Lately I have been having to work through thousands of photos from my KC trip and, of necessity, have had to do most of my editing in LR. Really starting to appreciate the power of those tools. It's been great to stretch myself in that way. Usually I just use the raw converter (LR or C1) just to get a corrected image (no blown highlights/blacks, lens corrections, pre-sharpening, etc.) into Photoshop where I do 90% of my editing. But, with thousands of images to weed through, it's just not practical (with some exceptions).
There is an unfortunate breakdown of communication here, though. The very tools you referenced for color editing in LR are equally available and useful for Gene as well - they are all found within Adobe Camera Raw. When it comes to actual raw processing there isn't much difference (that I know of) between LR and ACR. So, your initial comment is still applicable. That said, I agree with Gene about the power of curves adjustment layers, which is not available in LR/ACR. It's not easy to initially grasp conceptually, but well worth the effort.