The Beatles In Vegas

Last week was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  In the history of pop culture and rock n’ roll, this was about as historic a night as there was.  I tried to think of things that have happened in my lifetime that have been as significant, and couldn’t come up with many.  How many amazing artists have come and gone, and made appearances on prime time television in the last 50 years?  Many.  How many appearances were so memorable that they will be remembered 50 years later?  Few I think.  There was a great tribute show on TV commemorating it, and it was great to see Paul and RIngo up on stage together, as well as all of the other artists that paid musical tribute, not to mention the Cirque du Soleil performers who joined the spectacle.  It made me think of Las Vegas!

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What doesn’t make me think of Las Vegas?  When I drive to the store tomorrow morning to pick up milk for my son, I will find a way to think of Vegas.  That’s just how my mind works.  There is a good Vegas/Beatles connection though.  One of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the Strip titled “LOVE” is a fantastic show inspired by the music of The Beatles.  When I went to The Mirage Hotel to see this a couple of years ago, it was the first Cirque performance I’d ever seen.  I had heard that it was something not to be missed if you were a big music fan, but if you wanted to see the crazy acrobatics that these shows are known for, then maybe there were better Cirque shows to see.  Personally, I’m all about the music, and I could care less about the degree of difficulty for the performers, as long as they perform well, and they did.  In fact, this show was so well done on every level that I contemplate seeing it again every time I go back.  There wasn’t a bad seat in the house.  The visual presentation was stunning.  I can’t speak on behalf of all Beatles’ fans, but I loved the music.  It’s almost like a mash-up of The Beatles catalogue, which probably has purists cringing, but the mixing was done by The Beatles’ original producer George Martin and his son Giles.  This gives the show some extra credibility for the music fans.  I liked that it wasn’t a greatest hits collection either, but a great mix of #1s and album tracks with subtle re-workings and remixes thrown in.  Any uptight music nerds can un-clench, and trust me.  It’s awesome, but buy the soundtrack at your own risk.  The performers were incredible too.  I get so nervous for them while I’m watching.  I don’t have a good stomach for that stuff.  They really brought the music to life.

In case “LOVE” is out of your price range, there is another intriguing option for The Beatles’ fans travelling to Vegas.  At Planet Hollywood Hotel, there is a show called “B – A Tribute To The Beatles”.  This one is cheap and cheerful by Vegas standards, and has a 5:30 pm start time, which means you can watch the show, and not have to rush through dinner afterwards.  These guys are impersonators who put on a full concert in full costume, which they change 3 times during the show to reflect their evolving looks.  The music is dead on, and whether you think watching impersonators is cool or not, there is no way any of us will ever see The Beatles in concert, and this might be as close as we’ll ever get.  If this sucked, I would tell you, but to be honest, these guys are pretty incredible.  If you sit too close, you’ll realize they’re way older than the guys they’re impersonating were, but it must have taken them years to get the act sounding this good.  It might be the best bang for the buck show on the strip if you like The Beatles.

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My Stay At The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

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This Vegas blog is gonna get better and better now that I’ve actually been to Vegas again.  Last week I spent 4 nights at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  When deciding where to stay, I searched through expedia.ca, and looked at the hotels on the strip.  I don’t have the patience to stay off the strip at this point, although maybe in the future I’ll branch out a bit.  I had stayed at the Cosmo last year, so I did have a comfort level with it, as I had really enjoyed my time there.  It’s a little pricier than most of the hotels I was looking at, but it fulfilled all of my requirements, being centrally located, with lots of cool restaurants, and great rooms.  Expedia had a deal which included free breakfast at the Wicked Spoon each day.  That put me over the top, and made it easier to justify paying the extra money.  In a previous post I’ve talked about some of my favorite buffets in Vegas, and The Wicked Spoon tops the list.  Not only were we not going to be buying breakfast every day, but after feasting there, nobody wanted lunch most days either.

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The service there was great.  It is a 5 star hotel and it’s first class all the way.  I had my son staying with us, so we needed a crib.  When we checked in, the lady at the desk co-ordinated crib drop-off and also asked if we were going to be using the mini-bar, warning us that moving items in the mini-bar would result in a charge to the room.  Anticipating that we might need the fridge for milk for our son, she offered to have someone come up and clear out the mini-bar.  This was thoughtful and a nice touch.  By the time we got up to our room, the crib was there in under 5 minutes.

I love the second floor.  This is going to sound crazy, but one of my favourite parts of the hotel is a spot where there is almost nothing going on.  There are two towers at the Cosmo, and the distance between them is substantial.  On the first floor, it’s mostly casino, but on the second floor there are some shops and restaurants in the front, but there’s a long carpeted path to get to the back.  Pretty quiet there most of the time, but actually a great place to bring a 15 month old who needs to run around a bit.  They play obscure 70’s soul music, and have a lot of great pictures of classic Vegas performers to look at as you walk through like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte.  There are 3 TV screens with footage of old Vegas, and some people just stop and watch it for a bit.  It’s a sharp bit of decor that gives a great retro feel without being tacky.  The rest of the hotel doesn’t seem retro at all, but I think its ultra cool that there’s this little quiet pocket where you can take a trip through time as you walk to your elevator.  I also like that they’re paying homage to old Vegas, even though it’s a newer hotel.  

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I’ve eaten at a few of the restaurants there as well.  I had previously eaten at STK which is a chic steakhouse that usually has a DJ spinning while you eat.  I remember really enjoying it there.  This time I went to China Poblano which is a Chinese Mexican fusion restaurant which is worth going to for the originality of their offerings.  Holsteins is a burger place that has a great beer menu, and specializes in adult shakes.  Probably the most interesting place is the pizzeria which not everybody knows about.  This pizza place (I believe) is open 24 hours, and is located down a hallway with no signage.  I don’t even know what it’s called.  It’s not on The Cosmopolitan website.  It’s a secret pizza place!!  How cool is that??  I had a White Pizza slice.  It was really really good.  Might be the best $5 I spent while I was there.  I would include a photo of that, but I don’t want to blow their cover.

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If you’re going to go to Vegas and get hooked on it like I did, get a rewards card.  The Cosmopolitan has a good one.  The drawback is that they only own that one hotel, so you can only use it there, but the awesome part is that you can swipe it for any money you spend there, so even if you aren’t a big gambler, you can still get points for staying there and eating in their restaurants.

I don’t have much to say that would be considered negative regarding my trip to the Cosmo.  If I have to nit-pick, I’d say that the doors to your room are loud enough to hear at Caesar’s Palace, so it’s difficult to sneak in after a night of gambling when you have a baby in the room.  Light sleepers beware.  Also, there’s a significant difference between the views from the windows.  If it’s your first time, try to get a room that faces the Bellagio.  That’s the best view.  If you get a suite, you get a balcony, and that’s the only place on the strip where that is the case to my knowledge.

All told, The Cosmopolitan is an amazing hotel, and I haven’t told you about half of the stuff there.  I highly recommend it, and it’s worth a couple of extra bucks in my opinion.

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