The first thing you notice when you go to see Britney Spears’s live Vegas show is the young-but-getting-slightly-older fans queuing up for the best standing-room-only tickets hours before the show. From all accounts this is a nightly occurrence. I, on the other hand, was enjoying the fine dining and wine Vegas has to showcase–but that’s another story.
In fact Piece of Me still draws the same crowd it’s just that the girls have grown up a little and they’re in their 20s and early thirties (at a stretch). They’re still squishing into tight little dresses barely covering their bottoms and they’ve learnt how to walk in their massive heels. (Don’t get me wrong, there are still young girls and their parents … and the likes of me).
Like all the other shows around Vegas Britney is telling a story. And that’s exactly what it was–a show. I was expecting a concert. At a concert you expect the act to interact with the crowd.
With all the glitz, staging & lighting of a Vegas residency the only thing missing was Britney herself. I heard that the show is somewhat disappointing and she merely goes through the motions as she sings and dances her way through the night. The night we were there that statement wasn’t entirely true. This night she danced her way through popular numbers, strutting down the stage and running backstage for her many costume changes.
Piece of Me is well choreographed and executed, has all the bells and whistles in terms of lighting & effects, and Britney’s stamina is admirable.
But with all the glitz, staging and lighting of a Vegas residency the only thing missing was Britney herself. It’s hard to sing and dance–especially when you’re dancing with your all–but I thought I was going to see Britney sing. Or did I think I was going to see her perform?
Perform she did. Sing she did not. And that was disappointing. You didn’t just notice it for one or two moments, you noticed it over and over again. There were times when her moves were such that she could not have possibly been singing, and she didn’t make an effort to cover that up.
And she didn’t really interact with the audience. All we really got was a “Hello Vegas”. I wanted more. I wanted to hear from her, to have a chat, to get to know her a bit better–to get a piece of her.
But maybe Britney’s not ready to give us a real piece of her. I think Britney is trying to tell us something.
Britney was the epitome of success with hit after hit and teenage girls crying at the sight of her long before we even knew who Taylor Swift was. She was the original.
Piece of Me seems to be a tongue lashing, a message not by way of a song or an album but a Show. She’s reminding us what fame has done to her. We’re shown images of her career at the height of her popularity yet most of those successful songs were not on the playlist. Instead she chose songs like Piece of Me and Circus to tell her story. I wonder if anyone noticed? Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t depressing, there were good songs too. A highlight for me was Iggy Azalea up on the big screen duetting Pretty Girls with her. Having said that it did seem that Iggy was more “present” than Britney.
She may have been down but she’s not out. She may prefer to ask her fans to come to her instead of touring around the world but she’s definitely changed. We changed her. Fame changed her. And for a while the world turned on her. Good for her as she has the last laugh because we’re lapping her up once again as she plays to packed shows, night after night, week after week. She deserves it, no one deserves to have a meltdown let alone one so public.
I’d recommend going to see Britney. I’m not sure if she’s going to sign on as there’s talk she may stop soon. The Show is worth it–especially if you’re a fan. Just go to enjoy her perform, don’t expect her to sing.
I never expected to actually visit Las Vegas. Not necessarily because I didn’t want to or that it wasn’t on my bucketlist but that it wasn’t high enough on my bucket list for me to get there.
Moving to LA certainly changed that. When you live in LA you have no excuse (or reason) not to visit Vegas. Especially if your goal is to experience as much as you can of America.
I didn’t know how to tackle Vegas. Mr H has been there a few times for work and to see the Rugby World Sevens but it’s not exactly the type of place I expected to go for a family holiday. Until a friend suggested we join her and another friend for a long weekend. With our families. Off we go, no need to ask me twice!
What to do in Las Vegas
The thing about Vegas (that I didn’t expect) was how American it was yet totally un-American all at the same time. Let me explain. It’s so over the top with all the different resorts Vegas is definitely one of those #onlyinAmerica places. It’s crazy!
But at the same time as being American it is so un-American in that everyone walks around with an alcoholic drink in their hand. It is legal to carry & drink alcohol on the Strip. So everyone does it. It brings new meaning to the term “traveller”. And shops are making a killing from it. The rule seems to be: When-in-Vegas-you-must-buy-the-biggest-cocktail-you-can-and-bring-it-with-you-everywhere-you-go. Preferably in a huge Eiffel Tower-shaped see-through “glass” or another over-sized container. Either that or a beer.
I love a drink I’ve never made a secret of that but I have to say I wasn’t about to carry a huge daiquiri around with me. Especially with the kids. (Each to their own though).
Everyone can and does smoke. And Nevada is a gun-loving state so it’s easy to go one block off the Strip and get yourself a rifle (remember the Aussie swimmers who got themselves in hot water for posing with guns in a shop outside Vegas?). (I guess the gun thing is actually quite American but you don’t see gun shops off Rodeo Drive–only the gun safes in Costco!).
