Las Vegas has everything…including the Beatles!

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block this week. At first thought I was simply overwhelmed by abundant birthday celebration, but as the week moved on I questioned that maybe it wasn’t fatigue that was holding me back, but instead concern that Las Vegas was just too big for me to adequately describe!

Las Vegas is called The Entertainment Capital of the World and it certainly is unlike anywhere else on earth. If you have never been on the Vegas Strip that may seem an audacious claim. If you have, then you know what I mean.

I need pictures to tell this story!

The Las Vegas experience is best enjoyed for its extremes. There is no subtlety in Vegas!  In the last fifteen years the Vegas Strip has experienced tremendous growth, boasting many of the world’s largest hotels, casinos and resort properties, creating a cityscape with the most dramatic architecture. And despite Nevada’s hard-hit economy, the entire vicinity is a continual work in progress!

Loud, brash, gaudy… just three of many  descriptive words I could use! Walking between hotels, our heads swiveling as we walk up and down the street, there is just so much to see–and all at once–so much so that it’s almost laughable. Yet it is fascinating and must be appreciated for exactly what it is–a combination of pure sensory overload in visual entertainment!

Of course, we did choose an extremely busy weekend to be in the thick of it! St. Patrick’s Day weekend AND 2012 NCAA March Madness! Let me take a little diversion here and explain March Madness to anyone who may not know college basketball. I’m probably the last person to explain it, really–but it’s a tournament, right? And sports betting is a Vegas staple–so it follows March Madness in Las Vegas brings NCAA college basketball fans and sports bettors by the thousands (seemed like millions) for viewing parties and drunken enthusiastic revelry. I had previously intended to find a green beer in a “cute” little Irish Pub, but they were taking it to the streets…so I took pictures of the street.

The noise and smoke of the casinos wears on me quickly, but Vegas is much more than gambling and fortunately for me, opulence and  excess also extends to the most exceptional architectural detail and art worth examining closely.

Of course, as much as I enjoyed fine dining and the exquisite sights–not to mention the gawking at behaviors congruent with “Sin City,” the original intention of the trip was to satisfy my one birthday request–to see Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE at the Mirage.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the inside of the theater. In fact, we witnessed a phone being confiscated and another “guest” detained until he deleted his entire photo memory card. You would need to see it for yourself, anyway. Photos can’t capture the acrobatics, dance and the best in visual effects. And a brief video wouldn’t do much to share the wonderful soundtrack of classic Beatles.The music director for LOVE is Sir George Martin, best known for producing the Beatles’ music.

LOVE was first envisioned by George Harrison collaborating with Cirque du Soleil’s Guy LaLiberte´and following his death the remaining Beatles and families of George and John worked with the creative directors to bring it to life. The show is currently celebrating its 5th anniversary.

There isn’t a bad seat in the theater, and in true Las Vegas style, there is more to see at one time than the eyes can take in! Two huge screens flash documentary footage of the stars while the theatrical performances of skilled acrobats and dancers take the audience on a slightly psychedelic journey through the ’60s, encompassing trends, politics and the lives of the Beatles. Many portions of the show are very moving. Eleanor Rigby is one of my favorites–and the song is central to a segment dramatizing the boys’ youth during the WWII bombing of London. Even the Queen (or a character meant to represent the Queen) appeared throughout the performance, giving me my birthday connection to the Royal Family. Wasn’t that a surprise?

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds combined beautiful dance with spectacular aerial ballet. Energetic Help combined athleticism with in-line skaters acrobatically coordinating dramatic jumps and leaps across space, synchronized to the tremendous score. The show is 1 1/2 hours of non-stop musical excitement. The sound system is perfect for the classic rock rhythms, too. Surround sound is perfectly placed, with individual speakers in each seat, enveloping you in the music.  I like my music LOUD so this did not disappoint.

We had a wonderful time! I don’t know when we’ll have the opportunity to return, but there were many shows, musical cabarets, art museums and exhibits of all kinds–not to mention dozens of wonderful and notable restaurants, that we did not have the time to experience. We did enjoy one additional venue, but I’ll be sharing that at another time!

Las Vegas is a great vacation destination and if you have the chance to visit I don’t think you’d be at all disappointed–particularly if you’re interested in a vacation of pure escape. In that case I think Las Vegas might be just right! I hope you enjoyed my little tour. I’m afraid it is impossible to really do the town justice!

