"Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends. Come inside, come inside!"-Karn Evil #9 1st Impression Part 2 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
As many times as Cirque du Soleil has come to town and set up the Grand Chapiteau just down the street from the KGON studios on SW Moody, I've never been to the show until last night. I've also never been offered free tickets to the show, so maybe that's the reason. Hey, I'm in the media! Where's that free ticket? Isn't that why I got into radio in the first place? Cool music, free records, free concerts, free movies, lousy pay? Of course it was. The lure of the free stuff had me right from the start. My first job in Eugene was for $2.50 an hour with no benefits, but all the free records I could haul home. I was in heaven. Medical? Why? I was 20. Free wine and cheese because of a $20 gift certificate? You bet! They had $2 bottles of wine and I had no conception of what "good" wine was, except that it wasn't Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill.
So, this time around, Cirque du Soleil sends out notifications to the media and I was lucky enough to get one. I suppose their partner stations and TV people have been getting these passes for years. Now it's my turn.
The only exposure I've had at all to a Cirque performace was at the beginning of the Paul McCartney show at the Rose Garden Arena when he was still married to Heather. If you were there, you will remember the ornate costumed people coming from different parts of the arena as the music started. It was a cool way to start the show. It's no wonder that they have put together the production of "Love" for Vegas. Beatles music with the costumes and the choreography from Cirque du Soleil would be incredible. As much as I don't care for Vegas, I guess that's a reason to go again. Right now they have SEVEN productions going on in Vegas: "O" at the Bellagio, "Zumanity" at New York, New York, "Mystere" at Treasure Island, "KA" at MGM Grand, "Criss Angel Believe" at Luxor, "Viva Elvis" at Aria, and "Love" at Mirage. Don't hate me because I don't love Vegas. I've just been there too many times and I'm a horrible gambler.
Shannon and I were talking about what our favorite parts of the Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza" show from last night was and we both agreed on three things. (1) The contortionists (2) The Wheel of Death (3) The Music. The whole show is lots of fun, with incredible costumes, silly slapstick type comedy, and other acts like the high wire, the woman on the swing, the unicycle rider who weaves this woman around him, the woman and the hoops, and the really buff guy who does lifts and balancing. There's something for everyone. There's also suggestive humor alluding to smoking reefer, a huge "dog" who lifts his leg on the front row (the really expensive seats) and little guys who are humping the legs of "volunteers" from the audience for on stage bits. So, if this offends you or the children you plan to take, then don't go. Otherwise you'll have a fine time.
Being a newbie, I had no idea what to expect, and Bonnie, who was with me for the show, hadn't been in years, so she couldn't remember the little things that you should know before going to "Kooza." So, in an effort to be oh so helpful, here's some tips for having a better time at the show:
1. Hit the bathrooms at home, or the scene of the "pre-funk" BEFORE you get there. Also stop drinking ANYTHING an hour before you arrive. The show is long, and there are very limited toilets to access. If you do need to go, you will either miss part of the show, or spend the entire intermission in line.
2. Bring $10 CASH to park. I know it's a big open lot that's by the river and vacant most of the time, but this is prime real estate during the Cirque du Soleil stay and that's what it costs if you are driving there. Also know that there is stacked parking at the back and they will ask for your key. The parking guys were really sweet, but when I asked if I could avoid the stacked situation, they called over their supervisor who told me why, in a French accent, that I could NOT park anywhere else. I swear at that moment I loudly in the car ripped into the French Taunter from "Monty Python's Holy Grail." I couldn't help it. Too many years of this exchange with other Python fans have damaged me. I was more than slightly pissy at that point.
3. If you are sitting near the stage, expect to be messed with. You will either be a volunteer for something on stage, or will at least be made fun of at some point in the show. Not everyone, but you never know. Also if you are sitting there, don't wear your favorite suede jacket or something that can't get wet, or scattered with popcorn or confetti. Not exactly a Gallagher show, but it could be messy.
4. The seats are small and not comfortable. They are obviously made with the acrobats in mind. I am not small and can't fold. I should have brought a cushion.
5. Bring your jolly attitude back to the parking lot because it will be a long line, and getting out of there takes a while. Actually I was fooled by the size of the audience because the tent is so big, and there aren't that many seats compared to my Grand Chapiteau perception. It's still a long wait to get out of the lot.
So, all in all, it's still a circus...but without the animals and with better music and costumes. It's really more of a circus for adults, which is fine with me. The clowns still creep me out though. I just can't help it.