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Criss Angel unrestrained in sky-high Raiders stunt

Updated October 11, 2021 - 9:21 am

You need to buckle up for Las Vegas Raiders home games. This is true even for star entertainers, especially if they arrive carrying a straitjacket.

Planet Hollywood Resort headliner Criss Angel was latched in, sent up, then dropped from the top of Allegiant Stadium before Sunday’s Raiders-Bears game. The stunt at the Death Star was highlighted by Raiders owner Mark Davis himself latching Angel into his jacket.

Angel had texted Davis on Saturday, asking if the owner would, in effect, lock him up. “I’m in,” was Davis’ response.

From there, Angel was fastened to a cable and lifted 100 feet, to the uppermost region of the stadium. He was some 100 feet high, or 50 feet higher than Houdini had ever attempted this particular straitjacket escape.

The longtime Vegas showman then feverishly worked free, inside of 30 seconds, and dropped the straitjacket (the same restraint garment used by hospitals). He was lowered, at high velocity, back to the field. The entire routine covered a frenetic two minutes.

Angel had earlier said he does not think about gravity taking hold (“falling,” as we call it) during the act. He does measure the danger beforehand. “When I am up there, I have to do my job, stay in the moment, be focused on my mission and not think about anything going wrong,” Angel said a few hours after the performance. “It’s all about focus, and about just trusting the people I have working for me and making sure they to do what they have to do.

“Everybody has a piece of the puzzle, and collectively we make a picture.”

The showcase was staged as part of the NFL’s “Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer” program to support the American Cancer Society’s early detection and risk reduction across an array of cancers. Angel’s 7-year-old son, Johnny Crisstopher, who was in the crowd to watch the thrilling routine, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015. He was just 20 months old at the time.

Angel gave a hug (to Davis) and a kiss (to the Allegiant Stadium’s grass field). It was a $50,000 charitable event for the Johnny Crisstopher Children’s Charitable Foundation, with Davis contributing that amount on behalf of the Raiders.

“I don’t care if you’re a Raiders fan, or a Bears fan, at the end of the day, cancer affects all of us,” Angel said in an on-field chat with in-game announcer Mark Shunock. “We must raise awareness, raise money and win against cancer.”

Angel added, “I’m ecstatic that the Raiders and Mark Davis thought of me to help raise awareness about all types of cancer. To be part of that was an honor.”

Ludacris blows up halftime

Superstar recording artist and acclaimed actor Ludacris performed with the Raiderettes during Sunday’s halftime show. Fans again jammed the area between the stage and the Al Davis Memorial Torch, bouncing and roaring through the 10-minute performance. We’ll call it the Al Davis Torch Club until it’s formally named.

Ludacris joins Ice Cube and Too Short, who performed the halftime show during the Raiders’ Sept. 13 home opener against the Ravens, as rap stars to perform at halftime at Allegiant.

Schon o’clock

Journey’s Neal Schon lost track of the time but never lost the melody in his freestyle rendition of the national anthem. “I forgot to look at the clock, and I was at the very end and they were telling me to cut. Ha ha!” Schon said in a text. He’d strayed beyond the two-minute limit during rehearsals, too.

Schon didn’t use any in-ear monitors, either.

“I was so thankful that I could actually hear the crowd roar,” the guitar star said. “I’m high from it.”

Cliff note

Every Allegiant Stadium performer has worn Cliff Branch’s No. 21. We now say this is a planned tribute. Davis loved Cliff Branch.

Otto in the house

David Perrico’s Raiders House Band keyboardist Otto Ehling finally picked up his Jim Otto jersey from a merch kiosk. He’d not known of the Raiders legend until the band was booked at Allegiant Stadium. Expect that jersey to be a fixture onstage for the rest of the season.

Jimenez out

Pepe Jimenez, the drummer who was called off the Allegiant Stadium rehearsals in August to undergo emergency triple-bypass surgery, was not at Sunday’s game. Jimenez flew to his native Puerto Rico to tend to a family matter. His son, Miguel, flew in from Reno to perform.

Torch it

One of Davis’s closest friends in Las Vegas, Laborers Local 872 secretary-treasurer Tommy White, lit the Al Davis Torch before the game. White and his crew managed to keep construction of Allegiant Stadium ongoing throughout the pandemic.


Sunday’s game was uncommonly loud, rowdy and even unrestrained. And that was just Bruce Buffer’s pregame intro.

Cool Hang Alert

Perrico calls it “old-school vibe to the max.” It’s Skyline Hotel and Casino. Perrico’s Pop Retro band has just started playing Jim Marsh’s place on Boulder Highway. Performances are from 2-5:30 p.m. Sundays. Skyline has a great, throwback lounge, delicious prime rib dip sandwiches and $1.50 shrimp cocktails. Four of Perrico’s lounges on the Strip have closed during COVID, but you can still find that classic-Vegas vibe at this place.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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