Is it really summer without a trip to Stone Mountain Park for the laser show? I had heard about a new projection system and $4 million of renovations so I was excited to check it out with my family on the Sunday night before Memorial Day. I was also a little anxious. Don’t mess with my summer rituals!
When the show started I was disappointed. Five commercials from sponsors, then the new projection system took front a center. A little character flew out of the mountain in 3-D and introduced what is now billed as the Laser Show Spectacular in Mountainvision. Mountainvision looked like a standard projection system on steroids to me. Where were the actual lasers? “Ughhh!’, I thought, “This has just turned into a giant movie screen. Next thing we know they will be charging $15 a head to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 12 on the lawn.” But as the show progressed I was thrilled and surprised. Atlanta has lost a little and gained something better. I’m a believer. The new laser show rocks!
The creators of Mountainvision did a wonderful job of actually adding to the existing show instead of taking away from something that has nearly become sacred.
I missed a couple of the old favorites.
- Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire with the huge fireball that bakes your face for a brief moment… gone.
- The ethereal line designs dancing to the tune of Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F as first heard in Beverly Hills Cop back in the 80’s… gone.
I will especially miss Axel F and have started a Facebook petition to get it back (jk), but that’s about it. Everything else remains and it’s even better than before. The new 3-D projection system and old lasers are melded together to create a show that is more stunning than ever before. Atlanta, you can still be proud to bring out- of-town guests to picnic on the lawn and see the largest laser show in the world.
The new elements are tremendous.
- Axel F has been replaced with the intro to Boston’s Foreplay/Longtime and the experience is more compelling than ever. Who can resist 3D projection mixed with colored laser overtones set to one of the most timeless keyboard riffs ever? My only criticism - it should have been longer. Let that guitar solo take off.
- Elvis still sings Dixie Land and it has been updated with photo images of the Civil War. The horses grow legs in 3-D animation instead of a two dimensional laser outline. The sword still breaks, the states still come back together, my Yankee friends still ask if that’s Abraham Lincoln on the side of the mountain… I laugh, and a little tear still finds its way onto my cheek. Glory, glory, hallelujah!
- The Devil Went Down to Georgia is as fun as ever and the fire looks even more real with the new projection system. Sure am glad Johnny could play that fiddle.
- The best new feature is the new 3D effects. Wow. They are spectacular. Water gushes from the largest granite outcropping in the world. I’m pretty sure I left wet. The side of the mountain is cut into chunks and pieces dance in and out, almost falling into the lake below, but always making their way safely back in place before dancing again. Lava, birds, mushrooms and crystals come to life from the granite that looked so much like just a huge piece of rock an hour before.
I do have one idea that would make the show even more fun. The creators simply have to do a sketch that moves along with the alien dialogue in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and put the full power of Mountainvision behind it. The park would never be the same. Can’t you see it? Bing. Bonk. Bing, twerp. Bonnnkkk, boooonkkkk. OK, maybe we should leave that one alone. I’m getting old.