It had been 9 years since I last visited Las Vegas with my dad, and 7-8 years since the last worthwhile comdex I went to, so it made total sense to go meet my dad in Vegas when he came this year, and spend a few days with him, there.
I'm not a gambler, so my main goal was to see the new decors and shows, and that we did.
I flew in sunday afternoon, and we did:
- Sunday: Penn & Teller at the Rio
- Monday: Rick Thomas @ Stardust, Carrot Top @ Luxor, and Rève @ Wynn
- Tuesday: Dirk Arthur @ Flamingo, Zumanity @ New York, and Lance Burton @ Monte Carlo
- Wednesday: McKing @ Harrah's, Blue Man Group & Phantom of the Opéra @ Venetian
- Thursday: day flight to Grand Canyon (no afternoon show), KA @ MGM, and Love @ Mirage
- Daily Morning Buffet, Cab to North Las Vegas Airport, and flight back to Palo Alto
The Rève cast was nice enough to pose for pictures before the show started
Blue Man Group
The chandelier in Phantom
It was a lot to see in a short amount of time, and in a nutshell, among my favourites were:
- KA, which was just a very well done spectacle, visually, and technically, even if you're better off not trying to understand/follow the storyline.
- Rève was nicely done too. I didn't see it as a O knockoff, and much enjoyed it
- Zumanity was somewhat amusing, but not great
- BMG, I had seen in New York already, so it was nice to see in a bigger room, but the NY show was more complete
- Phantom was well done, and had nice decors compared to the original version I saw eons ago in London
- Love was well done, but I just didn't appreciate it as much, not being a Beatles fan
- In the magic shows, Lance had the best traditional one, Penn & Teller had the fun and unconventional one, and Dirk Arthur is probably your best Siegfried and Roy replacement (his show has been going on for many years too)
You can look at
pictures of different shows
Outside of shows, as a start, you can go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel. I didn't know that it is actually at 50% scale, and offers quite a nice view from the top.
For Vegas itself, what hasn't changed is the perpetual tearing down of stuff to build new hotels in place. There is still however a dead spot between the MGM and the Paris hotel, but I'm guessing they'll take care of that sooner or later :)
One big change was obviously the Monorail that was installed and goes down from the Sahara, up to the MGM (and there is a private one across, from the New York, to the Mandala Bay). On one side, it's nice, but it's a little bit out of the day, especially if you happen to be or go across the strip.
Also, as my dad remarked, because they removed the public Cat busses that used to go up and down the strip, the monorail has effectively killed everything north of the Sahara, including all of the old downtown.
However, what is left is indeed still very pretty to visit, be it the nice Parisian streets with French Pastry in the Paris, the cool atmosphere in the Venetian (and gondola rides if you so wish), and nice displays like the fountains from the Bellagio, or the inside roman fountains and show inside the Caesar's.
What was also nice were the hotels that had custom displays, like the still running and most complete ever Star Trek expo (and now two rides) at the Hilton
or classic and sports car shows at the Imperial Palace and the Caesar's
or Madame Tussaud's wax statues at the Venetian
Also, let's not forget the hotels that had entire animal habitats inside, which while wasteful energy and water-wise, were still nice to see (I guess it wasn't nearly as bad as the Casinos running air conditioning full tilt while the doors were all wide open, and spewing the cold air into outside 40 degree weather (>100F for you yankees))
and while you can look at
all the pictures from Vegas
, a few more are below