Vegas is a big, loud city that delights in its unique sense of tacky cabaret. But while people may associate it with gambling, booze, and other adult entertainments, the truth is that there’s a lot more than that going on. One of the biggest draws is the flashy stage shows, which were ostensibly started to draw people into casinos but have ultimately become a headlining event in their own right. Here are some of the best.
Since 2013, Britney Spears has held a residency at Planet Hollywood with her show "Britney: Piece of Me." She performs 50 times a year, and not only did she extend her contract, but the show has been retooled during 2016, featuring a new set list, choreography, costumes, and additional changes promised throughout the year. With hype for her newest album Glory reaching a fever pitch, you may want to lock down tickets now.
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil actually has a whole host of shows running up and down the Vegas Strip. They’ve been in town for over 20 years, and they currently run 7 different shows here. The Beatles LOVE and Michael Jackson ONE are probably pretty self-explanatory, blending Cirque’s unique high-flying acrobatics and circus aesthetic with two much-beloved musical artists. There’s also the adults-only Zumanity, a cabaret-like experience that offers a Bachelorette special, the water-based O, which features synchronized swimming in addition to ground and aerial acts, the long-running Mystère, which has been featured in films and even inspired the classic video game NiGHTS into Dreams, and finally Kà, which tells a huge love story on a series of moving platforms and some of the most technically amazing acrobatics, costumes, and sets around.
This may be cheating—Blue Man Group’s first standing production was off-Broadway at the Astor Palace in 1991, and they’re still there. Their Vegas show continues to delight tourists the way it has since it opened in 2000. It’s moved around a few times, but they’re currently back at the Luxor, bringing their unique propulsive rhythms, energetic theatrics, and bizarre instrument inventions to the Vegas crowd. Their biggest brush with the collective consciousness came with their 2003 album The Complex, but if that’s the only reason you know them, you owe it to yourself to check out the show.
As the name suggests, La Rêve is a dreamlike experience set in an in-the-round theater in water, air, and land simultaneously. A tango number features dancers and synchronized swimmers performing in unison. Aerialists emerge from all angles of the theater, performing complex gymnastic feats. It’s been described by attendees as being “like Michael Phelps and a ballerina had a baby.” While certainly tapping into a vein of entertainment that’s associated with Cirque, La Rêve is a unique experience that stands apart in a city that’s not hurting for entertainment.
Penn and Teller are consummate entertainers who’ve worn many hats over the years, from their brilliantly skeptical debunking/documentary series Penn and Teller: Bullsh*t! to their weird absurdist dabblings with video games. Still, these multifaceted entertainers are best known for their stage shows, which blend their unique humor with a magic show that’s fascinating, even as they supposedly show you how it’s all done.
Fantastic Music, Any Day of the Year
Looking at Vegas events at the time of this writing, the city is hosting Gwen Stefani, Wiz Khalifa, Fergie, Srillex, T.I., Slipknot, DJ Snake, Diplo, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Rod Stewart. All of that takes place in the span of about a week. Whatever your musical taste is, whatever era or genre you prefer, if you can’t find a concert to go to in Vegas, odds are you just don’t like anything. In addition to T-Mobile Arena, there are all the casinos desperately vying for your feet to pass through their doors. Beyond that, there are nightclubs dotting the landscape, doing their best to help Vegas maintain its reputation as Sin City. It’s almost guaranteed that there’s a concert for you here if you care about music at all.
(image via Facebook)