Updated September 5, 2021 - 12:22 pm
The two-story pirate ship at the corner of Bridger Avenue and 3rd Street rocks to the beat.
There’s no sea in sight — just asphalt and cement carpeted in green turf — and yet, the swimwear is everywhere, an array of bikini tops donned to plunge in an ocean of flesh.
It’s dusk on Saturday evening.
As the sun goes down, spirits and arms follow a reverse trajectory, going up in unison at the nautical-themed Levitate stage at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.
Fog machines belch a thick mist in the air — so thick, that at times it’s hard to see the lady in the thigh-high pink boots pistoning her legs on one of the illuminated swings at the side of the stage or the pair of tiara-adorned aerialists testing their core strength by swaying atop 30-foot-tall poles nearby.
“Am I dreaming?” a mirrored neon sign wonders in turquoise cursive lettering.
Yeah, kind of.
It’s the opening night of the new Lost in Dreams electronic dance music festival and a crowd of around 10,000 has gathered to celebrate the occasion like a bunch of smiley emoticons in body glitter, clutching inflatable watermelons, bendy straws and pug dogs.
The two-day event, which continues Sunday night, is centered around future bass, melodic dubstep and electronic-pop music delivered on three different stages, and is the latest creation from Insomniac Events, the company behind the Electric Daisy Carnival, further expanding its footprint to downtown Vegas.
While done on a smaller scale than EDC, Lost in Dreams is similarly posited on the far, far-out.
“Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy?” crowdmembers crooned as DJ-producer Kaivon led a sing-a-long to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” during his performance at the Lost Stage. “Caught in a landslide / No escape from reality.”
Wrong, Freddie Mercury, this was definitely an escape from reality — though the reality of the times we’re living in did manifest itself briefly upon entry, when attendees had to show either proof of being vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. (Free vaccinations were also available at a booth near the main stage).
One inside, though, it’s like entering a Neverland of suspended adolescence, where grown-ups gleefully chase and pop translucent liquid globs shot into the night air like kids whose parents have let them stay up past their bedtime.
“The bubbles are so cool! Oh my god!” exclaimed Moore Kismet, an infectiously exuberant 16-year-old DJ-producer who was making his Las Vegas debut, marveling at the bubble machines working overtime at the Lost Stage.
If you were new to all this, there were plenty of helpful instructions.
“Have a good time all the time” one man’s T-shirt commanded.
And it was definitely OK to embrace your inner-misfit.
“Me explaining that I’m a star seed from another dimension to my mom” read a fan’s home-made totem pole depicting an aghast woman.
Everything seemed to pulsate and glow, right down to one dude’s illuminated shoes, all within a highly familial atmosphere — you’ll seldom see strangers high-fiving strangers to a greater extent than you will here.
Musically, things were generally more melodic and anthemic than concussive and hard-driving, from Elephante’s Day-glo house to Devault’s hypnotic soundscapes, delivered with a cinematic bent enhanced by scenes from “Trainspotting” and “Death Proof” displayed on the massive video screens around the Lucid Stage.
You could call it an appetizer for the Electric Daisy Carnival, which returns in October to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as a number of the acts on the line-up are also performing at that event.
“This is like practice for EDC,” Kismet mused from the stage during his set.
Until then, this was a welcome warm-up.
Sometimes, dreams do become reality, you know?