How Vegas has managed to capture the conference market, families, entertainers, casino owners, luxury brands and yogans (American bogans) all in one is beyond incredible. Vegas has managed to do what few places can’t–attract everyone. It’s lifestyles of the rich and famous meets bozo the hobo trailer trash yogan. With everyone in between. Fabulous.
We were in the lifts coming down from my friend’s 59th floor suite and in hops Mr-&-Mrs-to-be Yogan saying, “We’ve just got engaged!!” He must have splurged his life savings to get that room (it was the lift for all the suites) and they were going all out.
Upmarket shopping heaven
There’s literally something for everyone
Driving from LA
The drive from LA to Las Vegas is easy and scenic. It should only take about four hours but beware if there’s traffic that could double to eight and you’re stuck with no way to veer off course.
It’s wonderful for an Australian living on the West Coast to witness the change in landscape from the Canyons of LA to the vast desert of Nevada then be greeted by the uniqueness of the Strip that is Vegas. The desert was something else–it was greener than I expected. There were many Joshua Trees to make it interesting but there were also many green bushes. What made our day though was seeing the tumbleweeds dancing amongst the bushes and Joshua Trees. Picture perfect postcards straight from the movies. The only thing missing was Roadrunner (they are real you know).
While on the road the main thing that caught my attention were the groups of people clearly roadtripping. It’s hard not to generalise but there were lots of groups of boys (you know? around 21 or so clearly going to have a good time) but also lots of families. It wasn’t what I expected to see. There was something about the way everyone was driving that suggested (like us) there was excitement in the car at the thought that in the next couple of hours they’d be in Vegas.
Arriving in Vegas
Get off the freeway as soon as you’re entering Vegas so you drive down the Strip. It was such an exciting feeling pooping that roof down and feasting on all the sights and sounds Vegas has to offer. We toured up and back to get our bearings and to soak in the atmosphere (also a great way to quickly check it out without needing to soak your feet in the bath for hours).
Check out my Vegas tip later in the post about cruising the Strip in style.
Vegas as a family
Vegas is doable as a family but you have to know what you want to do and plan a little. For example when we arrived we went for a little wander and I wanted a pre-dinner drink and to give the kids a snack. 5:00 wasn’t a good time to get an outside table because they were keeping these for diners only yet the tables for drinks only was in the bar space which isn’t the best place for the kids. Not a great start but we were off and running. Thankfully mine are older now.
There’s lots to see. And do. Walking around and exploring the casinos is enough to fill your day. Beware, wear comfortable shoes, there’s a lot of walking to do. Do, however, think about what you’ll be doing and what you’ll be checking out. You might feel comfy in those white runners, socks and shorts but you might not feel (or make it to a best-dressed list) the same when you walk into Dior looking for your next outfit (or trying to look like you can afford said outfit).
Book a suite–or score an upgrade. Do your research as there are great deals out there. Carefully check room sizes.
Book a limo to take you around & cruise the Strip in style.
Book a Show. Or more than one Show. There are literally tons to choose from. And great acts with so much variety. There are seven Cirque du Soleil shows alone. Plus Britney Spears is playing at the moment.
Trip around the world. Start in Venice (the Venetian), head to Paris (Paris), Rome (Caesar’s Palace) & New York (New York New York). If you’re feeling up to it visit Egypt too (Luxor).
Go shopping. Window shopping if you can’t afford the many designer shops on offer or outlet shopping if you wanna be but can’t be. Don’t forget to visit the Ferrari dealer at the Wynn. Our taxi driver tells us it sells more Ferraris than any other dealer in the US.
Book restaurants ahead of time. There are many walk-ins in Vegas being the tourist town but the waits (especially for outside tables) can be atrocious. It’s easy to book beforehand so make your life easier by doing so.
Detour to the Outlet shops, there are heaps to choose from and slightly less tax than in LA.
Splurge a little: YOLO!
So what did the kids think of Vegas?
They thought it was good. They liked the different “countries” and things to do but they hated walking through the casinos to get there and the smell of smoke which was everywhere. It’s funny how not so long ago cigarette smoke was in the air in restaurants and indoor places yet take it away and you get used to clean air. Each casino is different though. They enjoyed the shows and being exposed to all Vegas has to offer but they’re a bit straighty-180 so couldn’t cope with it for too long. A long weekend is enough.
Last bit of advice: get in early to make good use of your first day (and beat the traffic) and save checking out nearby casinos til last. That way you can venture out on your full days, still look around on your last day and hopefully get away ahead of the traffic. No point ruining the moment by sitting in traffic on your way back to LA.