The best shows we saw in 2015

Very few things are impossible and in my humble opinion, being told to pick a single favorite show in Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World, is one of them. Home to the cream of the crop in the world of entertainment, here in Vegas, we are spoiled with the most amazing performers from top-notch acrobats, world-renowned singers and musicians, hilarious comedians and so much more, there is no shortage of talent here in Sin City.

So, since it is impossible to pick just one show, we collectively gathered some of our favorites that we have seen this year. Read on to discover what absolutely blew us away in the wide world of Vegas entertainment this past year.

Melody Sweets as Absinthe's Green Fairy

Melody Sweets as Absinthe’s Green Fairy.

Absinthe

The Huffington post is quoted on their show billboard saying “If you only see one show in your entire life, make it Absinthe.” And I have to agree. I have seen this show several times now and it just never gets old. To me, this show embodies everything that is Vegas. Once you step inside of the unassuming tent located in the plaza of Caesar’s Palace, you are immersed into a world of wonderment. Edgy, sexy, raw and packed with some of the most incredible talent you will find on the Strip, the show takes audiences on a wild journey told by way of acrobats and various other variety acts.

However, I will say that no matter how much I adore this show, it is not for everyone. The show’s host, The Gazillionaire and his sidekick Joy Jenkins, has a completely unfiltered dialogue that some may find offensive. If you can handle crude comedy and raunchy punch lines with incredible old-world burlesque routines, then this is 100 percent the show for you.

Le Rêve at Wynn features a unique water stage surrounded by seats on all sides. Photo courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas.

Le Rêve at Wynn features a unique water stage surrounded by seats on all sides. Photo courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas.

Le Rêve – The Dream

This year, I’m giving five stars to the saucy and sumptuous show Le Rêve at the Wynn Las Vegas. I never knew how sexy it could be to kick water in someone’s face until now (kinda makes me want to slosh through every puddle I see).

The show has so many incredible elements, starting with the theater itself. It’s not small, but it’s very intimate, a lot like the shape of a funnel – so there’s really no bad seat in the house. Delicate fabric flowers flutter down from the ceiling, hiding the most exquisite aerial acrobats that plunge deep into the pool below.

The water elements perfectly accentuate the performers’ chiseled figures, making the already slinky costumes cling in all the right places, if you know what I mean. The fire and fog create intensity and mystery to an already unbelievable submerging set. There’s dancing, acrobatics, synchronized swimmers and so much more. This is a stunning show I’ll see again and again

— Ashley Oñoz-Wright, Vegas Insider

Human Nature's show features Motown favorites. Photo courtesy of Human Nature.

Human Nature’s show features Motown favorites. Photo courtesy of Human Nature.

Smokey Robinson Presents Human Nature: The Mowtown Show

The best show I saw this year has been one of my Vegas favorites for a while: “Smokey Robinson Presents Human Nature: The Motown Show.” I’m a big music fan and listening to great singers belt out classic songs definitely makes for a great night of entertainment for me.

These four guys from Australia have amazing vocal talent. They’re usually accompanied by a fantastic live band but there are also a few a cappella moments that will leave you with goosebumps. Not only do they sing, but the group has all the energetic dance moves to go along with it and a great rapport with the audience. They sing all the great Motown hits that everyone knows like “My Girl,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “Baby I Need Your Loving,” which means the audience is always singing along. You’ll want to get out of your seat and dance — and don’t worry – you’ll get a chance to by the end of the show.

Kristine McKenzie, Vegas Insider

Jabbawockeez

Jabbawockeez owns the stage at the MGM Grand. Photo courtesy of Jabbawockeez.

Jabbawockeez

I’ve been a fan of the Jabbawockeez since the first season of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” back in 2008. When I learned they were doing a Vegas show two years after that, I was beyond thrilled. I’ve always appreciated the B-Boy culture, so to see them mix these moves with theatrical elements was new and refreshing.

They started at MGM Grand and after performing at Monte Carlo and Luxor, they’re back at MGM Grand. But this time around is much better — the intimate theater really allows the crowd to get an up-close view of their slick dance routines.  In their most recent show, one of my favorite numbers is the “Street Fighter” scene. I loved they brought the retro Super Nintendo game to life. Their karate-infused dance moves and killer “Street Fighter” graphics made the routine legit.

I also loved how they played my jams from back in the day. How often do you hear music by Digital Underground, Digable Planets, old-school Michael Jackson and B-Boy instrumentals in a show? The Jabbawockeez will always be one of my favorites. They represent hip hop with an artistic flair, and it’s so cool to see this right on the Las Vegas Strip.

— Jeannie Garcia, Vegas Insider

Zombie Burlesque

Zombie Burlesque

I saw “Zombie Burlesque” with the woman who would become my current girlfriend. It wasn’t technically a date since we weren’t dating yet, but it definitely helped set the tone for our relationship. When seeing zombie boobs is the first thing you do just the two of you, it leaves an impression.

The show doesn’t have assigned seats, and you don’t really get to pick. You’re lined up and ushered in wherever the ushers want you. Thankfully, we ended up away from the “let’s pull this person out of the audience and embarrass the brains out of them” section. But we were perfectly within the “let’s awkwardly talk about zombie bondage within earshot of the little old ladies in the next row who clearly didn’t know what they were getting into” area.

To me, Zombie Burlesque isn’t all that extreme. But if you’re not used to seeing a burlesque show, let alone one with brain-eating and a dance number about the birth of Jell-O shots, then it might be a tad provocative. But if you’re looking for a fun and raucous place to take someone on what you hope will be the first of many dates – or if you’ve had years of dates and need to get the blood pumping again – this is a great show.

