The 20th anniversary of Bellagio reminds of a near-miss with British royalty, aquatic frivolity and a Siegfried & Roy return to the stage. My top five moments from the hotel as it celebrates No. 20:
5. Tiesto bridges the lake. EDM took a major step, even walking on water, as a medley from Tiesto’s “A Town Called Paradise” was added to the Bellagio Fountains’ soundtrack in September 2014.
“We were looking at this, and it was whimsical, magical and it never gets old,” Tiesto said at the time. “I thought, ‘What would happen with my music involved? Could I have my own music?’ And it seemed possible. So I just started talking to the Bellagio about it, saying ‘Let’s do it!’ and that’s how it began.”
4. Fontana Lounge. The open entertainment space opened to Lake Bellagio and showcased such local faves as Dian Diaz, Jimmy Hopper and George Bugatti. Lon Bronson should have been in that lounge, too, but hotel brass didn’t think the band fit the hotel’s vibe during a 2004 audition (this would be the first and last time the Lon Bronson Band auditioned for anything). Fontana was indeed a very cool hang with a wide-open view of the water show on house right. The space is Hyde Lounge today, overtaken inevitably by the nightclub juggernaut.
3. S&R’s return to the stage. An other-worldly night happens only in Vegas. Siegfried & Roy were back for a final performance at the Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala in February 2009. The duo produced the big cat Mantecore, which hauled Roy offstage at the Mirage less than six years earlier. The entire act took a year to construct and lasted eight minutes. It was a moment in Las Vegas history.
2. Panic At the Disco’s shower. This just happened in June. The band’s debut on Lake Bellagio was halted when a wind gust blew water across a made-for-TV performance of “High Hopes.” Front man Brendon Urie sang the song a cappella as the stage was dried off with towels delivered on watercraft. The video was shown before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals.
1. Prince (Harry) at “O.” This odd mix of events unfolded the weekend Prince Harry was photographed while playing strip billiards at Wynn Las Vegas in August 2012.
The night before that incident, I attended a performance of “O” at Bellagio, seated in the back row of the lower section. The four seats to my left were unoccupied until the lights dropped, then a few gentleman settled in just as the show started. They climbed over the back to grab a few beers (I think Coronas), but were otherwise unnoticeable and left just before final bow.
Minutes later I left hastily, too, on my way to see Matt Goss at Caesars Palace. As I walked out of the hotel, I received a text from a PR rep asking, “Did you enjoy your seats tonight?” followed by an e-mail informing me that Prince Harry and his buddies had just attended “O.”
Yes. I was seated right next to the prince through the entire show and had not realized it. Cue the fountains …