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longhaired1
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Just got back from David Copperfield's 7:30 show, the first performance
since his recent troubles started.

I'll post a full review within a day or two, but I will say at this point
that I was hugely disappointed in this show.

At least the tickets were a write-off.
Allan Bright
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Yes, please let us know how he did on stage after all this.
Rupert Bair
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Maybe time to hang the boots up?
Silvio Solaris
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Quote:
On 2007-11-17 10:24, Matt Colman wrote:
Maybe time to hang the boots up?


No, but at least take a break. Knowing David he won't stop. He is a workaholic.
Nothing wrong with that but after that blackmail he should take it easy for a while.

Perhaps it is all karma. He shouldn't have done 13 for so many years Smile
Magical Wishes

Silvio Solaris

'Is all that we see and seem but a dream within a dream?' E.A.Poe
longhaired1
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On 2007-11-16 03:18, Allan Bright wrote:
Yes, please let us know how he did on stage after all this.


He did just fine, in a sense. Which is to say that he went through all of the paces as usual. He made one very quick reference to his current difficulties (at one point he spiraled a deck of cards and made a lame joke about them spiraling like Michael Jackson's financial situation, then he quickly added "among other things").

No, the lack of sincerity, cornball humor and inability to share a genuine feeling with the audience was something I expect from Copperfield's shows. But usually it is accompanied by breathtaking artistry.

The last element is what has been completely removed from his show.

What I witnessed can't be written off as a bad night, or a result of recent events. It was really more a fundamental change in the way that he is currently presenting magic. At least in this current show he has abandoned all of the things that once made him unique:

No sets to speak of.
No featured performers other than himself.
Not a single dance step.
Nothing framed in a theatrical context.

It was much more of a "hey, I'm going to really blow you away with this next thing. Look, we have a tv camera behind the big box to prove that nobody can escape from the back. Hey, now everyone has vanished and ain't I great!".

From my perspective it was hack magic only on a grand scale. It was completely contrary to the performance philosophy of the Copperfield of the old days.

Even his on-stage assistants lacked presence. When somebody had to come out and spin a box they just kind of slouched onto the stage and spun the box. When he was at his peak it seemed that every element of the show, and every person in the show, was critical to the creation of a beautiful piece of art. Now they look like hired hands who are just there to make sure things are moved on and off stage.

I saw him perform the impalement in 1986 and it remains to this day one of the finest pieces of magic I've ever seen, not because of the effect itself but because of the presentation. The way he framed the illusion made it all about passion, jealousy and rage. The viewer was so caught up in the subtext and theme of the presentation that you would be mesmerized from the first beat of the music to the final lighting effect. He used to have moments in his shows that would just grab you, take you on an emotional ride and just tear your heart out. It was that way with Origami, and the Water Levitation, and numerous other effects.

In his current incarnation it's as if he would present the impalement this way. "Hi sir, we've never met right? Please sign this affidavit proving that we've never met and you have in fact been selected at random from the audience via some excruciating long and un-entertaining method. Please inspect this sword for the audience. It's a real sword, forged from titanium alloy. Please smack this sword with this hammer to prove it's a real sword. Whoops, better get someone else up here to prove the hammer is real...Okay we're going to put tv cameras all around the sword and I want to get 12 more people up here to hold hands around the sword and now I'm up on the sword and oh my god it went through me but now it's out and I'm still alive... ain't I great! Now here's a video of one of my old tv shows".

Obviously I'm exaggerating for effect. But not by much.

It was just a real mess. Turning the house lights on every 15 minutes to run around and gather people from the audience and this non-stop "proving" that things were genuine insured that there was not a mesmerizing moment in the whole show.

About halfway through the show my wife looked at me and asked when is this thing going to end. I replied that the real question was when is it going to start. I was hoping that the show would be redeemed by at least one truly inspiring piece of theater, but it was not to be.

I'll have my complete review written soon and I'll touch on some of the positives then. There weren't many.
Art190
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That really sucks
darrylasher
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Wow, that's too bad. I got to see Copperfield twice. He came here to Billings, Montana, which surprised me. Some things about him have always annoyed me, but even so there has never been anyone to present magic in such a compelling and dramatic format. Seeing him live was incredible because I realized it was just not so slickly done for his TV shows. Losing the drama is losing 75% of his act. It puts magic back into the category of "If I had that box I could do the same thing."
bronx
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I'm sorry to say that I had much the same reaction to seeing Copperfield perform about 4 months ago. I was colossally bored. This was my first exposure to his stage work and his lack of audience connection, his reliance on tired .... VERY tired jokes .... and self-aggrandizing videos, actually depressed me. I actually came away with the sense that he harbors great disdain for his audience.

As a relative newcomer to this wonderful art, I was looking forward to a mesmerizing evening. At its conclusion, I was glad that I had won the $100 ticket price at the craps table moments before the show started.
JoeJoe
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Odd ... the reporter at Fox News said Copperfield was on his "A Game" and "didn't miss a beat".

-JoeJoe
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longhaired1
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Quote:
On 2007-11-17 15:41, JoeJoe wrote:
Odd ... the reporter at Fox News said Copperfield was on his "A Game" and "didn't miss a beat".

-JoeJoe

That's absolutely true. He didn't miss a beat.

It was not an "off night".

That was the most tragic part of the whole story.
Art190
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I wonder if its going to stay this way from now on.
longhaired1
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Quote:
On 2007-11-16 00:56, longhaired1 wrote:
I'll post a full review within a day or two, but I will say at this point
that I was hugely disappointed in this show.


As promised, here is my full review of David Copperfield at MGM Grand:

Imagine you know of a great chef. He has a decades-long reputation of creating a fantastic dining experience with creative dishes, the highest quality ingredients, using innovative presentations and served by the most competent of wait staff. You pay top dollar to experience the man's work based on the totality of his career and reputation. However, the meal you are served that evening falls below your expectations, and well below the price you paid.

No problem. You are disappointed but write it off as the chef having a bad night. Understandable as that can happen to anyone.

But wait. Upon further reflection you realize that what you experienced cannot be written of so easily. The chef sold the good silerware and replace it with plastic spoons and forks. He fired the excellent wait staff and replaced them with teenage kids. He took the decor off the walls, turned up the lights and blew out the candles. He used adequate ingredients, not the best available.

Now you realize that the chef has made a conscious decision to go in a particular direction. This is no longer a matter of an "off-night". Someone is using his reputation and past accomplishments to get you in, and then choosing to deliver a mediocre product.

There is currently a master chef at the Hollywood Theatre in the MGM Grand cranking out hamburgers. Decent hamburgers, but hamburgers nonetheless.
I made a conscious choice to attend the November 15th 7:30 performance, as this was his first public appearance since his recent troubles began. I was curious whether he would acknowledge the situation and how he would fare under the circumstances.

He did just fine, in a sense. Which is to say that he went through all of the paces as usual. He made one very quick reference to his current difficulties (at one point he spiraled a deck of cards and made a lame joke about them spiraling like Michael Jackson's financial situation, then he quickly added "among other things").

No, the lack of sincerity, cornball humor and inability to share a genuine feeling with the audience was something I expect from Copperfield's shows. But usually it is accompanied by breathtaking artistry.

The last element is what has been completely removed from his show.

What I witnessed can't be written off as a bad night, or a result of recent events. It was really more a fundamental change in the way that he is currently presenting magic. In this current show he has abandoned all of the things that once made him unique:

No sets to speak of. No featured performers other than himself. Not a single dance step. Nothing framed in a theatrical context.

It was much more of a "hey, I'm going to really blow you away with this next thing. Look, we have a tv camera behind the big box to prove that nobody can escape from the back. Hey, now everyone has vanished and ain't I great!".

From my perspective it was hack magic only on a grand scale. It was completely contrary to the performance philosophy of the Copperfield of the old days.

Even his on-stage assistants lacked presence. When somebody had to come out and spin a box they just kind of slouched onto the stage and spun the box. When he was at his peak it seemed that every element of the show, and every person in the show, was critical to the creation of a beautiful piece of art. Now they look like hired hands who are just there to make sure things are moved on and off stage.

I saw him perform the impalement in 1986 and it remains to this day one of the finest pieces of magic I've ever seen, not because of the effect itself but because of the presentation. The way he framed the illusion made it all about passion, jealousy and rage. The viewer was so caught up in the subtext and theme of the presentation that you would be mesmerized from the first beat of the music to the final lighting effect. He used to have moments in his shows that would just grab you, take you on an emotional ride and just tear your heart out. It was that way with Origami, and the Water Levitation, and numerous other effects.

In his current incarnation it's as if he would present the impalement this way. "Hi sir, we've never met right? Please sign this affidavit proving that we've never met and you have in fact been selected at random from the audience via some excruciating long and un-entertaining method. Please inspect this sword for the audience. It's a real sword, forged from titanium alloy. Please smack this sword with this hammer to prove it's a real sword. Whoops, better get someone else up here to prove the hammer is real...Okay we're going to put tv cameras all around the sword and I want to get 12 more people up here to hold hands around the sword and now I'm up on the sword and oh my god it went through me but now it's out and I'm still alive... ain't I great! Now here's a video of one of my old tv shows".

Obviously I'm exaggerating for effect. But not by much.

The sign outside the MGM Grand has a single word quote from a New York Times article. "Mesmerizing", is all it said. And I agree, his act used to contain mezmerizing moments. The definition of mezmerized is "Fascinated: having your attention fixated as though by a spell"

Turning the house lights on every 15 minutes to run around and gather people from the audience and this non-stop "proving" that things were genuine insured that there was not a mesmerizing moment in the whole show. The roaming video camera has taken the place of the cliche "nothing up my sleeve". In the past, when he presented his magic in a more theatrical context we couldn't care less what was up his sleeves.

In the same way that a mediocre comic formats his act in the typical "set-up/punchline" scheme, so with magicians we have the "proof/effect/take a bow" format. Unfortunately the "proof" portion of the performance doesn't have a whole lot of entertainment value, so we sit through excruciating bouts of frisbee tossing into the audience to "prove" that the assistants are picked at random, followed by card signing, questions, DNA testing, signed affidavits to "prove" that nobody has ever met anybody before this, etc. Frankly we just want the dude to get in the ***ed box, do his little magic trick so we can clap our hands and eventually go home.

I have long felt that one of the great problems with Copperfield's career was his huge stunts tended to overshadow his true artistry onstage. But I understand the nature of things, and vanishing a national monument is a great thing to have on your resume. You have no choice to but to admire the man's career and accomplishments, but when you pay top dollar to see one of the worlds all-time great magicians you deserve to see one of the all-time great magic shows. If he wants to deliver less than that, cut the ticket prices in half and fully commit yourself to has-been status. We'll still respect you for your accomplishments and appreciate your honesty.

On a positive note, he did a routine in which he predicts the lottery numbers. The fact that he got it right was no surprise, but that climax was followed by a series of "kickers", the last of which the the production of a significantly large object under some very challenging test conditions.

On a negative note, during the setup for that production he had and audience member hugging a pedestal (that the object would eventually appear on) and was shouting at the man "Hug it, hug it" followed by "Hug it like it's your !@#$%!". It was the singularly most unfunny, unnecessary, bizarre and uncharacteristic thing I've ever heard a performer say onstage. I wasn't personally offended, I'm not easily offended, but it was certainly offensive.

It was just a real mess. About halfway through the show, my wife looked at me and asked when was this thing going to end. I replied that the real question was when was it going to start. I was hoping that the show would be redeemed by at least one truly inspiring piece of theater, but it was not to be.

The theme of this review was originally intended to be about what happens when great talent is combined with great resources and great passion. I guess it's now about what happens when great talent loses passion and leaves the great resources back at the warehouse.
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Anyone may post, repost, copy, give away, sell, email, translate, and distribute this review in any manner they see fit so long as they do not alter the copy (excerpts are fine) and as long as this entire disclaimer is included, including the following URL (http://www.vegasmagicreviews.com). The content of this review is the sole property of Vegas Magic Reviews and Steve Harder-Kucera, author of this review.
Illusion77
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Were there any new or classic illusions in the show?
longhaired1
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Quote:
On 2007-11-19 10:47, Illusion77 wrote:
Were there any new or classic illusions in the show?


I'm not sure what qualifies as new. It was all new stuff to me, but I haven't seen him live in quite some time. The show is called an Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion, and I believe the set list can be found by googling.

He did Portal, 13, The Lottery Prediction.

He did a crusher type illusion that I've seen on one of his tv shows. It was in an industrial setting (the only real set piece of the whole show, but again the other performers weren't choreographed, just pretended to be working on something, and Copperfield just climbed into the illusion, executed then got out.

He did do the Slo-Mo Duck routine which I saw in his act in 1986.
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Having just read longhaired1's review of the David Copperfield show at The MGM, I can only say that I agree with him completely. His comments hit the nail right on the head. As Bronx already commented, he gave my friend and I exactly the same impression, with his almost sneering attitude to his audience. I've never witnessed such an attitude from any performer before. The man should be ashamed.

It's a tragic sight, to watch someone that you once held in such high regard, performing to about 1% of his abilities. He spends years building a reputation and then just throws it all away in just one night. Walking out of the theatre that night I felt ripped off, as I had just given him $100.00 of my money, but also extremely sad to see such a tragic performance from someone that I consider at his best, to be unequaled. It was as if someone just took all of his talent away.

Best,
Russ
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Yeah... if only he could be as dramatic as you are in these posts...
-A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
-It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.
-The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.

See you space cowboy...
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I saw him in Bamberg, Germany in October 1995. I was with family that had never seen him before. I noticed something wrong, but my family pointed it out first - "He really looks tired, doesn't he?"

My opinion was that he wasn't "there" He merely went through the required moves. He did not even bother to change his patter, even though he was performing for a German speaking audience. 99.9% of his jokes fell flat and people did not even realize he was joking.

For persons that had never seen him before or that have never attended a magic show of that scale, were probably astonished and amazed. I was a bit sad because my family had bought me the tickets as a Birthday gift and they realized the show was just borderline entertaining.
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Other magicians compete with each other. David is probibly the only magician that has to compete with himself. he is constantly compared with his younger self.

David is now in his 50s. we should be glad he's still working. but he's never going to be able to compete with people's memories of him when he was younger. he still puts on close to 500 shows a year. I doubt I could do that by the time I hit 50. (i probibly couldn't do it now at 35)

in my youth I was seriously into martial arts. I did tournamet fighting and kick boxing. I'm 35 now and if I ran into my 20 year old self, he'd kick my butt in 30 seconds.

I've always felt David works too much. he's got to be tired. he should just build his own theater in vegas and slow down. he's earned the right.
my real name is Kevin Harrison

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Banester
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Darth, I think you hit the nail on the head. He was at his peak back then. Last year when I saw his show I still thought it was a great performance. He did "walk through" a lot of the illusions, but it was still entertaining. He received two standing ovations!

Were you comparing some of the illusions to what you watched him do on TV? You said it has been quite some time since you saw him live so maybe the expectations were too high based on when you last saw him, hey we all age and there are going to be things that we can't do. I don't think you will see him jumping all over the stage like he used to. I miss some of the drama which has been replaced by corny jokes, but I felt the wow factor was still there.
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
longhaired1
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 15:41, Banester wrote:
Were you comparing some of the illusions to what you watched him do on TV? You said it has been quite some time since you saw him live so maybe the expectations were too high based on when you last saw him, hey we all age and there are going to be things that we can't do. I don't think you will see him jumping all over the stage like he used to. I miss some of the drama which has been replaced by corny jokes, but I felt the wow factor was still there.

I'm comparing him to the three previous times I've seen him live more than the television shows.

Quite a few people have commented in the past about his lack of enthusiasm and "going through the paces", so none of that was a surprise.

The more theatrical and nuanced performances of the past aren't beyond the capability of someone of his still relatively young age. If anything, there was too much jumping around. The show could have been redeemed by one or two presentations of great artistic value. I was surprised to have received not even one.

It's cool. My job ( a tough one for sure ) is to see and review every magic happening in this town, so I'm sure I'll be sitting through a lot worse.
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