If you have Vegas adventures to share, I’d be interested in hearing your stories,too–or at least the ones you can share! I understand What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Your tour guide, Debra

43 thoughts on “Las Vegas has everything…including the Beatles!

  1. I’ve never been to Vegas but the people I know who have been there have said how amazing it is and what a great time they’ve had. That Beatles show looks like it would be incredible xx

    • I’m so glad I could share glimpses of Vegas with you. It really is so over-the-top that I wished I had more experience with a camera! We had a good time simply laughing at the level of hyper-activity! As much as I don’t usually celebrate excess, Nevada desperately needs the jobs that this one location fills, and people were having a good time. It IS amazing…worth seeing just for the lights! :-) Thanks for coming by, and I do hope you have a great weekend! Debra

  2. That city is something else, Isn’t it? It’s a great place for any Royal to take off the crown and ler Her hair down. Throw in Cirque and the Beatles and you’ve got a perfect holiday. Glad to read you had such a wonderful time!

    • We did have fun, John, and as a family we’ll have things to laugh about for years to come. I got the giggles one night because I couldn’t stop watching–gawking really–at a woman sitting in one lounge who was obviously a Dolly Parton look-alike, more than likely in one of the shows. She was a dead ringer and mesmerizing. The music in many of the smaller lounges was good…not the old “lounge lizard” parodies of the past, and every well-known chef (you’d have enjoyed that) has a wonderful restaurant. That’s the funny thing about Vegas–it’s such a mixture of really lovely experiences right up against what would traditionally be considered bad taste. And yes, then the Beatles! A great way to bring in a new decade. I have put my tiara in my kitchen window and I’ll be chuckling for some time to come! Thank you so much, John…you’ve played along so nicely! :-) D

  3. I’ve only been to Vegas once, so I appreciate your “Loud, brash, gaudy” descriptors. It’s a place that everyone should experience once because it is one of a kind … and someday I shall return. Thanks for the sharing your trip!

    • I’m glad you have some idea of what it’s like, Frank! If it has been a while since you’ve visited I really do hope you can come again. I’ve always lived within a few short hours, yet we don’t make it a priority more than about every five years…then we really see how it has changed. My usual “go to” spots are quiet and private, lunch the ocean…but for this particular birthday I wanted to do something less predictable. I’ve had a great time sharing. Thanks so much for coming along. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. D

  4. Vegas has to be the best place in the world for people watching. I was there last month and was not dissapointed – apparently some folks loose all inhibition in Las Vegas (or don’t have mirrors in their hotel rooms). I’m not a gambler but the food, the entertainment, and the sheer magnitude of over-indulgence is always a kick. After three days I’m usually so over stimulated that I need to go home and sit in a quiet, dark, place. Thanks for sharing your experience – and Happy Birthday!

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes, Denis! I did read your recent post when you mentioned your stop in Las Vegas. I wondered what your friends thought of it–it was their first time, wasn’t it? I’m not a gambler either, and even if I really enjoyed it, the smoke just gets to me! We have laws in California against indoor smoking and so I have no physical tolerance for it. But we could walk for a long, long time just observing the sights and sounds, and you’ve got it–the people watching is what most appeals to me! And although we live 4 hours from this city, we average a brief weekend every five years…a little goes a long, long way. I was ready to come home and rest! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed your last post very much, Denis. I really did. Debra

  5. While I don’t have a Las Vegas experience to share, I am grateful that you did share yours here, Debra. What a phenomenal experience you had with the Love Cirque du Soleil and such a memorable birthday. I’ve never been attracted to Las Vegas, Debra, but your excitement, pictures, and descriptions alter my viewpoint and point to a direction I haven’t until now really considered. Much thanks.

    • Penny, I wouldn’t think you’d have much of a draw to Vegas…but you’d love to gawk and observe and I’m sure there are some of the lesser known activities you’d find very satisfying…I’m going to share another “experience” we enjoyed very soon. There is something for everyone if you can focus. Ha! I would have loved one more day just to sit somewhere and people watch to my heart’s content! It was a great place to go and usher in my new decade, and then I was very glad to come home to quiet! I couldn’t enjoy it very often, that’s for sure. And the Beatles experience was so wonderful, maybe in my next half-decade I will do that again…let’s hope that doesn’t come around too soon. I don’t want to rush my life away :-) Debra

  6. I’m glad you had a good time, Debra, and enjoyed your show. Las Vegas epitomizes everything I dislike — what was it you said? “Loud, brash, gaudy.” “Noise and smoke.” I’ll just call it The Temple of Excess, but Cirque du Soleil is wonderful.

