Las Vegas calls itself the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” This is arguably true, particularly in terms of the sheer number of live-entertainment productions staged daily.
On any given day in Las Vegas, a visitor can select from dozens of presentations, ranging from major production spectaculars to celebrity headliners, from comedy clubs to live music in lounges.
Jubilee!, a full-blown Las Vegas production show, is one of the best buys in town, with tickets as low as $69.50 plus tax. But here’s the bad news: The average price of a ticket to one of the major production shows has topped $80.
Trying to pick the best show? Here is our pick for the best Las Vegas shows continuously running, chosen purely for their great entertainment.
Best Las Vegas Shows
- Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère – Treasure Island
- Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE – Mirage
- Jersey Boys – Paris Las Vegas
- Cirque du Soleil’s KA – MGM Grand
- Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE – Mandalay Bay
- Celine Dion – Caesars Palace * currently on hold through March 2015. Read statement here
- Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana – Aria
- Cirque du Soleil’s “O” – Bellagio
- Blue Man Group – Monte Carlo
- Terry Fator – Mirage
- Le Rêve – Wynn Las Vegas
- Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity – New York–New York
- David Copperfield – MGM Grand
- Carlos Santana – Mandalay Bay
- Rod Stewart – Caesars Palace
- Vegas! The Show – Miracle Mile Shops
- Frankie Moreno – Stratosphere * last performance December 20, 2014
- Jubilee! – Bally’s
- Penn & Teller – Rio
- Million Dollar Quartet – Harrah’s
- Absinthe – Caesars Palace
- Gordie Brown – Golden Nugget
- Rock of Ages – Venetian
- Recycled Percussion – The LINQ (formerly The Quad)
- The Rat Pack Is Back – Rio
Have you been to one of these shows? Tell us about it!
About LOVE – Cirque du Soleil show playing at Mirage
LOVE, like most Cirque du Soleil shows, is nothing if not an overwhelming spectacle. But this latest Cirque extravaganza is a definite departure from what might be loosely called the norm. First, it’s heavily multimedia, combining extensive video effects projected onto a variety of screens with dancers, acrobats, and aerialists in outlandish costumes and bizarre props, all driven by the most powerful soundtrack ever, perhaps, produced. And because music, especially familiar music, is the force behind the visuals and theatrics, LOVE is grounded in a reality that the audience shares, which renders this show unified and accessible in a way that Mystère approximates, but that “O,” Believe, and even KÀ with its loose plot line, can never be.
That’s not to imply, however, that LOVE doesn’t have its extreme flights of fancy. The teaming of Cirque and the Beatles is, simply put, a marriage made in psychedelic heaven. Only Cirque could so effectively choreograph, costume, and showcase the characters, images, themes, humor, whimsicality, and all-around 1960s optimism, exuberance, and magic that the Beatles continue, 40 years later, to embody.
The show opens with a rousing rendition of “Get Back.” Then it flashes back to begin a loose retrospective based on the Beatles’ meteoric rise to become the most influential rock-and-roll band in history. “Eleanor Rigby” is set to theatrical scenes of the devastation that World War II wrought on the Beatles’ Liverpool. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” introduces the collective planetary hysteria of Beatlemania. By now you know what you’re in for. The stage, in pieces controlled by individual hydraulics, rises and falls as necessary. Visuals range from actual Beatles concerts and appearances to paisleys and spirals guaranteed to give (some of) you flashbacks. The music, which has been digitized and remixed by Sir George Martin (the fifth Beatle) and his son Giles, isn’t exactly the same as on the LPs, as you might expect, and it’s fun to listen for the little differences. The soundtrack consists of full songs, medleys, snippets of tunes down to a bar or two that disappear as soon as you recognize them, along with Beatles banter and fragments from recording sessions, plus suitably surreal transitions holding it all together. One thing’s for sure: The acoustics are outstanding. More than 6,000 speakers surround you, with one installed in the backrest of every seat in the house.
Song after timeless song parades by. “Something in the Way She Moves” is accompanied by an aerial ballet; “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is similar. The skit around “Blackbird” is hilarious, with spastic birds learning to fly. For “Strawberry Fields,” big bubbles are blown from the top of a grand piano. “Octopus’s Garden” has airborne squids and anemones. If you pay close attention, you’ll catch new lyrics at the end of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Four skaters perform acrobatics on steep ramps to “Help,” “Lady Madonna,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Come Together,” “Revolution Number Nine,” “Back in the USSR,” and “A Day in the Life”—ultimately, LOVE passes the true test of psychedelia: it doesn’t matter if your eyes are open or closed.
For the finale, umbrellas spread confetti all over the room to “Hey Jude” and predictably, the show ends on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”: “We hope you have enjoyed the show and we’re sorry but it’s time to go.” The audience is sorry too. An encore of “All You Need Is Love” caps the evening.
For detailed information on all shows check out the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas.
Photo attributions for best Las Vegas shows:
Mystère: By Stuart Seeger from San Antonio, Texas, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
LOVE: By Michael Gray [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons