I Heart Acrobatics and Live Music…


Last night I finally got to check out my first Cirque du Soleil performance, as Cirque Dreams (the Christmas version) was here in Raleigh for the week. While I’ve never been, I’ve definitely heard a lot about it (everyone else in my family has seen one), and was always intrigued from the stories.  A mix of music, costumes and intense acrobatic tricks apparently makes for a pretty great show.

First of all, the costumes are crazy and impressive all at the same time.  There’s so much going on at once, in so many different colors, I often found it difficult to focus on the main event.  For example, the one act was a balancing act with two men dressed as penguins.  While they were doing all kinds of crazy balancing, there were other ‘penquins’ tossing giant balls around, one on rollerblades, and one that just kept sliding on his stomach across the stage (my favorite of them all).  How can I focus on the incredible balancing going on when there are this many entertaining penguins on stage at the same time?

-1 for the danger aspect.  In climbing, we spend so much time learning to tie the right knots, how to double check them, how to doublecheck our harnesses, how to protect the ropes, etc. so that no one falls.  Free climbing is seen as ridiculously stupid, especially in my mind due to something that Claud and I call the ‘bee sting factor’.  Even if you’re the most incredible climber ever, on a super easy route, it’s still not a good idea to climb 50-100 feet in the air without a rope because you never know what external factors might interfere.  You might reach up for the next super giant hold and get stung by a killer bee.  In which case, you might let go, fall and die.  SO, when watching these acrobats do crazy, out of control balancing moves on a hoop/rope/silk scarf 50 feet up in the air, I spent much of the show waiting for one to get stung by a bee and fall to their death.  Doesn’t make for constant enjoyment.

-.5 for the singing.  Overall I really liked the music they played, but the singing wasn’t that fabulous.  They should stick with the background music.

The company was great, and I loved the excuse to dress up in heels and my theatre jacket 🙂  Something nice about that when you head out to a nice performing arts center all decked out for Christmas.


Following Cirque, I ended up meeting  Claud downtown to check out a couple local bands.  We started at Tir Na Nog to see an old favorite, Tripp.  I haven’t seen them play since last winter, so that part was awesome.

I totally dig their original music (except for how catchy it is… definitely hard to get out of your head), love the guys in the band, and especially loved the return of my favorite awkward bass player (wearing a jean jacket with jeans, no less).  However, their lead guitar was missing which was a bummer since not only is he incredible at guitar, but he has a definite stage presence that adds to their vibe.  I’m wondering if he just missed that gig or is gone forever… any insight Alex?

I also thought the crowd there last night needed some definite work.  For the drink special of the evening being Red Bull and Vodka, there seemed to be a serious lack of energy.  Two crazy guys dancing right next to us (LOVED their excitement, p.s.), but other than that no one dancing.  Very different from the first time I saw them play at Jack Spratt.  The set up of this bar wasn’t exactly conducive for crowd involvement, which I’m sure probably sucked for the guys playing, who had only tables in front of them while the crowd was all the way over on the other side of the bar.

Overall though, the music was great and it made me whip their CD back out for some fun driving music.


From there we headed next door to check out one of Claud’s favorite local bands, American Aquarium.  I’ve never heard of them before, or seen them play, but boy did I dig their music.  TOTALLY different scene then the first bar (where we felt under dressed while surrounded by tuxes and formal wear), way more casual and a much larger crowd.  The cover was a bit steep if you ask me, but after listening to their stuff I decided it was worth it.  A mix between rock and folk, I was totally into both the twang and the pretty kickass lead singer.  While sometimes the accent seemed a bit heavy (which I only started to notice when both Claud and Lauren pointed it out), the combo of the two was pretty fun.  It was the kind of music that I literally couldn’t stop myself from dancing to.  So I did, and had a pretty great time doing it.

To top it off, I happened to run into four more of my friends that I don’t see nearly enough.  Lauren, Andy, Will and Mike were all there as well which was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise.  I also loved Andy’s willingness to get his groove on with me 🙂


I wanted to try and catch a shot of Claud, Andy and I but again, the iPhone let me down. Without a flash it’s pretty much useless in dark places.  Just wanted to emphasize my desperate need for a new digital camera… Santa, can you hear me?

Check them out here…

Overall an awesome vibe there, and an awesome night, and I will definitely be checking them out again in the future!



  1. Cirque Dreams is actually like a knockoff of cirque du soilel, similar type of show but not run by the same group. If you get the chance see a real Cirque Du Soilel show, in my opionion SOO much better (and they don’t do the awful singing- i had the same thought when we saw Cirque Dreams).

    1. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion. However the term “rip off” is incorrect. Actually like a lot of things in the entertainment, scientific, and business worlds (and actually life itself) simultaneous development of is not at all unusual. That is the case here, Neil Goldberg, creator and director of Cirque Dreams started working in the “cirque” genre in 1986 producing corporate shows. This is approximately the same time the Cirque du Soleil was presenting their shows to the public. And in fact Goldberg’s “Cirque Ingenux” which toured in 1996 was conceived and work begun roughly 5 or 6 years earlier before Cirque du Soleil began touring theamed shows.

      The fact is that both shows are wonderful although different and again people are free to choose which one they prefer. The use of the term rip off is unfair, inappropriate, and wrong.

      In fairness I should disclose that I work for Cirque Dreams Company.

  2. Some insight from Alex, the lead singer of Tripp:

    Here’s the insight you asked for: folks started dancing as soon as our second set started, which is usually the case. It’s that time of the night when all the drinks have started kicking in.

    As for Hugh, the guitarist, we parted ways with him officially early last month. We’re disappointed but it was definitely in ev…eryone’s best interest. He’s got a new project called Swaso (look it up under SwasoMusic) that you should check out.

    Also, I’m guessing you missed Bright Young Things, who opened for American Aquarium last night. They’re friends of ours and really good AND, conveniently enough, just released an EP that you can download for free. I don’t know the website, but look up their fan page on Facebook and you can find the link there.

    Phew, there ya go!

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