Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BREAKING: The new $25 million Mirage Volcano

There ya go - here's the first look at the rendering of the new Mirage volcano, which MGM Mirage is plunging $25 million into and which is expected to open by year's end.

Here's a video the MGM Mirage folks released just now with some behind-the-scenes stuff:

A few things to note:

* Massive fireballs will leap 12 feet into the air, thanks to the "latest developments in flame-expression technology" from WET, the folks behind the Bellagio Fountains. Lava will "flow" down the mountainside, perhaps much as it used to and the technology will "bring Las Vegas' signature blast within feet of spectators."

* There will be a musical score created by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Indian music phenom Zakir Hussain. "Zakir and I immersed ourselves in the legends and myths and studied what really makes a volcano work," Hart says in the press release. "The result, a true union of the senses, will rattle your bones, just like a real volcano."

* It will a 7-minute show, considerably longer than the 2-minute original.

* Mirage president Scott Sibella, responding to Robin Leach's question, said they did consider moving the volcano off the sidewalk and closer to the building or inside. Steve Wynn, who created the feature, has said it was a mistake to give away the free entertainment and not force people to come inside. "It is something that we considered, but we knew we had this icon for going on 20 years," Sibella said. "We are thinking about ways to flow the people into the property in an easier manner."

It is also interesting that the press release says this is "the final step in the property's ongoing transformation." Final? It's always been my impression that, as Robert Earl mentioned on this week's podcast, there always must be something new coming up. Then again, the Mirage turns 20 next year, so I'm sure plenty of attention will be drawn to that.

Just to remind everyone -- or show non-Vegas-going readers (are there any?) what the old volcano was like, here's a decent YouTube video: