The energy was high opening night of Bruno Mars at The Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan and it never waned throughout a 75-minute performance.
Grammy award-winning artist Mars opened the vintage-inspired concert venue with a sold-out concert delivering what he does best: an electric performance that included his hits and original versions of songs by other artists, including Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and Bell Biv DeVoe.
“This is opening night, yo,” Mars said to the screaming, enthusiastic fans. “This is it.”
Mars and his band — who bring to mind the Temptations with their smoothly choreographed moves — performed his signature hits such as “Treasure,” “Billionaire,” “When I Was Your Man” and “Just the Way You Are” all while framed by an unique pyramid digital screen display that changed frequently and showcased close-up shots of Mars.
“The best $200,000 I ever spent,” he jokingly told the crowd. It was just one moment in a performance that showcased Mars showmanship, talent and ease with the audience that are hallmarks of Vegas’ great headliners.
Mars easily brought the audience to a crescendo roar as he repeated, “a little bit louder now” several times. Later he quipped, “I got so much hairspray in my hair right now, my eyes are burning. I’m doing it all for you, Vegas.” (See, Britney, this is how you banter with an audience.)
Before going into a Led Zeppelin cover, Mars, who is also performing during New Year’s Eve at The Chelsea, said “I know it’s not New Year’s tonight, but can we at least pretend it is?” (Judging by the roaring response, the audience really didn’t need any convincing.)
During the show, he asked the audience what song we’d like to hear him perform. Tongue-in-cheek, I shouted out “Freebird,” but alas, I was too far from the stage for Mars to hear me.
Mars closed the show with “Locked Out of Heaven” that included gold confetti shooting up into the air from both sides of the audience near the stage.
A few things we learned from attending the first-ever open-to-the-public show at The Chelsea.
1. The time listed on the ticket is the time doors open, not showtime. On opening night, the ticket listed 9 p.m., what I assumed to be the time Mars would take the stage — or at least close to it. We got in line sometime after 8 p.m. and it wasn’t until 9 p.m. that the audience was allowed to slowly trickle in. Which brings me to:
2. Make sure you’re in the right line. After about 20 minutes of standing in line with hundreds ahead of us, I sent a friend to check things out around the corner. Turns out we were standing in the line for general admission and we had reserved tickets (this despite an employee checking our tickets while in the GA line). The reserved tickets line was MUCH shorter and we gladly moved past the herd to that line. The line for VIP and early admission is also up front, closer to the showroom.
3. Expect Mars (you’re all going to see him, right?) to get on stage at least an hour after the doors open. The night I attended, Mars took the stage at 11 p.m., but was preceded by DJ Supra, who spins regularly at Tao, Lavo and The Beatles Revolution Lounge. This created a fun party vibe that had the crowd going before the main act.
4. The Chelsea is a retro dream come true. Before opening night, I had toured The Chelsea, so I knew the venue’s design was inspired by 1940s theater-meets-industrial. Even on opening night, I was thrilled by many of the smaller details, like the Art Deco style metalwork that framed the velvety seats upstairs in the gallery where I was seated. I used the opportunity to don one of my favorite vintage-inspired dresses — at The Chelsea, a show isn’t just a show, if you embrace the environment. Upstairs in the gallery, the lounge’s eclectic collection of chairs and couches invites you to sit and socialize with fellow fans. While sitting by my lonesome at one point, I was asked to join a friendly group partying in the lounge.
5. The bars in the Chelsea are gorgeous and scream class. One of the specialty drinks is an old-fashioned, and while I’m not much of a bourbon gal, the drink is rather tasty. But like just about anywhere on the Las Vegas Strip, drink prices are not cheap. A diet coke was $6. The priciest drink on the menu was a martini, yours for $21 — decidedly not vintage prices!
6. Like most venues, a handful of seats on either side of the stage have a blind spot caused by support beams, but I didn’t find it to be much of an issue. I simply stood behind the seats in the center and got a clear view of the stage. The ushers won’t send you back to your seat and this frees you up to dance the night away.
Aside from Mars’ New Year’s Eve performance, he returns to The Chelsea in 2014 for the following dates: Feb. 15 – 16, May 23 – 24 and Aug. 22 – 23.