Love and Las Vegas

On Saturday, I flew to Vegas to check out Love, the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil production at the Mirage. Some highlights:

Virgin America
Because of limited direct flights between SFO and PHL and my use of red-eyes to avoid using vacation days, I’m generally limited to flying US Airways. It’s not a bad airline, but it certainly isn’t spectacular and they’ve only downgraded service in the 20+ years that I’ve been flying on them. It’s rare for me to go an entire month without getting on an airplane, so fortunately I have enough miles that I’m often upgraded to first class.

I’m well-aware of the better airlines like JetBlue and Virgin, but Virgin America literally only operates out of seven airports (nine in a few months), and the closest to my house that JetBlue can get me with a direct flight is JFK. So, I was thrilled when I found out that I could get to Vegas on Virgin America for only $200 round-trip. I actually bought the ticket in-between deals, and if I had been quicker or procrastinated, would have been able to fly for half of that. Based on the hotel and airline prices, Vegas must really be doing everything they can to attract people.

Ok, wow, two paragraphs of introduction just to say that I enjoyed my flights on Virgin. They had free satellite TV, comfortable seats, and complimentary soft drinks and juice. (US Airways will even charge you for water.) On the way back, I even upgraded to first class for an extra fifty bucks for a flight of less than two hours. Running on very little sleep, it was totally worth it even for the 20 minutes I sat there before we took off. I put my seat into the “relax” mode and was asleep within seconds. If they ever add flights to Philly, I’m going to start collecting points as soon as I can.

Love isn’t my favorite Vegas show, but it was still fun and I had a good time. If you’ve never seen Cirque du Soleil before, then you’ll probably love it. If you have seen another on of their shows, especially a Vegas production, then keep these two things in mind before seeing Love:

1) It’s not as focused on acrobatics as the other shows, and instead focuses more on dancing and movement. I think it may appeal to the girls a little more. There are still a few impressive stunts.

2) As far as I could tell, the music is all prerecorded. Probably better than having them impersonate The Beatles, and they do some fun stuff with surround sound, but it does mean a lack of the traditional live Cirque music.

About halfway through the show, I was feeling pretty disappointed, but then taught myself those two things. Once I accepted that it was just a different show and threw out my old expectations, I had a great time and retroactively enjoyed the first half. Yes, this is how my mind really works. Next time, I want to see O. I’ve already seen Mystère, , and one of their touring shows when it came to Philadelphia. Mystère is the first show I saw and remains my favorite.  is a close second.

The Strip
As usual, I enjoyed walking the Strip, even though there was a constant light rain. I didn’t have an umbrella or even a raincoat, but it was mild enough that my jacket kept me comfortable. Charlene and I checked out the Bellagio, Wynn, Encore, Palazzo, Venetian, Treasure Island, Mirage, Harrah’s, and Caesar’s Palace. We didn’t head all the way to the MGM Grand side of things, but I think we’ve both been to the hotels down that way before, so it was no big loss. CityCenter is still under construction and is huge. I look forward to checking it out someday.

I took pictures of a few of the lobbies which can be seen in this album, and I also took a couple of videos with my PowerShot which you can watch below. The Fountains of Bellagio is my favorite attraction, and I recorded it just after sunset. See how the sky changes color?

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