(UPDATED 2/16/2020) Description and review of Cirque du Soleil’s performance of Toruk: The First Flight, at the Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento.
A friend and I recently attended Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk: The First Flight at the Golden 1 Center (aka the Sacramento Kings arena). The new Golden 1 Center is state-of-the-art, and provides Sacramento with another opportunity to secure top-level entertainment.
See related blog post: Golden 1 Center Open House.
This was my first time attending a Cirque du Soleil performance. My companion had attended at least a dozen Cirque du Soleil performances, many of them in Las Vegas. Both of us were looking forward to what we later agreed was an amazing evening.
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Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil was formed in the 1980’s by a group of Canadian street artists. It reportedly is the largest theatrical producer in the world.
Cirque du Soleil is known for the ability of the performers to express themselves non-verbally as they perform amazing feats of skill and agility. Not to mention the fantastic costumes, detailed sets, the music and cutting edge technical visuals. All combine to thrill and inspire awe in the audience.
It was interesting to read a bit of background on Cirque du Soleil which is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. A lot goes into the creative process for each and every production. The performers hail from over fifty countries.
Toruk: The First Flight
Since this was my first Cirque du Soleil performance I opted to pay ($64.00 including fees per seat) for what I hoped would be good seats – and they were! I was, however, surprised to see so many empty seats (at all arena seating levels). I hope that Cirque du Soleil considers their first performance at Golden 1 Center a success – and that they will return.
Toruk: The First Flight was inspired by James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar. I understood that Toruk: The First Flight was not a retelling of Avatar – but I decided to watch the movie again just for fun prior to attending the show. I enjoyed re-watching it and I am glad I did.
While Toruk: The First Flight takes place long before the events in the film, the world of Pandora and its inhabitants, the humanoid species Na’vi (blue skin, tails and all), are the central focus. A narrator, who is telling his own story about his quest as a young man to save the Tree of Souls, helps the audience understand and follow the story line.
When it comes to describing cutting edge technical visuals in Toruk: The First Flight all I can say is that it was amazing how various parts of the arena were successively transformed from a jungle, into a rocky outcropping, to flowing water, etc. from scene to scene.
After such a great experience I look forward to seeing more Cirque du Soleil productions in the future.
Comments on Cirque du Soleil or Toruk: The First Flight?
Are you a fan of Cirque du Soleil? What was the most memorable performance you attended? Did you see Toruk: The First Flight at the Golden 1 Center? How did you like it?
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I also attended the performance at the Golden 1 and learned a very big lesson. This was not my first Cirque Du Soleil show; I have seen 5-6 live shows and we wore out three of the videos of the early shows when my daughter was a young fan. Although there have been shows I liked more than others (favorites being Alegria, Saltimbanco, and Dralion) I have never been actually disappointed before Toruk. As I am sure your companion told you, this was not the usual Cirque show. It was missing the live music, acrobatics, and other feats of human daring which are the trademarks of the usual show. There was too much narration and an attempt at a story which I found uninteresting. (At least Avatar had an environmental story.) The design and tech wizardly were awesome, but not enough to carry the show, and it felt more like a video game than a Cirque performance, with a touch of Lion King puppetry thrown in. After the show, I googled some of the reviews, and discovered my disappointment was fairly common. You mentioned the empty seats, and I have to wonder if others had already read the reviews and stayed away or bought tickets instead to the show this week in San Francisco. Although Sacramento got Toruk, SF got a different Cirque show: Luzia. I looked at those reviews, too, and they were mostly glowing. One major newspaper noted that after the “poorly received Avatar spinoff Toruk, Luzia represents a return to form.” Oops. Note to self: read reviews, see what’s playing in San Francisco, and THEN buy the tickets.
Thanks Melissa – I value your opinion! As this was my first Cirque du Soleil performance I had nothing to compare it to. No, my friend did not express disappointment. Now that I know I should expect more from Cirque du Soleil – I am even more interested in seeing them again. Kathy
Jason Lewis says
Yeah. I agree with Melissa. In fact my review would almost exactly mirror hers. So I won’t go into the points I’d make because, well..she made them. I’ve seen a couple other of their shows, including LOVE, which had me in tears from the joy I received. This was not that.
