Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | 2:08 p.m.
If you’re going to challenge Hakkasan Las Vegas, the new kid on the block, you’d better be bigger and better. It looks as if rival The Light Group has done just that in tandem with Cirque du Soleil.
Tonight is an advance look at the inaugural Eclipse nighttime concert series at the new Daylight Beach Club — and then the big guns fire Friday for the official Memorial Day Weekend grand-opening celebrations of Light, Daylight and Eclipse. I’m taking a private tour today, and we’ll use Twitter for photos, then a report here on Thursday.
Think of this as three adventures in two venues all under one roof at Mandalay Bay. Plus, to add to the glitz and glamour, it’s the first night of Cirque’s “Michael Jackson One” previews Thursday night. Could the excitement get any bigger?
Hakkasan at MGM Grand has lined up many of the world’s top DJs for its first year of operations, but Light and Daylight are firing back with a set of star-studded artists to spin the wheels of steel.
This battle of the DJs has been predicated since the clubs almost simultaneously announced plans to upend Strip nightlife and open at the same time. However, The Light Group had to delay three weeks due to construction hiccups.
We posted stories Feb. 6 and March 5 that included renderings of the new properties. At that time, The Light Group chief Andrew Sassoon revealed that the 50,000-square-foot flexible outdoor space would be dominated by a 1,500-square-foot stage framed by six LED screens.
He said: “It’s a true Las Vegas interpretation of the most powerful stages in Ibiza. I’ve spent years traveling and researching the international beach club scene, and I’m confident that Daylight Beach Club will offer our guests a truly unique and unparalleled experience. With our out-of-the-box thinking and design, we are creating something unique and will once again revolutionize the daylife and entertainment scene in Las Vegas and beyond.”
A tip: The sprawling Daylight is so big that you are wise to use the parking lot closest to Shark Reef Aquarium past The Four Seasons for fastest entry. Parking for Light is off Hacienda in Mandalay’s West Valet near The Hotel.
Starting Friday, Light, in the former Rum Jungle, becomes a Cirque performer’s dream with Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Hook N Sling and Zedd spinning alongside acrobats and dancers. DJ duo NO_ID also play late night at Light. Over at Daylight, it will be J.Cole, Skrillex and Baauer, with Just Blaze and Alvin Risk at Eclipse, plus, a third performance by Axwell.
Night or day, the party is on, and our complete MDW Party Patrol listing of superstar DJ events will be posted at Vegas DeLuxe on Friday with our regular Weekend Celebrity Preview.
Now the question is how clubs at center Strip (Marquee, Gallery, Chateau and Haze) and on the north end (Tao, Lavo, Tryst and XS) will be affected by these two giants battling it out on the Strip’s south end. And will Hakkasan or Light emerge the victor when the dust settles in this war for supremacy? Is there room for all? Will some shutter? Will others change formats?
We’ll start to make sense of all this ever-changing nightlife skyline as the summer continues. Meantime, here’s a rundown of the highest-grossing nightclubs in America — 10 of the Top 13 are in Las Vegas — but next year the list is guaranteed to be shaken up by Hakkasan and Light’s power struggle for domination.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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