Friday, October 3, 2014

How They Do It in Vegas

HUGE is the most fitting description when referring to Vegas! Huge resorts, huge pools, huge drinks huge theatres, huge budgets, huge casinos, huge streets, huge meals, huge acts, huge parties, and so it goes on. It is the epitome of super-sized American culture crammed into 5.8 miles of hedonistic self-indulgence, but did I enjoy it? Hell yes! It is like and adults only Disneyland with anything you could possibly want at your beck and call, the only limitation is how much money you have to spend.

We heard numerous people while we were there describe it as hell on earth, so why do people want to go there? Well that’s like asking a kid why they want to go into a candy store? Whether it is good for you or not, won’t change your desire to enter. It is a place we have always wanted to go to, and what better place to go to if you love live performance? With our own Vegas show on the horizon, there was all the more reason to go and check out the real thing! There is so much more than the parties you see on the movies, of course that and the gambling is a huge part of it, but there is also the entertainment!

We made a list when we arrived of the different types of shows we wanted to take in to ensure our experience of Vegas shows was well rounded, and on finding the half-price ticket booths dotted all down the strip it was an easy list to work our way through. The challenge was narrowing it down to one of each.

  • Of course we had to see a musical theatre show, because that is always #1 on our list,
    so Rock of Ages was the perfect show to take in. My personal favourite music genre is 80’s rock, so there is no beating a musical comedy with all of your favourite 80’s tunes, topped off with just the right amount of cheese and bad hair! By the end of the night we had sore cheeks and stomachs and wanted nothing more than to get up there with them. The perfect start to the week.

  • You can’t go to Vegas without taking in a magic show, and in true Vegas style there are a few to choose from. David Copperfield won out for us as he is the master of grand illusions, perfect for the stage and he’s been there for 10 years, so he’s got to be good right? Right! He is a fabulous showman, and has just the right amount of entertaining banter and mind-blowing tricks. Really, how is it that you can make an entire classic car appear out of thin air atop poles that audience members are holding up, and then climb into it and start the engine? I guess that’s why he is paid the big bucks, and worth every penny!

  • Another essential when in Vegas is one of the six to eight Cirque shows. And how on earth do you choose? We have been to many Cirque shows over the years and we figured there was no way we could make a bad choice, so we picked one that was on the recommendation of our concierge.
    KA was not like any other Cirque we have seen, for starters it wasn’t in a marquee, it was in a massive purpose built theatre. On sitting down we discovered we each had our own surround sound speakers across the back of our chairs – nothing had been overlooked. The stage was not a traditional stage, more a huge pit with a pivoting floor on top of it. The bottom of the pit was covered in nets for when cast members had to ‘fall’ into space, and the stage moved up and down, and pivoted to a 90 degree angle with people doing tricks with poles, sand and LED screens on it. The stage would be around 4 storeys high when up on its end. You name it, this show had it and o a grand scale! It is something quite out of this world to describe, and the most theatrical Cirque show I have seen. Of course they have others in Vegas that are set completely in water, and adult themed Cirques, as well as the traditional shows. My only regret is that we didn’t see more.
  • Once we had a Cirque show crossed off the list our next must was a traditional showgirl show – what’s Vegas without showgirls right? This was our only disappointment. There are so many variety shows and showgirl shows, again it is hard to know which one to choose. We went with the really traditional choice of Jubilee. The costumes were beautiful and the set was extremely high tech and fully mechanised, but the show itself was really disappointing. The choreography felt dated and repetitive, and the singers were pitchy and uninteresting. It wasn’t a terrible show but lacked the excitement and pizazz we had come to expect from Vegas.
  • We stayed in the Excalibur hotel, and so felt compelled to go to the one show that was on there. It had been highly recommended to us by our shuttle driver and wasn’t something we would have otherwise considered.  Under the casino is a huge underground arena. It is all set up like an arena from medieval times where they do a Tournament of Kings show. WOW! I was on the edge of my seat the whole night. The jousting on horseback was extremely realistic, choreographed of course but
    if someone got it even a fraction wrong there could have been some serious injuries! They had proper jousting poles that shattered on impact, kings falling off horses and fighting to the death with their swords and wooden shields, there were sparks flying everywhere, and the most amazing indoor pyrotechnics I have seen. It was all set off with a traditional feast where we were each served a whole chicken, potatoes and half a head of broccoli….and of course there was not a piece of cutlery in sight.
  • Last on our list was to take in a Burlesque show. We always try to check these out when we are away with having our Orchid Lounge Cabaret/Burlesque. We wanted to go to something a bit different so we went to Zombie Burlesque. This was another fabulous night of entertainment that had us rolling in our seats with laughter. They did have some major technical issues with mics and their emcee had to swap out his radio mic for a handheld for the night. This provided some challenges for him, but it didn’t really detract from the show as it was just so entertaining. It was a little reassuring for us that even the pro’s in Las Vegas that are doing it every night have the same issues from time to time. 

We managed to cram in a lot of shows, drinking, sight-seeing, fairground rides, and even a bit of gambling in the week we were there, and loved every minute. If someone asked “would you go back?” my response would be “ABSOLUTELY!” There is still so much more to see and so many shows to be enjoyed!