Sun International’s GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, apart from being the only casino in Cape Town, is one of the largest entertainment destination of its kind in South Africa. It offers a wonderland of around-the-clock entertainment, making it comparable to something that you may find find all the way over in Las Vegas!
Officially opened in December 2000, GrandWest is technically located in the suburb of Goodwood (on the old Goodwood Showgrounds), thus making it central to both the Southern and Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. It is a massive complex, featuring two hotels, a kids entertainment world (with arcade), a concert venue (The Grand Arena), loads of restaurants (12 in total, not counting the additional fast food court!), an Olympic-size ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a movie cinema, lots of conference facilities, exhibition space (SunExhibits), and of course – its massive casino!
A pretty cool design element of the GrandWest complex is its attempt at recreating historic Cape Town facades – in fact it recreates more than a kilometre of the old Mother City, which means a lot of grand, Victorian and Cape Dutch styled architecture, complete with a recreation of the 1652 Fort of Good Hope and a moored, fully restored tall-ship, the Victoria II!.
Given all the entertainment options, GrandWest is quite a popular attraction in Cape Town, which in turn means a LOT of daily visitors. (So if you’re not so fond of crowds, you could always just play online casino games instead!)
However, if people are your thing, then the casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers both smoking and non-smoking gaming facilities. The floor hosts 2,563 smart card slot machines, and more than 79 premium table games that cater for pretty much every casino game imaginable. There is also an exclusive gaming area (Salon Prive) for Platinum MVG members, and a Gambling Information Centre – a great resource for first time gamblers who would like to learn the ropes!
Related Link: GrandWest
Wow, expensive tickets. Sure, not quite as expensive as those bought by the poor people who wanted to catch that orchestral poser, Andre Rieu in action, but more than expensive enough by the standards of Craig’s usually tightly drawn purse strings.
But despite the expensive tickets, despite the relatively poor seats (we booked late again), and despite the fact that it is on a middle of the new week Tuesday night and not on the glorious evening that would have been a Friday night, it is still going to be absolutely spellbinding and awesome…
…after all, Bryan Adams is here, and come Tuesday July 13th, Chantelle and I are going to be seeing him live and in glorious action! :)
This is a man whose music I have followed since my early days, his being the second ever CD I purchased in my life (the first was Wet Wet Wet in case you were wondering), and one of the very, VERY few musicians which I actually WOULD like to see performing in the flesh.
His classic Summer of ’69 still invokes that raw sense of energy which feeds one’s dancing feet every time you hear it, I still smile at how I wooed Chantelle off her feet by embracing her tightly and singing When a Man Loves a Woman in her ear as we slowly shuffled from side to side on Sun Bell Lodge’s tiled floor, and now I even get tears in my eyes at the sound of Let’s Make a Night to Remember, casting back my mind to that holding of Chantelle tightly against me as we slow danced and whispered sweet promises to one another as the night of our wedding slowly ebbed away.
This is the man whose music I still sing loud and proud to every time his genius crosses the radio airwaves and forget about the golden sounds of silence should one of his CDs find its way into my car!
Simply put: It. Is. Going. To. Be. Legendary <- with a capital L of course! :)
So come on already July 13th. Grandwest Casino, you had better be ready and not let me down – Chantelle and I are ready to be entertained to the fullest!
Crap nuts. Thanks to Chantelle’s sharp eye, I’ve just been informed that the one show I was really, really looking forward to seeing has gone and cancelled the Cape Town leg of its run.
In case you’re not quite up to speed, I reported a little while back that the fabulous Shaolin Monks: Wheel of Life extravaganza was coming back to South Africa and just how eager I was to see it here at GrandWest Casino.
However, it now appears that the Cape Town leg has been cancelled (which you can verify by trying to book via Computicket), leaving a very disappointed Craig in its wake.
