Yes, we know, a one-off, probably never to be repeated, event is the unfair runner-up. But, we witnessed 35 live shows this year, Absinthe twice, and yet the memory of the dress rehearsal staging of Empire inside the Absinthe tent sticks with us stronger than anything else we saw this year. (Cue man balancing a feather on dinosaur bones.) We said it back in May. It still holds true today. Born from the same dysfunctional Spiegelworld family, but created and themed for a New York run, it was a parallel universe sibling of Absinthe. And proof positive the creative petri-dish under their big top didn't create a one-off fluke.
Absinthe will never be for everyone. First time in Vegas? See Cirque. We recommend O. A repeat visitor and looking for an intelligent and unique performance? See Penn & Teller. But, have an open mind? Absinthe is the show. Even on repeat visits. And, Empire proved our opinion was right.
There are more shocking productions out there. But can they genuinely entertain as well? Cirque offers more elaborate routines. But, where else are you that close to genuine danger? An excessive melding of theatre, circus and vaudeville tradition. And, moments that you'll remember as "Only in Las Vegas." We just wish they'd consider bringing Empire back to The Strip so you'd get to see it, too.
[Photos: Absinthe, VegasChatter]