Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos, better known as Criss Angel, is a magician, illusionist and musician who dives deep into the world of magic. Being influenced by great magicians, such as Harry Houdini, Angel dove into the world of magic at a young age and continued to perfect his own techniques. Along with his iconic television series, “Criss Angel Mindfreak” and “Criss Angel Believe,” he also performs live, though mostly at the Luxor casino in Las Vegas. In 2009, he was named Magician of the Decade, and in 2010 Magician of the Century by the International Magicians Society.
This year, Angel kicked off “Criss Angel Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged” tour. Though he usually performs in Vegas, Angel’s tour travels to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. His first stop in Bethlehem, PA was filled with hand street magic, mentalism, and some of his more iconic illusions.
To begin the show, Angel swallowed a chain, but with a slight twist. As he was swallowing the chain, he began to pull it out from under his eye. Once the chain was completely pulled through, he moved on to swallowing small razor blades, consuming five total. Then, using the same chain, Angel swallowed it, too. After taking a quick drink, he reached into his mouth, pulling the chain from his throat. As the chain was shown, each blade wound its way through the chain, like a necklace.
Moving on, Angel performed a mentalism trick, or a prediction. Choosing an audience member at random, Angel pulled him onto the stage and proceeded to choose three more random members, one man and two women. Each member had to answer a question: what his name was, what her favorite color was, and, lastly, what her lucky number was. With questions answered, Angel revealed a sealed envelope and told the man on stage to open it. The man pulled out a sheet of paper with three words on it; each word matching what the random audience members remarked.
Angel’s big trick for the night was a first time, new escape that he planned. But, before he could, he gave a background on what brought him this inspiration. Being inspired by Houdini, Angel became fascinated with Houdini’s “Metamorphosis”. In this escapism, Houdini’s hands were fastened behind his back, placed in a large bag that was knotted close and then locked and strapped inside a box. As Houdini was trapped, his wife surrounded the box and herself with a curtain and clapped three times. After the third clap, Houdini would appear where his wife stood moments before and his wife trapped in the box.
However, Angel took this a step further. One of his signature escapism moves, Angel restrains himself in a straightjacket and attempts to free himself, which he has successfully accomplished many times. In Angel’s “Believe” series, Angel proved that he is the best, but at a cost. While in New York, he was suspended upside-down by a crane, a noose with 50 pounds on the end around his neck and restrained by two straightjackets. Though Angel successfully freed himself, he pulled ligaments and his bones in his shoulder out of place, putting his magician days on hold.
Despite being advised not to do anymore straightjacket attempts, Angel was determined to do one but this time, add some flare to it. Combining Houdini’s “Metamorphosis” and straightjackets, crew members restrained Angel into a straightjacket. Angel then proceeded to jump into a box, where he was bagged and tied into it. Once inside, one of Angel’s members locked the box and bound it with rope. Jumping onto the box, she raised a curtain and shook it, raising it above her head. In an instant, the curtain fell to the stage floor and there, on top of the box, stood Angel with his fist in the air. And, in the box, sat the woman who was previously holding the curtain.
Angel also performed other mind tricks, such as another mentalism where he made a prediction in March towards a random member in the audience, and street magic, where he turned one dollar bills into one hundred dollar bills. Angel also had Banachek, one of Angel’s consultants and a member of his hit television shows, perform a mentalism trick.
To end the show, Angel played a song that his wife recorded in honor of those lost in the California fires, the hurricanes, the Florida shootings and the Vegas shootings.