CIRQUE du Soleil - it's not French for "holy crap" or "don't try this at home", but it could be.
It is, of course, the name of the globally famous Quebec-based circus company recognised the world over for super-slick, high-concept entertainment, and funny show names.
And while half the Hunter Valley headed up to Hope Estate last weekend to see a circus of another kind, the Rolling Stones, Cirque du Soleil was rolling out its latest show in Sydney, TOTEM.
Chances are many of us have seen a Cirque show. Since its birth in 1984, close to 150 million spectators have passed through the gates worldwide. And it's estimated that close to 15 million people will attend a gig in 2014. We worried that half those people would be at Moore Park last Saturday, so we got their early.
Cirque du Soleil's mission statement, as they say, is to evoke the imagination, invoke the senses and provoke the emotions.
And for many that can come just booking the tickets. Like going to see the Stones, the price tag takes your breath away, but thankfully so does the show.
For that reason, for many Cirque is a bit of an indulgence. Indeed, the guy I sat next to (who happened to be from Brandy Hill - no matter where you go, you always meet a Novocastrian) was attending his sixth.
It was our second show and a bit of a landmark moment too.
We ventured down about one secondary education ago incapable of comprehending that one day we'd grow up. This year we returned - post-HSC - figuring it may well be the last time we hang out as a family unit, until after Schoolies at least.
The company kicked off in 1984 with 73 people but these days employs 4000 worldwide, including more than 1300 artists and seemingly every Olympic gymnast who's ever retired.
Consequently, there's no shortage of physical "wow" factor.
There's also a cerebral "wow" element, starting with the exotic show names. TOTEM seemed pretty straightforward, but try getting a handle on Dralion, Kooza, Amaluna, or any of the other 18 Cirque du Soleil titles currently playing around the planet.
It's suitably avant garde and mysterious - mixing art, acrobatics, music, sounds, lights, definitely no cameras, and lots of action designed to appeal to all cultures.
If I had to summarise TOTEM in 100 adjectives or less, with a slight spoiler alert, I'd try this.
It kicks off with a bit of a Greg Inglis-inspired "lizard walk" exploration of man's rise from ape to glitter-encrusted Spider Man thingy hanging from a wire beneath what looks like a giant pretzel.
That's a layman's take and I hope it doesn't undersell director Robert Lepage's magnificent vision.
Indigenous overtones continue as a troupe of geckos lift off with amazing bounce work on a trampoline, followed by some incredible American Indian hoopla - and I mean incredible.
Highly balanced individuals on unicycles set the table on their heads with their feet.
Then you're swinging from the ceiling with two beach boys and a babe who surely medalled in the Roman rings somewhere at some competition.
It gets you thinking as you reach for your paunch that dudes shouldn't be so ripped. Gals either. It also reminds me I never could do a chin-up at school.
But you're not here to witness the mundane - you're here to live on the edge with a bunch of Daft Punk dudes flipping your mind on really thin planks.
Heavenly types get coy on a trapeze, reminding all that when it comes to some relationships it's imperative you don't let go.
Sight and sound clown into kaleidoscopic moments of rhythmic magic that meld in time with the overall theme of human evolution. And in the end, somehow, everything balances out.
But of course everything balances out - it's a circus.
Half the thrill of the circus is wondering how they will balance it out. The other half is not realising you could balance out that many things on that many appendages at the same time.
It all looks effortless but that's only the starting point.
The true achievement is taking it to the sublime, as they surely do, all the while accommodating whatever constitutes OH&S in circus world. Physical and artistic safety is relative at this level.
Personally, I'd struggle with the pressure of two shows a day. I struggled validating the parking ticket beforehand, actually.
Thank goodness we got there early.
But I defy anyone to understand what it means when they say you can get a flat rate on event day parking for $25, or validate at any shop with a purchase of $10 or more and get the casual rate.
It was a hot topic amongst punters looking for a quick exit after the show in between the predicted Sydney v Melbourne Victory traffic jam at Allianz Stadium. But that's a circus of a third kind.
It's all doable with a deep breath and a bit of patience, as I'm sure all performers tell themselves before venturing on stage.
And like the throng who hit Hope Estate last weekend, we marvelled at how special people do special things, bringing satisfaction to all, inspiring generation after generation.
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