This. Is Encore.
A Concerto For Butterfly and The Possibilities Of Now
"This. Is Encore."
With those three words, visionary casino developer Steve Wynn introduced the world to his latest resort, a full-figured coda to the only one he's ever signed his name to.
An encore, by definition, implies that a performance of artistic merit has previously taken place, and audiences have demanded more. In music, an encore is usually brief summation of the evening's program rendered with whimsy (or trotting out of guaranteed show stoppers i.e. 'My Sharona' if artist in question is The Knack.) Seldom are encores grand in scope, regardless of adoration heaped stage forth by audiences in rapture. In the case where the artist has enough workable material, a collection of encores - each it's own set of miniatures - could continue until the sound of homecoming cows drown out the lady of largesse's horn adorned viking fedora (or eager for MillerTime IATSE stagehands.)
There is certainly no doubt that Wynn Las Vegas is truly a major work by a major composer of entertainment destination hotels. When one creates a work so incredibly sublime in details, complex in interplay, deep in emotion... conjuring a follow up is a risky and difficult proposition. With a track record containing few - if any - mis-steps, the worry that Wynn's Encore encore could've ended up on a tomato throwing, pooch screwing mess is relatively small. Still, the shadow of the chocolate curve looms large and long enough should cause the staunchest of Wynn-o-philes to burp the question : "name one song the Knack wrote besides 'My Sharona'."
Beethoven followed up his bombastically powerful Fifth Symphony by changing gears in Symphony #6 'Pastoral' - a subtle, earthy precursor to the tone poem form. Stravinsky's symphonic follow up to the blood curdling 1913 ballet "The Rite of Spring" (the orchestral equivalent of a Slayer album... seriously) abandoned modernism altogether for material 'sampled' from Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736). The piece, a ballet called "Pulcinella" featured sets designed by Wynn fave, Pablo Picasso.
In the rock n roll realm, Pink Floyd followed up "The Wall" with an uninspired set of ego-driven Roger Waters paens to his deceased father called "The Final Cut," during the production of which the band splintered. Led Zeppelin followed up "IV" (the one with Stairway to Heaven on it) very Beethovenly - a pastoral collection of folksy psychedelic rock throbbers "Houses of the Holy." 80's metal band Queensryche followed up their brilliant "Operation: Mindcrime" by writing love songs. Seminal Swiss death metal geniuses Celtic Frost followed up their magnum opus "Into The Pandemonium" (it had a tuba section and opera singers on it!) by teasing their hair, dressing like "Theatre of Pain" era Motley Crue and putting out an album that sounded like watered down Faster Pussycat. The Beastie Boys followed up their "License to Ill" party album by creating a post-modernist hip-hop masterpiece "Paul's Boutique."
When faced with staring achievement in the rear view, some artists elect to clone: (Venetian I.5 : Venetian Macao, Wynn II : Wynn Macau) or repackage the previous with a new name: (Venetian II : Palazzo). And some... they completely fucking blow it (Aladdin II, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood makeover).
With Encore, Wynn has taken a completely different route. Instead of framing the younger sibling against the older sibling's grandiose ostentation, Encore has taken the smallest essential set of Wynn's raw philosophical materials, inverted scale to intensity, set prefs to intimacy, added a new alphabet of tacto-visual linguistics and projected the open ended 'anything is possible' resulting narrative onto the cinematic easel of impossibility, in turn redefining the entire concept of really high definition.
In a word: speechless.
Much will be said, written and discussed about service at Sinatra, assortment and selection of slots, price point and pizazz of Parlor Suites, conditions for cards and craps, casino chambers' drapes and pillars, serving size at Society Cafe and mostly the theatrically startling shifts at Switch. As the details begin to emerge - myth, legend, opinion and factoids - trust that the full story of Encore cannot be revealed nor understood in a just one sip, or even the most detailed pontification of another's savory memory. One tonal ictus makes not a melody, let alone phrase, motif, section, movement or symphony. Equally, one letter makes not a word, let alone sentence, thought, paragraph, chapter or book. Of the many books and symphonies unleashed upon the world by aspiring artists and creators everywhere, few are instant classics, even less of those are masterpieces to be studied and enjoyed forever.
That. Is Encore.