I have strong opinions on the purity of burlesque and how haphazardly the term is thrown around in this town. But I will say that Zombie Burlesque does justice to the name. It’s a wonderful show and every time I see it I want to take my girlfriend by the hand and sing, “I put a spell on you…”

— Miranda Boyd, Vegas Insider

'Mariah Carey #1 to Infinity' Photo By: Denise Truscello

Yep, that’s a Jet Ski onstage in “Mariah Carey #1 to Infinity” at Caesars Palace. Photo by Denise Truscello.

Mariah Carey

I am a huge fan of Mariah Carey’s earlier music, particularly her songs from the early to mid ’90s.  “Love Takes Time” used to make me tear up (at the tender age of 10)! That’s how powerful her love ballads would hit me.

So you can only imagine my excitement when I got to see her perform her No. 1 hits in “#1 to Infinity” at Caesars Palace. She performed so many of my favorite tracks including “Vision of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Someday,” “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” “My All” and “We Belong Together and she hit every note. After all these years, her voice still gives me the chills. I also loved how for every song, she brought her music videos to life on stage.

Her show had me on cloud nine; I was grooving and singing off-key in my seat. I didn’t care.  Her show had me in the feels. The only thing that would have made it any better is if Bone Thugs-n-Harmony showed up to sing their collaboration, “Breakdown.” All in all, she killed it and Mariah fans of any era would love it.

— Jeannie Garcia, Vegas Insider

Left, Garth Brooks returns to Las Vegas in summer 2016. Right, Brooks says hello to Vegas Insider Haley Caldwell. Left photo Courtesy of MGM International. Right photo courtesy of Haley Caldwell.

Left, Garth Brooks returns to Las Vegas in summer 2016. Right, Brooks says hello to Vegas Insider Haley Caldwell. Left photo Courtesy of MGM International. Right photo courtesy of Haley Caldwell.

Garth Brooks at Wynn

If you know anything about me, it’s that my all-time favorite music artist is Garth Brooks. Ever since I heard “Shameless” when I was four years old, I have been hooked. I remember being so excited about the first song I knew by heart, which to my parents concern was “Longneck Bottle,” and I have already decided that “Shameless” will be the song that plays during my first dance at my wedding.

With all that background, when I moved to Las Vegas, Garth was the only show that I knew I had to see. One day, to my complete shock, my parents surprised me with second-row tickets to his solo performance at the Wynn, and I cried because I was so elated… yes, cried; I have never been so excited in my entire life!

So, while I was lucky enough to see him perform a totally of three times during his previous Las Vegas residency, I must say that my best concert experience in 2015 wasn’t even a concert rather, it was the press conference where Garth Brooks showed up at the still-under-construction Las Vegas Arena to announce his 2016 tour dates in the new venue. Not only did I get to attend this press conference, but I scored an interview with him. I like to believe that I remained professional and kept my cool (thanks to secretly practicing how I would compose myself if I were to ever meet Garth Brooks) but I was totally shaking like a leaf.

All in all, I got to meet my favorite country artist, get a photo with him AND I already booked my tickets to see him during his Vegas show in the summer of 2016. Yee haw!

Haley Caldwell, Vegas Insider

Diana Ross

The Essential Diana Ross: Some Memories Never Fade

Let’s be honest, you could pick a hundred shows in Vegas that could fit the category of best thing I saw in 2015. There’s the consistently great performances by Cirque, including the heartfelt reintroduction of KÀ’s final battle, the triumphant return of Celine Dion and great performances by major acts – Reba, Brooks & Dunn – and smaller shows like Zombie Burlesque.

But one performance this year bridged the years between classic and new Vegas and reminded me of why the city is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World –  that was the fantastic Diana Ross.

She may be 71, but Diana Ross rocked the Venetian Theatre more than performers one-third her age. She had an audience composed 18 to 80-year-olds up dancing in the aisle from the moment she paraded down through the packed theater singing “I’m Coming Out.” It was just the start of a whirlwind performance with costume changes galore (Look out Britney, Diana has you beat.) and all her hits packed into a dynamite 90-minute show. And yes, Ms. Ross belted out all those hits live. There was no lip-syncing.

Ross reminded audiences what it means to truly headline in Vegas bringing energy, humor and love of an audience and of performing that made it a night to remember.

— Jennifer Whitehair, Vegas Insider

Eric Church at The Chelsea

Eric Church at The Chelsea. Photo courtesy of The Chelsea.

Eric Church

Being a country girl, it is only natural that another one of my top picks for this year is a country act. However, my reason for picking Eric Church is not only because I absolutely love his music, but it is because the venue in which I saw him perform. After this concert, I decided that The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is one of my favorite venues.

When I purchased my tickets for the show, I went with general admission, not knowing what to expect. I grabbed a slice of pizza at Secret Pizza about an hour before the show started, got in line with a beer and when the crowd was ushered in (since the GA section was on a first-come, first-served basis) we ended up front and center at the concert… and it was amazing!

The venue is the perfect size for an intimate experience and with the opportunity to be front row, right next to one of my favorite music artists well, that was just unbelievable. Now, if I could just see Garth Brooks at The Chelsea.

— Haley Caldwell, Vegas Insider

Comments

Trading one desert for another, I moved to Las Vegas from Arizona nearly three years ago. It was something about the sparkling lights and the all-encompassing entertainment factor that persuaded me to swap cacti for casinos and dry heat for well…even drier heat. And while I do love a good show, I will always keep true to my country girl ways seeing that I am an absolute sucker for a good country concert and will always indulge the opportunity to go out country dancing! But in a city that undoubtedly has some of the world’s best cuisine, a wild assortment of endless experiences, and of course phenomenal shows, Vegas certainly has that unparalleled good time vibe that can make a city slicker out of just about anyone… including myself!