The Beatles LOVE; courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

For music fans, Las Vegas offers a seemingly endless supply of options –– from over-the-top extravaganzas, to under-the-radar concerts. During a recent long weekend there, my husband and I wanted to rock out.

We got lucky with three very different shows with rock themes –– The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage; Pat DiNizio: Confessions of a Rock Star at the Riviera; and Blue Man Group at The Venetian.

For my Vegas money, The Beatles LOVE is worth every penny…lane, if you’ll pardon the pun. (Actually, tickets sell for many thousands of pennies, and are priced from $79 to $180).

The audio and visual interplay of classic Beatles tunes sliced, diced and mashed up together, combine with the aerial and acrobatic prowess of the performers for a mind-blowing experience.

In the round, there’s not a bad seat in the house, as performers drop from the ceiling, swing across the stage, bounce into the air, and skate somersaults through the Beatles’ equally high-flying repertoire.

The stripped down Confessions proves that among all the Vegas excess, less –– like a three-chord song –– can indeed be more. Confessions features Smithereens frontman and guitarist Pat DiNizio recounting his humble beginnings as a garbage man in Scotch Plains, N.J.,  and his ascendancy to pop fame.

In story and song, DiNizio pays homage to his early influences, Buddy Holly and the Beatles –– including a very touching tale of meeting Holly’s widow, who thanked him for paying tribute to her in song, Maria Elaina. Throughout the performance, DiNizio, backed by Nate Stalfa on drums and Kenny Howes on bass, weaves in Smithereens hits along with other rock classics.

Before Confessions, we chowed down Vegas-style at the Riviera’s R Steak & Seafood, which serves a wide ranging menu from classics like shrimp cocktail, wedge salad and rib-eye steak to modern dishes like Thai coconut steamed mussels, Applewood-smoked citrus pork belly and bourbon BBQ pork ribs.

The Beatles LOVE

Blue Man Group falls somewhere between the other shows, offering a quirky spectacle set to a thundering, percussive beat, but lightened by comic moments and a sense of fun. A wall of drums and drummers comes alive on this stage, taking the audience on an offbeat musical journey.

Blue Man Group is big on audience participation, which can be a hit or miss experience generally. However, the cast chose wisely at the performance I attended, deftly plucking a timid girl to help them with an act in the show that exemplifies the heart and soul of the Blue Men –– the need to connect. The show keeps the audience continuously engaged, especially if you are seated in the first four rows (aka “The Splash Zone”), where plastic ponchos are provided to protect your clothes from getting wet.

As much as we enjoyed partying like rock stars, we wanted to really relax and recharge in our rooms. The all-suite Venetian-Palazzo resort fulfilled that wish, along with offering a long list of dining and nightlife options. For something a bit quieter, the new Signature at the MGM Grand consists of three towers of all-suite condos with kitchenettes, balconies and a long list of amenities. Only a few minutes’ walk to the hustle and bustle of the MGM, this non-smoking and non-gaming complex lets guests channel their inner celebrities.


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