Okay, so I’m browsing the blogosphere and I come across Linda Lou, Live from Las Vegas. I know Linda and I check in with her humorous blogs every now and then, but tonight I was stopped cold. I had found a soul mate. Someone who doesn’t think that Cirque du Soleil represents the ultimate, unsurpassable form of human entertainment in the entire history of the universe.
I started coming out to Las Vegas in 1998 to play poker, and by the time I moved here in 2006, I was coming for two weeks every month. And I can say without hesitation that the number one topic of conversation that I encountered in this town during all those years was the awesomeness of Cirque du Soleil, and the number two topic was how said awesomeness was not to be questioned.
At first, I didn’t know what Cirque was, but then it was explained to me. It sounded like just a bunch of acrobats jumping around to flashy lighting and edgy music, but no, I was told. It’s much more than that. It’s awesome. What a spectacle! You have to see it! Like, I’ve seen Mystere and O four times each. Oh, and Zumanity! So sexy!
I couldn’t put it together in my mind why an acrobat show would affect otherwise rational people in such a way. I mean, hadn’t they ever seen that stuff on Ed Sullivan? (Of course, then I remembered, most of them weren’t around for Ed Sullivan) But I wondered how the whole concept ever got a foothold in Las Vegas to begin with. Then I figured out the probable scenario.
Steve Wynn opens the Mirage in 1989 to great fanfare. He hates traditional Las Vegas entertainment. He wants desperately to break with the Jewish comedian/Italian singer syndrome that had the Las Vegas Strip locked in a choke hold for decades. Realizing that much of his high-end business will be coming from non-English speaking countries (ie, Asia), he searches for a form of entertainment which these people can appreciateÂ (read: where they don’t haveÂ to understand English). Siegfried and Roy fit the description, and they become a hit, but then Presto! Along comes Cirque du Soleil and Wynn has reached Nirvana.Â Just use the same concept of acrobats jumping around over and over again in different shows with different lighting and music, and he’s struck gold!
So, I resisted these shows for years, but like Linda Lou, I was presented with the chance to see Love at no cost. Ooh, this one’s different, the Cirquers all said. Â You’ll love it! This one is the Beatles! And it’s just…it’s just so different!
The Love sound system, which was the greatest I’ve ever heard, was truly the star of the show. But basically, it was what I had feared: Â acrobats jumping around and flying through the air to Beatles music and flashy lighting. The live presentation drew absolutely no connection whatever to the Fab Four, despite their very left-handed, European attempts to do so. I’m quite sure the upcoming Viva Elvis show will be more of the same.
I know that, as Las Vegans, we’re all supposed to genuflect at Cirque’s altar, spending $150 each time out. We’re supposed to bring all of our out-of-town friends there, and then we must dutifully spread the gospel of how we very nearly saw God at the Ka show, or how our lives were totally, awesomely nourished and renewed at O. But like Linda, I just don’t get it.