage on Tuesday to cap off the Yahoo keynote, and it was good. It was a delight in fact, a brief respite after the certifiably bizarre spectacle that was SNL meets Yahoo meets David Pogue. For me, it was actually something of a surprise. The restraint of it, the un-CES-ness. I caught myself wondering aloud, “Why are you here, John?”

And that was it. The keynote ended, and we were once again swept up in the news of the day. (C’est la guerre.) But the performance itself hit on something about CES that I missed at first.

As much as it’s about ideas and innovation, CES is about showmanship — big booths and booth babes. CES is at least figuratively a party, and we’re all on a bender here. It also, literally, is a nice excuse for companies big and small to throw lavish parties. Parties for TVs. For streaming apps. And just a ton for boutique iPhone cases. But these parties are so rote, so inevitable, that we don’t pay much attention to them, save those of us who want to go out and get obliterated on a Wednesday night. I went to see if the literal parties could tell me something about the figurative one.