27 – A Musical Adventure has debuted at the 24 Oxford showroom at the reimagined Virgin Hotels Las Vegas: formerly the Hard Rock Hotel.
For a baby boomer like me, the show is a much appreciated, deeply nostalgic series of musical flashbacks to the magical late 60s and early 70s as legendary rock artists Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin are honored and revisited among others with eerily spot on covers of some of their most iconic hits.
Music, in one sense, is like a time capsule. It has the power to evoke thoughts and emotions one might think had long been buried beneath the weight of time. I was a teenager when these three artists rose to fame and then crashed into dust and ashes. Morrison’s “LA Woman” and “Break On Through”, Hendrix’s “All Long the Watchtower” and “Foxy Lady” reminded me deeply of my departed brother, a Viet Nam vet who took his life with a bedsheet thirty years after the war, and thirty three years after Morrison’s death due to congestive heart failure brought on by a heroin overdose on July 3, 1971, in a Paris apartment. It seems a good percentage of those boys in View Nam were huge fans of Hendrix and Morrison.
Joplin’s classic “Crybaby” and “Me & Bobby McGee” had me reaching for my cell phone during the show to share a memory with an old high school friend; as teenagers we sat in her Ford Mustang listening to the radio at a hamburger stand in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, in 1972. We had burst into tears over “Me & Bobby McGee”. I was heading to Jamaica for two weeks the next day with another friend following high school graduation.
Jill said, “I don’t think you’re ever going to come back.” She was right. I didn’t. Not for years. And then just to visit. We stay in touch through Face Book. She calls me “Bobby” and I call her “Ms. McGee.” Janis Joplin was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose in her Hollywood hotel room on October 4, 1970. I was just entering my freshman year of high school at the time.
For Gen Xers and millennials, the Kurt Cobain, “Come As You Are,” and Amy Winehouse, “Rehab”, and other contributions are sure to tug at some heartstrings. And for countless fans and famous musicians influenced by the blues, the late yet legendary Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938), an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter is showcased and is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly the Delta style blues.
What all these ground breaking, unique superstars had in common is that they each died at the much too young age of 27. Only one death was not medically attributed to the direct or indirect use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Cobain committed suicide with a shotgun, however, he had a history of alcoholism, depression, and was a heroin user. Johnson’s death certificate was found thirty years after his demise and listed only date and location, with no official cause of death. Urban legend has it that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming one of the greatest blues musicians of all time.
The show culminates with the artists all performing together on one stage in a rock concert like no other. “27 has been in the works for more than 15 years. The show received a tremendous response across multiple generations when it debuted at the Troubadour, and we are excited about the residency at the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Virgin is synonymous with music, so we think it’s a great fit,” said Ramy El-Batrawi of Hen Entertainment and co-writer/co-producer of 27 – A Musical Adventure.
Multiple generations indeed are bound to enjoy this musical ‘time capsule’. One gets the impression the talented artists performing the culturally defining works of these legendary pioneers who paid such a dear price for their place in the pages of rock history; these artists are enjoying the journey just as much as the young and old fans in the audience.
One thing that seems perfectly clear is that while fame and fortune are intoxicating in and of themselves, dying senselessly at twenty-seven is no stairway to heaven. -Christine McKellar
Tickets for 27 – A Musical Adventure are on sale now with ticket prices starting at $65 plus tax and fees. Performances will be Wednesday through Sunday at 8:30 p.m. starting May 19, 2021. The show is open to ages 6 and up. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.etix.com/ticket/e/1019515/27-las-vegas-24-oxford-residency or https://ticketbat.com.