    • Ah! Brilliant term–Temple of Excess! That’s a great description. I kept looking at all the hotel and casino workers breathing in that smoke and felt sorry that their employment requirements included that…I am appreciative of our California smoking restrictions! You know, Sharyn, Vegas is only a short four hour drive from our driveway to the Strip, yet we don’t go more than every five years…it’s not my typical draw at all, but I was amazed at how much we enjoyed ourselves. If the Cirque/LOVE hadn’t been there, I probably wouldn’t have thought to go, but we may return more frequently just to pop in on museums and exhibits that are particular to Las Vegas. We did have some very nice dining experiences :-) I need this weekend to officially turn off my party revelry…time to slow down! I hope you have a good weekend, and that your mother is feeling better, Sharyn. Debra

    • Yes, Jen. The guy with the phone was in front of us, took it out of his pocket and a woman quickly came to him and just took it from his hand, telling him he could come get it when the show was over. He didn’t put up a fight. Vegas is a crazy place for young and old! But it is worth seeing, don’t you think? We had one special dinner at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at The Venetian. It was wonderful..and I’m not enough “in the know” on my own, but I learned about the restaurant and Chef Keller by watching Top Chef Las Vegas a few seasons ago. I thought you’d like that :-) Have a wonderfully creative weekend, Jen! I’m sure you’re cooking something interesting! Debra

  7. So glad you had a wonderful birthday and a fun time in Vegas. Las Vegas is one of my favorite places to go when you only have a couple of days to spend. I love walking the streets (given that it Vegas, that sounds a lot worse than is) and watching the sights and the people. The fountains at the Bellagio are my favorite site to see and hear. It is always a disappointment if I am not able to experience the show at least one or twice while I am in town.

    • It’s funny how close we live to Vegas and yet how rarely we get to take it in, isn’t it, Catherine! So you like to walk the streets, huh? That’s so funny! We walked them, too :-) I think everything at the Bellagio is just lovely and I enjoyed the little time we actually spent at that particular hotel. I did see the fountains, but didn’t have the time just to sit and watch, and I had hoped to linger there. I could go back just for those experiences…I can tune other less pleasant aspects out very easily. Things that would annoy me to death (noise) I seem to enjoy in Vegas. You do have to be in the right frame of mind to go in the first place, I think. You don’t go to Vegas to get rest! I’m so glad I could share my pictures with you. I certainly had a good time ushering in this birthday didn’t I? Time to move on? I think so! Have a good weekend, my friend! D

  8. Dear Debra, . . . so, you’ve done it again…..introduced me to a place and an event I know nothing about. I’ve never been to Las Vegas and I’ve never seen a Cirque du Soleil presentation. I’d so like to see the one you saw on the Beatles. I have a problem when faced with too much stimuli. I get exhausted and simply have to leave and rest. It’s why I don’t do well in an antique store! So I think Vegas would probably drive me over the edge. But oh, that soaring architecture! Thank you once again for sharing your adventures with me. Peace.

    • Yes, Dee, it is indeed overstimulating, and although I can filter well-enough I suppose, a little does go a long way and even in a short visit like this one, I looked for places to occasionally withdraw. We had a long evening in a lovely, quiet restaurant before going to a late night show, and we found a museum to enjoy…and just off the Strip you’re really in the Nevada desert which is quite beautiful. There is something for everyone, even those who really don’t want to be in the center of all the hyperactivity. I am sure that you’d be fascinated, but it is a long way for you to come, so I’m just glad I could share what I did. I know you would have enjoyed the show, though, and maybe one day they’ll branch out beyond Las Vegas. There are so many exciting and unusual places to go all over the world and we surely can’t do it all! I do a lot of vicarious traveling through my blog reading–you, too? :-) I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Dee. Thanks for being so appreciative during my prolonged birthday season! Debra

  9. I am glad to see that we have the same eye for detail. I took the same photos of those painted ceilings at the Bellagio. They reminded me of The Vatican Museum.

    I am so glad to hear how much you enjoyed The Beatles experience. We didn’t get to any shows while we were there, and I love hearing about them.

