Review Summary: Cirque Du Soleil finds its first fleet in Las Vegas with a show that ponders that life is just one big mystery, and a soundtrack that will remain in your head long after the end.
A twenty year old man on his first night in Las Vegas, I wandered the strip and observed the bight and flashy lights that surrounded me. After a while, I decided to make my way into a hotel, and after crossing an overpass, I observed a video screen showing a trailer that flaunted acrobatics, flashy costumes and a gigantic snail. "Mystere, by Cirque Du Soleil". Having seen two shows already and loving them (Dralion and Michael Jackson: Immortal Tour) and having bought tickets for Zumanity through a Canadian discount deal, I wandered inside and checked out the gift shop. To my dismay, the box office is closed. Days later, I line up outside the discount booth and frantically buy tickets for the 9:30 performance.
Walking into the theater, there are two baby carriages on stage and the sound of crying. The photographer gets us all pumped and says "come on guys, it's an awesome show! Let's get excited really quick!" after being upgraded to the front row because the tickets aren't that full, there's audience participation with a troublemaker clown, and onto the stage, a man dressed in a pink tux, named "Moha-Samedi", donning a puppet, gives us the rules of the house, and following quickly, the lights go down. From there on, 90 minutes of some of the craziest stuff I've ever seen including effortlessly gliding up Chinese poles, a man balancing a cube on his feet while flying through the air over my head, people on bungees dangling over my head and an insane act which features taiko drums being lowered all throughout the theatre performing an epic song unfolds. This, my friends, is my definition of fun.
But more importantly, despite all the crazy ***, the soundtrack was what stuck in my head the most. And I own a lot of Cirque soundtracks, but this one sticks out to me the most.
There are two releases of the soundtrack- one of studio recordings of selections from the show, and one that features a live performance recorded in 1996. Both went out of print at some point and for a while were only available through eBay and select sites, but thanks to Cirque's decision to switch labels and remaster and re-release their output, the live album got re-released in 2010 and the live recording is now known as the official soundtrack. I've only heard the live album, and all I can say is that the music is without a doubt one of the best soundtacks to anything ever.
From the opening baby's cry to the final 10 notes, Mystere's music puts you under a magical spell that's almost like one flamboyant and fantastical dream. As with most Cirque Du Soleil shows, there is a wide range of sounds on the CD. One minute, the soundtrack is adventurous and upbeat (Rondo/Double Face) and another it's relaxing and peaceful (Kalimando). It's hard to choose a favourite among so many tracks, many because Rene Dupere knows how to create a consistent soundtrack with not a single dull track.
A few of the tracks that stand out most, however:
Kunya Sobe, arguably one of the company's signature tunes is one catchy tune that's like a mix of a Quentin Tarantino worthy soundtrack tune and an African tribal chant. The song makes up the second half of the bungee act, and the catchy bassline and violin/flute riff will never leaveyour head after you've heard it. This version of the tune is shorter than the studio version and thankfully so, as the studio version does drag on for a tad too long.
Kalimando is the first track of the bungee act, and it is one relaxing aria that plays as the birds and lizards meet together and observe these talented bungee artists swing dangerously close to the audience. It sounds like a song one can fall asleep to easily, as it is very minimalist and has a very happy feel to it.
Taiko is the long awaited climax of the show, which starts off with an eastern tinged violin riff, intercut with taiko drumming here and there before finally kicking inti a full swing, mind blowing, badass Mofo of a drumbeat tune. There's onepart where the biggest drummer stops everyone around him and lightly taps on the drummwith his mallets before having the rest if the band kick back in. But, while the song is great on the album, there's nothing like being in the front row and having the drums played right into your ears. Apparently the drums have been known to at times set off the fire alarm!
And Ulysse, a track that plays during Marco and Paulo's hand-to-hand act is a beautiful tune that plays over a beautiful display of strength and trust. The song is very peaceful yet very suspenseful and something about it suggests a grand feel, majestic almost. I'd love to hear Sarah Brightman sing it.
In short, Mystere is not only a game changer for Cirque Du Soleil, but also a game changer for Vegas entertainment as a whole, and it flaunts a colorful, adventurous, diverse soundtrack that is a must for real fans of undefinably amazing music that flaunt a wide range of sounds.