Over the years, I’ve held up the Fountains of Bellagio as an example of how a free amenity can enhance Las Vegas’ image and drive business to the Strip.
It’s like this: “The hotel should make that lounge free, like the Bellagio fountains” or “That observation wheel should be the Bellagio fountains of observation wheels” or “ ‘Fuerza Bruta’ would have been a far better entertainment experience if it were free, like the Bellagio fountains.”
The attraction is a filled with show-stopping effects that also stop traffic. Maybe you, too, have made that right-hand turn from Flamingo Road onto the Strip and nearly slammed into a halted line of cabs, Uber rides and common passenger cars. Those folks have braked to watch the city’s famous no-cover show.
As a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, the Bellagio fountains turned off the faucet March 17. MGM Resorts International plans to relaunch the production when Bellagio itself reopens.
Hotel officials have said Bellagio and New York-New York, as well as a third resort, will open first. June 4 is the anticipated date, pending authorization from Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Expect images to spread across social media when the Bellagio show fires up anew.
The fountains are where Panic! At the Disco was famously doused while singing “High Hopes” for an NHL playoffs promo in June 2018. During dinner at Lago one night, I heard Pitbull’s voice resonating from the lake. I thought it was the restaurant’s sound system. No. It was Pitbull, Robin Thicke, Blink-182’s Travis Barker and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry performing while shooting the music video for “Bad Man.”
Bruno Mars cruised across the lake on a jet ski for his “24K Magic” video. Richard Branson also took a jet ski across the water, because he can.
Britney Spears shook it up on the water during the 2001 Billboard Music Awards. Six years later, Drake, too, played the lake for a segment airing on the BMAs.
The Killers performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on the Strip, with the fountains at their side.
Imagine Dragons have played an acoustic set at the water show. “Game of Thrones” produced a themed segment leading to the end of the hit HBO series in April 2019. A month before that, Celine Dion and James Corden cruised across the lake, singing “My Heart Will Go On” while reviving the “king of the world” scene from “Titanic” for Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special.”
The water show’s soundtrack itself would make a fine greatest-hits release. MGM Resorts has collaborated with the creative team of the Los Angeles water design firm WET, which produces the presentation, for widely recognized songs.
Thus, visitors to the fountains will hear classics ranging from Glenn Miller’s big-band number “In the Mood,” the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” the Sarah Brightman-Andrea Bocelli duet “Con Te Partiro (“Time to Say Goodbye”),” Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady,” Elton John’s “Your Song,” Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” and — naturally — “Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain.”
The soundtrack has expanded to EDM. In September 2014, Tiesto became the first EDM star to have his music played during the water show. The Hakkasan Nightclub and Omnia at Caesars Palace headliner said of the aquatic attraction, “We were looking at this, and it was whimsical, magical, and it never gets old.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.