Oh well, I guess the rest of the country will just have to enjoy these fabulous martial arts exploits on the behalf of the rest of us! :(
Taken directly from Computicket’s official press release, this is what you remaining lucky buggers can expect:
In March 2010, local audiences will share the astonishment experienced by audiences across the globe as the twenty-member cast perform incredible “superhuman” feats. The astounding skills and agility displayed in the unique Kung Fu style performed only by the Shaolin Monks includes being lifted up on razor-sharp spears, breaking iron bars on their heads and smashing concrete blocks whilst lying between beds of nails and swords. Watch and be amazed.
The Shaolin Monks are the ultimate masters of Kung Fu: Buddhist soldier monks who have refined defensive martial arts over a period of fifteen centuries to a rare and spectacular point of perfection. Wheel of life showcases the near-miraculous feats of physical endurance, which are the outward expressions of an inner peace, harmony and iron will. Imaginative music, combined with high-technology lighting and a stage set that evokes the mysterious world of the East has produced a visual event that is colourful, exciting and dramatic. This combination of explosive power, imaginative theatrics and traditional story telling will produce an event for which there is no parallel.
It is the only show to feature ordained Soldier Monks of the Shaolin Temple and, as such, is the only show authorised by The Venerable Shi De Ying, Fangzhang (first Abbot) of the Temple and supported by the Henan Provincial Government. No other show has had this honour, blessing and approval bestowed upon it.
Brought to South Africa by BIG Concerts International, Shaolin Wheel of Life tells the exciting story of the Shaolin Monks’ early struggle to establish and protect their Temple. The performance is an illustration and celebration of their history, their religion and their tremendous skill. This is a show that combines the rich vocabulary of the Chinese theatre, the traditional iconography of oriental Buddhism and the technical sophistication of the contemporary rock arena. It’s a not to be missed spellbinding Kung Fu spectacular. “We are very excited to bring the Shaolin Monks back to South Africa, particularly after the tremendous success they enjoyed when they last visited. These Monks are highly trained and exceptionally skilled in the art of Kung Fu. Each riveting performance is adrenaline-filled and heart stopping”, says Attie van Wyk, CEO, BIG Concerts International.
Wheel of Life is directed by Micha Bergese (Interview with a Vampire, Millennium Dome Show, Eden, The Kingdom Tower Grand Opening Ceremony), designed by Mark Fisher (Cirque du Soleil, Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics 2008) with choreography by Darshan Singh Bhuller (Rambert Dance Company, London Contemporary Dance Theatre) and music by John Harle.
Sigh, I guess I’ll just have to wait until the next time these guys make their humble return to our sunny Capetonian shores then…
It’s coming, it’s coming. My mother of all people spotted this tidbit of news in the paper the other day and brought the cut-out through to me when they joined us for a bobotie evening a little while ago, and I’m quite glad that she went to all that trouble. Now if you know me then you’ll know that I love my kung fu in particular and to hear that the esteemed Shaolin Monks: Wheel of Life theatre spectacular is coming to our shores – well lets just say that makes me one excited boy.
I remember watching the show on television a couple of years ago and I was absolutely blown away how the show had managed to weave a beautiful story in with an absolutely awesome display of kung fu skill, discipline and acrobatics. The performers are all highly skilled kung fu practitioners and this production is a way for them to showcase their awesome talent as well as push the art to people who may never experience the beauty of kung fu in real life.
The show is running from the 24th to the 28th of March this year at GrandWest Casino’s Grand Arena and ticket prices range from R99 up to R300.
Needless to say, I’ll be there! (and Chantelle too, even if I have to drag her by the nostrils! :P)
Related Link: http://www.mediaupdate.co.za/?IDStory=20886
Man, what a concert. Now neither Chantelle nor I are big Counting Crows fans, but about a month ago Chantelle got wind that they would be playing and decided it might be a great way to spend an evening. As it turned out, yesterday was also Chantelle’s last day of her three week long holiday, making it the perfect way to end off with a bang.
