Despite a dated repertoire of jokes and a tame set of tricks, Criss Angel managed to delight audiences and keep them asking, "How did he do that?"
Aided by fellow Vegas magician Mike Hammer, as well as a group of assistants, Angel put on a show that left the audience laughing and gasping. Prior to the show, audience members were invited to take a picture onstage in a straight-jacket, accompanied by Hammer and an assistant.
The bad boy of magic stopped by Stephens Auditorium and brought with him a variety of tricks new and old, however, only a select few felt refreshing and bold.
Angel is often described as one of the greatest magicians to ever live, a reputation he has earned over three decades. However, a great deal of Angel’s content Sunday night felt lackluster for a big-ticket show. Tricks such as making coins appear under sweeping hands and predictions from audience members in the crowd missed their mark and left more to be desired. Making a phone appear in a bottle also seemed a little low-level for a show from such a renowned performer.
Other tricks were more refreshing, such as Angel’s final trick, which employed the help of Hammer. Angel stood behind a fan-made sheet onstage and told the audience to count to three. When the time came, the curtain dropped, revealing not Angel, but Hammer. Within a second, Angel went from onstage to sitting in the audience near the middle of the crowd. The closing trick left audience members astounded and felt like a truly impressive trick compared to others that came before it.
Angel’s swallowing of multiple razor blades attached to a wire also stood out as one of the best tricks of the night. Propelling the trick even further, Angel proceeded to use an endoscope tool to dive down his esophagus into his stomach, where the audience could see the blades resting in a pool of blood. Watching Angel fish the blades out and spitting out blood was an early precedent that failed to be succeeded until the final trick.
Other tricks in the set included making a tarantula appear from a video on a phone, pulling a snake out of someone’s purse and shooting an audience-picked card out of midair with a crossbow. The latter was made all the more impressive when paired with the fact that all 51 other cards accompanied the four of clubs in the air.
Each trick took up anywhere from five to 30 minutes, with many talking sections dispersed throughout. Angel describes his latest tour as much more intimate than ever before. Sunday’s show confirmed that, with Angel inviting many guests onstage to assist in his various tricks.
“I try to approach them [TV and live shows] both the same in terms of giving the audience non-stop, mind-blowing magic,” Angel said in an e-mail. “All killer, no filler.”