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!

039

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.

Advertisements

The Vegas Trip That Wasn’t

As I’m starting to type this I could be in Vegas right now, but I’m not.  It would be 5:25pm right now, and I’d probably be thinking about what to have for my last dinner before heading to the airport and getting on the red-eye to come back home.  I’d had this loosely laid plan which has been a moving target with various factors contributing to if I could go, when I could go, as well as in what style could I afford to go.  Without getting into all that, I’ll just say that it didn’t work out.  It was probably for the best.  My son was really sick this week with a fever, and he has been a handful for both my wife and I.  I’m sure she would have been cursing me to the blazes of damnation if I was in Vegas right now, and she’d be right to do so.  If you’re going to go to Vegas, you need to leave your guilt at the door, or don’t go.  Unless it’s a Stag….. then you have to go!

The truth is that this blog has been suffering a bit.  When I first thought about doing it, I envisioned eventually going back there to take some pictures to use.  I have lots of Vegas pics from the 6 times I was there, but they’re of people with Vegas in the background.  I don’t really want to use pictures of myself, my family and my friends for privacy reasons.  I haven’t been back since I started writing this blog, and the way things are shaping up, I won’t get there again until next year.  I know, I know…. First world problems, right?

So this isn’t a complete bummer, I’m going to list off a few things I haven’t seen or done yet that are on my list of things to see next time I go, (or if I want to stay in a negative space, I’ll call it ‘things I would have done in the last 3 days’).  Maybe some of you have seen/done these things and can tell me if I’m on the right track or not.

SHOWS

I kind of want to see Jabbawockeez at the Luxor.  I think that would be cool.  I like any kind of comedy.  Maybe something with rotating comics.  Brad Garrett’s comedy club at the MGM maybe.  Not too into magic, but I think my first pick would be Penn & Teller at Rio.  Gotta pick a Cirque show too.  I’ve only seen the Beatles LOVE show so far.  I think I’ll go with KA, although there’s a new Michael Jackson show at Mandalay Bay which might be interesting.  Always check the Tix4tonight booths around the strip to see if you can get some cheaper tickets for shows.  I always do that first.

EX-BEER-IENCE

Don’t even think about stealing that word from me 🙂  There are a few bars I’d like to try for different beers.  Near Fremont there are a couple of micro-brewery pubs I’d like to go to.  The Triple 7 which is at the Main St. hotel, and the Chicago Brewing Company at the Four Queens hotel.  Near UNLV I need to head back to the Freakin’ Frog to see if they still have St. Bernardus Witbier which I swear is the best beer in the entire world (at least that I’ve tasted), and I can’t find it anywhere. It’s been almost 3 years since I had one.  I also saw that Gordon Ramsay opened a pub in Caesar’s Palace which is supposed to have a great beer menu as well.  I’ve still yet to set foot into the Nine Fine Irishmen pub at New York New York.  So many left to tick off the list.

RESTAURANTS

Bobby Flay’s MESA grill at Caesar’s.  Holstein’s at the Cosmo.  Yellowtail at Bellagio.  Countless buffets at countless hotels.  There’s a million of them, and no point in me even trying to list them here.  If you go to www.vegas.com they have 867 of them mentioned, so if you’re there for 3 or 4 days…… they’ve got you covered!  Maybe in a future blog I’ll list off my 10 favorite Vegas meals so far.

As far as other stuff goes, I just take it as it comes.  I do a bit of gambling, a bit of shopping, a lot of eating, and if I’m there long enough, I just might take in a tourist attraction or two.  If you don’t know what to try, I can’t recommend the www.tix4tonight.com booths enough.  Get a good price if you’re gonna take a gamble on a restaurant or show.  I’ve almost never been let down.

Bellagio fountains

Bellagio fountains

What Show Would I See Again?

In my 6 trips to Vegas I have been to less than 10 shows.  I want to wait until I’ve been a few more times and seen a few more shows before I start telling you what’s what.  I can only make recommendations based on what I’ve heard, and what I’ve already seen.  There is one recommendation that I’ve made over and over again.

A couple of years back my wife and I were visiting Vegas, and I was looking for a show that we could go to.  Although the Cirque de Soleil shows are the most talked about and renowned, they’re also the most expensive.  I’m all about bang for the buck, and a huge music fan, so I really wanted to see a show where music performance was the focus.

I’d read about an Australian vocal group called Human Nature that had a show doing all Motown songs.  They had a show at the old Imperial Palace (now the Quad), and Smokey Robinson’s name was attached to it.  Yes, I’ll point out the elephant in the room.  It’s 4 white guys doing Motown, which didn’t necessarily seem natural to me, but if it was good enough for a Smokey Robinson endorsement, then it was good enough for me (ie I don’t see Smokey Robinson’s name attached to anything that isn’t amazing, so I was pretty confident in my choice.)

To say that my expectations were exceeded is a total understatement.  I was blown away.  I’d like to think that I don’t get blown away that easily.  Especially when it comes to music, and concerts, I’m usually pretty hard to impress.  These guys were amazing, and did many of the Motown favorites that you might expect, and even some you wouldn’t (they tackled a few songs that had originally been sung by women).  They were backed by a great band, they each had their own vocal range of expertise, often taking turns as the lead vocalist, and some of their best moments were a cappella.  Their treatment of Smokey’s ‘Ooh Baby Baby’ made my arm hairs stand on end.  As soon as it was done I looked across at my wife and said “I think I shit my pants”, it was THAT good.  (Too much?).  Luckily for her and I, and the cleaning staff at the Imperial Palace, that was not the case, but I was totally amazed by these guys, and would recommend their show to ANYONE, ANY AGE, with ANY TASTE IN ANYTHING….. they are THAT good!

They do tour around a bit, but most of the time they are still on the strip (although they’ve upgraded to The Venetian… no offence Imperial Palace, I’m looking forward to seeing the Quad).  They used to sell CDs after the show, and they would autograph it for you, but this was a couple of years back, so not sure if that’s still the case.  Do yourself a favor, and go see this show.  You will thank me, and Vegas should pay me, but that’s another story 🙂Fall 2010 149