Presented by Big Concert Productions and KFM, you knew at least that the production should run pretty smoothly as opposed to the disastrous Celine Dion concerts that happened a little while ago in Stellenbosch. That said, somehow something did go a little wrong, because the tickets for last night’s show all reflected the concert starting at 20:00 while the radio was touting it as beginning at 19:30!
Just as well we made a conscious effort to arrive well, well before the time, because believe it or not, the bloody thing did start at 19:30 already, catching a lot of people unawares and leaving those of us already in the arena wondering if this truly WAS a sold out concert, as the place was as empty as Loftus during a bad Bulls season! However, I can assure you by that the end of the 2 hour (or so) long show, the arena was as jam-packed as what it ever will be!
The venue for the concert was Grand West Casino’s newly completed Grand Arena which has just come fresh off hosting the phenomenally successful Chris Rock tour (which in hindsight I am a little spiteful that I missed out on because according to everyone that actually saw it, it was flipping fantastic!). This was the first time that Chantelle and I would be visiting the arena, and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at the space that they’ve come up with. It makes for a solid entertainment venue, offering ample space for both sitting and standing and the acoustics of the hall isn’t too horrible either. Couple everything up with a fantastic lights, big screen and equipment setup, and you’ve got a world class indoor venue on your hands.
Opening act for the show was the popular local band, Flat Stanley, a group which although I wasn’t that familiar with their music, did at least have a name that I actually recognised off the radio. Admittedly, they weren’t all that bad and the lead singer, Andy Mac has a good voice, but this mahusive (combination of massive and humongous in case you’re lost) fellow can’t perform more than a couple of songs before seemingly in desperate need of a rest break, meaning that he did a lot of incessant and unnecessary talking in between, messing up whatever little flow they were trying to build. Honestly, the crowd didn’t really warm up to Flat Stanley all that much, but that might also partly have been because at that stage the arena was still busy filling up – obviously because of the starting time mix-up that I mentioned earlier in this post.
(I must just mention that they did start off with a very cool gimmick though. An indoor drumline started things off, leading us into an energetic Flat Stanley break in when they suddenly appeared on stage. Very cool stuff.)
In any event, the crowd wasn’t there to see any old local band, and when Adam Duritz and the rest of the Counting Crows band members broke onto stage, the arena went wild. The Counting Crows has been around since the early 90’s and although some of the members are starting to look their age (Adam, a very receding hairline just doesn’t work with dreadlocks), it certainly hasn’t affected their music. They put in what can only be described as an electrifying, adrenaline pumping performance, throwing 110% effort behind everything that they put out on stage.
Adam Duritz himself was spectacular, literally losing himself in his music as he poured his heart and soul out into each and every song he belted out. The band literally pushed out hit after hit, and despite the fact that I am not all that familiar with their music, I was amazed at just how much of their music I do in fact recognise! All the hits were of course there, and when they finally got to the one everyone had anxiously been waiting for, Mr. Jones, the arena simply went wild.
It is not often that you see a band put so much energy, effort and heart into a performance, and I can now understand just why the Counting Crows are so well known for their live performances. Funnily enough, we had come to the concert with a mixed view of what to expect, after Ryan let me know of a rather disparaging article that had appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper following the Johannesburg leg of the tour. Basically, the rather ignorant writer had accused Adam from totally screwing up the performance by being either high or completely drunk on stage at the time. As it was, I can see how this uninformed writer could have got this that horribly wrong, because at a glance, Adam with his unique, slightly slurred voice and onstage antics could be mistaken for being not quite with us, but on closer inspection I can’t believe how on earth she missed out that this is a man that literally pours his entire being into each and every song that he performs, quite literally just losing himself in the music.
As it is, Adam himself addressed this issue halfway through the concert, and I am glad that he went to the trouble of doing so, because it is important for people to know that just because something appears in print, it is seldom exactly the case in real life. In any event, I’m going to be surprised if anyone has something negative to say about last night’s concert anyway – it was just that awesome!