Published Monday, Dec. 8, 2008 | 7:43 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008 | 5:32 p.m.
Despite harsh economic times on the Strip, the Mirage launched its latest multimillion dollar addition Monday night, a project that has been on the resort's agenda for almost four years.
After months of the Mirage’s volcano laying dormant and more that 19 years after its original opening, the hotel and casino reignited the fiery icon in a public ceremony, showcasing a new look and a new sound.
Mirage president Scott Sibella and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman were there to unveil the resort's $25 million outdoor project.
Plans and preparations for the improved volcano have been in the works since late 2004. The volcano had been closed for construction from February until Monday night.
Sibella said in early September that the plan for the outdoor spectacle was to hopefully bring visitors inside the casino.
“I think it’s going to bring traffic flow back into the property. It creates a lot of demand to stay here to see the volcano. It tells a story that if a casino is spending $25 million on this volcano, what have they done inside? We are doing this so we can stay competitive with all these new properties on the Strip,” Sibella said in September.
In late October, MGM Mirage announced it would be scaling back projects in an effort to cut costs, including shelving projects in Atlantic City and renovations in current properties. The company reported a 67 percent lost in the third quarter from last year.
Monday night, Sibella admitted that the property had some concerns about the Mirage’s investment in the volcano upgrade.
“I’m concerned now, but at the time we had already gone through this process for three or four years. But we got to the point where we had to continue it because we had so much time and money invested in it,” Sibella said.
Sibella said the property was lucky to have the project fully funded a few years ago.
“We spent the whole $25 million,” Sibella said.
The Mirage summoned the forces of top designers and musicians for the redesign.
Design firm WET, which created the original Mirage volcano in 1989 — as well as the Bellagio Fountains — is responsible for the new effects and look of the volcano.
The new volcano show fires up for 4 minutes and 30 seconds, its eruptions choreographed to the music of Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Indian tabla artist Zakir Hussain.
The show features all of the elements, with the volcano shooting water 120 feet in the air while fire shoots from the lagoon below, all to a primal soundtrack.
Shows will run every hour, on the hour, from dusk to midnight each evening.
Strip visitors may have already seen parts of the show because the Mirage has been testing it in spurts throughout the week.
The Mirage also announced Robbie Knievel, son of the late dare-devil Evel Knievel, plans to jump the volcano on New Year’s Eve. The jump will be the fourth in Las Vegas for Robbie Kenievil and his last live event until he returns to England.