    • Thank you, Andra. This was the first show we’ve gone to in Vegas in years and years. I did see Elvis in 1971! That’s a funny memory. I suppose at some point I really should share that story :-) The Vatican Museum is a good comparison to those ceilings! That’s for sure. You do get around, Andra! You are quite the traveler! Debra

  10. Wow, it looks like you had fun. I enjoyed those photos so much. Luckily writers block comes and goes. I want to read the post I missed, but I have to run. Be Back Soon

  11. Fabulous pictures Debra! I haven’t been to Vegas in about 12 years, so I’m sure it looks much different today than it did then! (Our adventured included attending a friend’s spontaneous wedding!) I would love to get back there sometime. The Beatles show sounds fabulous. I can just imagine what they did with Lucy in the Sky. It sounds like you enjoyed a great visit. What a way to round-out your birthday celebrations!!!

    • It was the perfect birthday celebration, Kristy! And because my adult children were with us, it was even more memorable. It isn’t easy for us all to find time to travel together. How fun to have attended a friend’s wedding…they didn’t stand before an Elvis impersonator did they? :-) I do hope the time will open up for you to visit again. I know you would find it very interesting…it changes all the time! Have a wonderful weekend! Debra

  12. I so wanted to see the Beatles Cirque du Soleil last time I was in Vegas, but it wasn’t playing the day I was there. We ended up seeing Ka instead and it was fabulous.

    • Thanks so much stopping by, Annette. How disappointing to find the theater closed on the night you were in town. I think that’s a definite sign you just must return! We have previously seen one of the earliest Cirque shows in Santa Monica, but now I’d like to eventually see the other Vegas offerings. I’ll remember that you enjoyed Ka. We might start there…the only one that looks a little too “racy” for me is Zoomanity. It comes with warning and disclaimers. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend. Debra

  13. Oh wow, Debra, I can see just why you had difficulty knowing where to begin with this post. You obviously had the most marvellous time as this shines through every word and photo. I’ve never been to Las Vegas and almost everything I know about it has been culled from watching CSI, so this really gave me a quite different perspective. Many thanks. :-)

    • Thank you for stopping by and indeed for complimenting the photos. We did have a very nice time, and I will be posting soon about one other thing we did while there! I would like to see what you are up to on your site, too. When I read “go bake yourself” I laughed outloud. So clever :-) Debra

  14. We’ve been to Vegas . . . but it’s “grown up” a lot since then. I would love to go back. LOVE sounds like a FAB way to experience the FAB FOUR. :D

    Thanks for the tour, Debra! Glad you had such a wonderful birthday week.

    • Thank you, Nancy. It is a very unique, if not completely overwhelming city, but seemed a nice way to “get out of the box” with a BIG birthday :-) I’m sure we won’t return soon, but we had fun being a little silly together, and enjoying the spectacle! Some good memories. Debra

  15. I have been to Las Vegas a couple of times, but it has never enticed me. For me it’s all façade and make-believe. And I do prefer reality to the loud, brash and gaudy as you quite correctly describes Las Vegas as. And funny enough I will go to Las Vegas myself in only three weeks from now, partly on assignment and partly as a gateway to the gorgeous Nevada nature. But I do love Cirque du Soleil, their performance is extraordinary, although I haven’t seen Love. Maybe a thing to do when I get there?…

    • I do know what you mean, Otto, and I think one reason we chose LV as a destination was because it was really outside my typical interests. Old mom sometimes doesn’t sound like the fun parent! Ha! We live 4 hours from Vegas and I’ve been twice in 15 years! I think if it has been awhile since you’ve visited your camera may get a workout…wildlife of a different nature:-) LOVE is so visually lovely as well as the wonderful soundtrack…I would think you’d enjoy it. And I will really look forward to the photos you post (I hope) of the Nevada desert. I am in agreement with you as to the beauty and diversity that surrounds the chaos of the city! Debra

  16. It can be an overwhelming experience… now that you said it, I must admit that every time I’ve been to Vegas, I’ve felt a great urge to leave asap… TMS! Too much stuff! But it can be fun too! :-)

    • I don’t think my husband and I would be so interested in going by ourselves, Elizabeth, but with the children and their partners…it was probably a once in a lifetime, and we’ll have memories to share and laugh about…like sitting and staring at the Dolly Parton impersonator in one of the lounges…We were mesmerized. LOL! Debra

  17. I’ve only been to Vegas once – a few years ago – and it was so over the top that I declared I’d never go there again, but seeing your photos makes me want to change my mind: you’ve captured the magic, magnificence and mundane of the LV strip.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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