We took my daughter for her 6th birthday. We probably wouldn’t have taken her specifically for her birthday but that Friday was her birthday and I thought the 3:30 show was a good idea. She enjoyed it but definitely was bored at a couple points. I was aware she wouldn’t “get” the story but I wasn’t aware that much of the show would be preformed using the “Navi” dialect or whatever that was.
The biggest thing I took from the experience is that the Golden One Center is..well..not as special as it is portrayed as. First, its small! I’ve been to dozens of events st Arco, Sleep Train, whatever and for me the G1 Center felt no bigger. It felt smaller actually. Then there’s everything else.
My mom is in a wheelchair. It took us an extra 10+ minutes to get in because the doors they were using for entrances are all blocked by the entrance devices inside. One person had to find another then another to get a key to open a separate door. Really?’ This is the most technologically advanced arena in the country? WOW.
My wife was swamped with birthday logistics that day, planning the dinner that night and the party for the kiddos the following day. So I thought I’d buy her a drink. Now I wasn’t expecting a $5 cocktail but $15 for a 5-6 ounce cocktail full of ice is just wrong. The guy pouring the drinks was a super nice older man but a bartender he is not! He felt my disbelief over buying a $15 sip of a drink and offered me a “double”. What he called a double is what any restaurant/bar calls a drink. “How much” I asked. Yep. You guessed it..$30.
Um. Hell no.
I was so turned off that I needed a drink. So vodka sofa for the lady, margarita for me please.
I’m not sure if the people tasked with selling $30 drinks are trained on making drinks at all. Because my drink was disgusting. Chloingly sweet, no taste of the alchohol and $15 later, no buzz.
So as I’m paying the $30 for two drinks, the cc payment device gives me three options for tipping. 15%, 20%, 25%.
ARE YOU F’N SERIOUS?!
So now I’m FORCED to tip the guy, nice as he is, waaaaaay too much of a tip for what I received. Even worse is that he won’t get the amount I tipped. AND he’ll have to pay taxes on what he does get.
At show intermission I wanted to get my wife another but wasn’t going to subject myself to bending over for another cocktail. So I went into the Raleys beer/wine room to see if they had any cider, the one other thing she enjoys.
They did! Two Rivers even! Our favorite! “I’ll take one can please”. “What do I owe you”..
And again, swipe the card..if I want to tip the guy (I ALWAYS tip. Almost always 20% minimum. That’s how I roll) I’m forced to choose a preset tip.
$18 for a single can of a local cider.
I left knowing one thing. That if I want to take my wife and daughter to a game, concert or Disney on ice event..and we eat there or get a drink, it will cost me a few hundred dollars. Easily.
Nah. No thank you.
I hope Kevins Johnson suffers a whole miriad of horrible things I can’t describe here. This arena is the biggest, ugliest, most expensive and least valuable thing I’ve ever seen Sacramento burdened with.
And don’t get me started on the $8,000,000.00 plastic “statue” out front. If anything it is a perfect example of the arena. Smaller than you think. Uglier than you think. Cost way more than it should. Only serves to benefit wealthy people BUT at the enormous cost to the hundreds of thousands of struggling neighbors of our area.
Shame on Kenins Johnson. Shame on Darrel Steinberg. Shame on the greedy developers, lobbyists and NBA that stole the power to build that mistake. Shame on them for squeezing us all for everything you can imagine. Shame on our law enforcement for “shooing” the homeless from downtown, offering them NO solutions or help and spreading them throughout our neighborhoods which if anyone is paying attention, are experiencing spikes in crime as a direct result of the displacement of sick and homeless people from the area.
Thanks Jason for confirming Melissa’s opinion of Toruk: The First Flight. Kathy
Thank goodness we were offered free tickets to the Saturday 4pm show…if I would have paid for tickets I would have been beyond upset. We have only seen one Cirque Du Soliel show last year at Sleep Train and it was amazing. The acrobats, singing, effects, everything so I was excited to go to Toruk. About 15 minutes in my husband had already nodded off and others around us were on their phones from boredom. No acrobatics, no singing etc. The scenery/imagery was great but other than that, we couldn’t wait for it to end. I thought maybe I didn’t understand since I have never seen Avatar but I think it was just a boring show.
Thanks Angela for your comment!