Roy Horn's moment onstage was an emotional watershed; too bad it couldn't escape the past
By STEVE FRIESS
Forget for a moment whether the white tiger on the stage really was Montecore. Forget whether it really was Roy Horn under the mask for the entire 10-minute performance at the Bellagio last weekend. And forget, even, that Siegfried and Roy and their managers have spent the better part of five years telling ridiculous tales about what actually happened between Montecore and Horn that awful night at the Mirage, despite the fact that there were 1,500 horrified witnesses.
We’ll get back to all that shortly. But let it all go for a moment.
I did. It was the only way to take in one of the most genuinely emotional events in the history of Las Vegas. Many speculated afterward that much of the show may have been fake, staged. But the awkward, bittersweet smile on Roy’s face when he and Siegfried peeled off medieval gothic masks and soaked up the adulation of a teary-eyed, standing crowd at the benefit for the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Research?
That part was real. That part, when a man who was not supposed to be alive—much less ever walk or utter a syllable again—was up there enjoying a last bow? That was real. The evident and deserved satisfaction of enjoying one last hurrah after redefining Vegas entertainment and spectacle and delighting untold millions of people in their careers?
No illusion. All real.
What a shame, then, that there were so many skeptics. But the fault for that belongs solely with Siegfried, Roy, MGM Mirage and their handlers.
It’s never easy, as a journalist, to let go of the tricky past. Those of us who covered the attack on October 3, 2003, have long memories of how this story was handled, what lines of baloney were being fed to the public and how something tragic became needlessly controversial.
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