Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Going Wild at Vegas Shows!

Monday, May 20, 2013

OLA: Going Wild at Vegas Shows!

Carol found her Yellow Garden at the Bellagio Botanical Conservatory!
Carol at MGM Grand
Crowds are aplenty, even if it’s off peak season (winter is peak). Crowds go wild, even with the sluggish economy! There are those, like us,who did not come for the casinos. They have become ubiquitous around the world and especially in the US and we are not risk-takers enough to gamble our money. But we surely came for the spectacle of the shows! You can even stay for a month, like us, and still have many left unseen for a future visit. Surprisingly, you can find many that are free, if you just know where to go. Luckily, the Thousand Trails Las Vegas resort provided us a list!

Jabbawockeez at Pinoy Pride Celebration
Free Shows

The first free show was at the Pinoy Pride Celebration where the main feature before the Santacruzan was the JABBAWOCKEEZ, a multicultural group with Filipino co-founders. They are the only dance group to headline a show in Vegas! They are best known for winning the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew. They now have a 6-year contract with Luxor.

the 19 Elvis Contestants
The next free show was a tip from Tony, my friend and former mentor from IBM Philippines. It was the Elvis Contest that sought the Las Vegas representative for the Memphis National Search. The night we watched, they were already down to 10 finalists from the US and Canada. Before midnight there were only three left in the semis and, finally, Chad Collins, a crowd favorite, emerged as the one who made Elvis most alive. Bill and I were thrilled!

Circus Circus Act
Carol and the Pirates
At Harrahs are flair bartenders and girlie dancers all night. Circus acts from all over the world was at Circus Circus every hour on the hour. Planet Hollywood has its Miracle Mile Fountain Show. However, we missed the Volcano, Sirens, and Dancing Lights at the Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio respectively, because of high (20+ mile per hour) winds the night we were there. But the largest salt water aquarium, the pirates, and the botanical conservatory in each of them still delighted us!

fireworks when the Sirens united with the Pirates
We went back another night when the winds were calmer. The Sirens is actually a battle fought between the Sirens and the Pirates, in 2 ships on either side of the bridge we were on! Of course, the Sirens won! The volcano eruption is cool (no kidding)! And the dancing lights are and will forever be romantic.

the volcano eruption at the Mirage
at Excalibur
Although I’ve been to Las Vegas several times before on business, I did not know of these free shows except for the Bellagio dancing lights and the amazing exteriors of MGM, Excalibur, New York, New York, and Paris
New York, New Yorkn
Carol at the Paris Hotel/Casino
The Caesar’s Palace’s Atlantis Show is another spectacle. It recreated for all the Fall of Atlantis showcasing sibling rivalry at its fiercest, the brother and sister bragging about how one's ability is better than the other  and why each should be favored by King Atlas. You will love the electrifying animatronic statues incorporated into the fire and water show. We later learned that at the other end is another show of Bacchus, Venus, Apollo and Plautus!  Next time!

the Fall of Atlantis in Caesar's Palace
Lake of Dreams at Wynn
However, it was the Lake of Dreams at Wynn, a newer and classier hotel/casino, that was the best! It is a mechanized fairy tale with flowers that sway, each 30 feet wide. 7 projectors give life to a giant head that rises from underneath the lake, singing, talking and making faces at the audience amid music. The singing frog is also 30 feet tall, backed by a four-story stage rigging that sends up dancing characters, moons and balls of fire every half-hour. This is our most valuable find because we were alone, viewing it from a balcony without having to dine at the restaurants around the 3-acre serene lake. However, we have to come back to have the time to view all the features.

Wendell, Angie,and Carol at Harrah's after the show
For-a-Fee Shows  

But the shows that had a charge are even better!

On Mother’s Day Angie and Wendell Manchester treated us to the longest running show on the Strip, Divas Las Vegas. Drag stars paid surprisingly good tributes to Madonna, Mariah Carey, Cher, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Liza Minelli, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Bette Midler, and Donna Summer. The drag queen, Frank Marino plays Joan Rivers himself.  People asked, why drag queens on Mother’s Day? Well, for one the people they are impersonating are mothers themselves, and in today’s society, they can be mothers, too!

The Divas Las Vegas with Frankie Marino at The Quad
Really Hypnosis at Planet Hollywood
Three days later, the Manchesters treated us to another show, this time in Planet Hollywood, Really Hypnosis, Really Funny. Marshal Sylver, educator and author reputedly hypnotizes 100,000 people in his shows annually and has sold $150M of his books and DVDs. During the show he first asked for about 40 volunteers from whom 10 who were the more easily influenced were selected. They became the show after Sylver led them to do all sorts of funny antics while in trance. In the finale one of them, a frail girl was stiffened, head and feet rested on two separate pedestals, and stepped onto by Sylver himself! And he is not a light weight!

Wendell, Carol, Bill,and Angie with Marshall Sylver
Carol  at Jersey Boys in Paris
On Mother’s Day, my second daughter Claudine gifted with us with tickets to Jersey Boys. The longest running musical in Vegas (it also runs on Broadway in New York), it is the story of the Four Seasons, as told by each of them, Frankie Valli, Bob Giorgio, Tommy de Vito, and Nick Massey, in four acts of spring, summer, fall, and winter. Their 40-year friendship took them from the streets of Newark to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With performances of "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Dawn," "My Eyes Adored You," and comedy, action, and romance, crowds literally went wild. I was up on my feet dancing in the aisle! Bill was shier this time!

Carol and Bill at the Tournament of Kings
And, for Bill’s gift for me on Mother’s Day…it was the Tournament of the Kings at Excalibur! He saw it maybe 20 years ago and he wanted me to experience the fun, too! And there, I really went wild. We felt as if we were in a real jousting arena, rooting for our King (ours was the King of Austria). We were taught to ‘Huzzah’ for him and the competition of the crowd sections was as fierce as the tournament of the Kings. During their banquet at the Round Table, we ate like we were in medieval England, too, with our fingers, much like in the Philippines today! We each had a whole Cornish hen (tasted like Max’s chicken, a Fillipino favorite). We drank with our tankards and raised them too! 

the dancing lights at Bellagio
Free or for-a-fee shows in Vegas are as plenty as the crowds and they constantly add new shows, new celebrities, and new acts. We have to stay in this city longer next time or visit more frequently. One month or one time just isn’t enough! Las Vegas is indeed the Entertainment Capital of the World…even if you don’t gamble! I concluded I have to let out my wild side at least once a year!!! Hope Bill agrees!


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