In the development of Whimzy I had 14 friends come to Vegas for a stag party for a long weekend. Some of them had been to Vegas before, and some had not been, this was going to be an eye opener for them.
This was going to be a special weekend!
The Saturday was the first night of a bachelor party and for this we treated ourselves to an evening at Zappos Theatre.
After a first full day at a shooting range and plenty of warm up beers, we had a walk along the strip from our hotel to Planet Hollywood, our stag suitably dressed head to toe in white trousers, white vest, white open shirt and white hat. Imagine the video from ‘I Want It That Way’, but rather crumpled from being squashed into hand luggage.
If you hadn’t guessed it, we were off to see the Backstreet Boys. Not your standard opening night in Vegas! However, our 190cm tall, 110kg Stag has a massive soft spot for a 90s boyband. What have we let ourselves in for…
Like all the other hotels on the strip, Planet Hollywood’s size is the first thing you notice. Replacing the previous Aladdin hotel, Planet Hollywood has just under 2500 rooms over 37 floors, newly renovated in 2017, and nearly 6000m2 of gaming space. The building itself has a modern wrap around lighting design on the exterior with the more classic Nevada hotel rising high in the middle.
All the rooms are dedicated to a movie theme decor. If you are feeling flush for money you could try the panorama suites, that feature views of the whole Las Vegas Strip. In the warmer months there is always the option of cooling off at the pool deck.
With a little time before the show and the chance to parade our very own Backstreet Boy through the hotel, we stopped for a quick couple of drinks at one of the bars close to the front of the venue. We grabbed some 2 for 1 drink vouchers, even though it wasn’t the most expensive drink that would be on offer, everyone loves a deal.
There was still space at the bars even with the crowds gathering for the show. Funnily there didn’t seem to be too many large groups of guys heading to see the Larger Than Life show, more groups of girls and the odd husband being dragged in by a wife doting a “we still love BSB” t-shirt.
Inside as you wonder the ‘streets’ with their painted blue sky and white cloud ceilings, there are shops, bars and restaurants. Gordon Ramsay Burger looking good for a pre event dinner. Everyone was in a buoyant mood throughout and moved keenly on to the theatre, where organised queues saw us move swiftly inside.
One funny moment was catching our Stag having his shirt steamed and ironed at a pop-up stall outside one of the bars. I think he wanted to impress the band. It is amazing the variety of shops and services on offer.
We queued a bit for a drink on entry, as most people had the same idea, so thought it best to double up on drinks, which could be taken inside to your seat. Because we had booked quite late and we had such a large group, it was only just possible to get us all sat together in a couple of rows. Wherever you sat you could see the stage clearly.
Remember, this is Las Vegas and no cent is spared on making things bigger and better than anywhere else. The only way to respond is by replicating this ideology and thinking big. Given the uncertainty when booking it a large bunch of men aged between 22 and 62, I didn’t expect the biggest cheers for the 5 90s boyband icons to be started by our group.
Don’t worry we were soon drowned out by screaming girls, shouting their favourite band members names. Shouts of “Brian, I love you” were soon originating from our direction. If you can’t beat them, join them ha-ha.
All the classic songs were given the full treatment in Hollywood glory, sound, lights, choreographed dancing. As Long As You Love Me, Everybody, Quit Playing Games, just to name a few.
I found out during the show that it was BSB’s 25th anniversary as a group and they made it into a celebration as part of their 2 year residency. I saw a rumour they may be coming back in 2022/23 for round 2!
With the bars inside Zappos much easier to access during the performance, the drinks flowed and good job too as our voices started to go with the shouting and singing.
When the show had finished, we all decided the drinking hadn’t. The city that never sleeps would have to put up with us a fair bit longer. Strolling back towards the entrance we noticed the large PBR Rock Bar and Grill.
It offers a selection of beers, drinks and food, and more importantly a bucking bronco rodeo ride. Another good chance to embarrass our main man! A throw of his hat and a few spins later and he was thrown off. Nowhere near as balanced as the young lady in the denim hot-pants who hypnotised us with her surfboard style ride of the bull.
Before we knew it, hours had passed, and we didn’t feel much need to move on. Everyone was approachable and had a story to tell about why they were in Vegas. Drinks were reasonably priced even though the happy hour had long gone. The excitement was too much for one group member, who had fallen asleep sat watching the rodeo ride.
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur for me. The whistle stop tour continued in exciting fashion for the next few nights. We did Vegas in excellent style much to the pain of our bodies and plenty of sleep deprivation!