Cirque du Soleil Presents The Beatles: LOVE at The Mirage, Las Vegas, NV, May 11, 2022

Per Wikipedia - in a theater built just for this event - Cirque du Soleil (CDS) presents LOVE, a spectacle that "combines the re-produced and re-imagined music of The Beatles with an interpretive, circus-based artistic and athletic stage performance." The online encyclopedia couldn't have described it better.

In 2000, CDS co-founder, Guy Lalibert√© and his friend - the late, ex-Beatle, George Harrison - initiated discussions that resulted in this long-running, ninety minute adaptation of The Beatles' music. Unfortunately, Harrison passed away in 2001, but talks continued with Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and the estates of both John Lennon and Harrison. In the end, they brought the production to the stage in 2006 at The Mirage casino-hotel in Las Vegas where - to this day - it's been the only place in the world you can see the wild extravaganza.

The carnival atmosphere includes outlandish costumes, a lot of dancing and truly dangerous feats. If a  performer falls it could easily be the end for them because there are no safety nets or chains connecting them to the ropes and pieces of apparatus they're climbing high above the stage.

There are large video screens featuring The Beatles performing along with psychedelic cartoon images of them while the floor show is taking place. I sometimes found the videos distracting. Too often - especially early in the performance - I watched what the Fab Four were doing on the screen instead of focusing on the live action on stage. There was just too much going on. Although a bit overwhelming, the choreography is outstanding, and the amount of hard work put into each scene is truly amazing and often difficult to perform.

The soundtrack was produced by George Martin and his son Giles and largely includes songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through the end of the group's career. Most of the songs used in the show are quite famous, original works by The Beatles. Some were played in their entirety and others were re-edited into mashups.

For example, the Martins took the opening chord from "A Hard Day's Night" and paired it with Starr's drum solo from "The End" to hide the edit in the original track his solo was lifted from. They also took the bass and drums from "Tomorrow Never Knows" and played them behind "Within You Without You" to create an updated version that is the best example of the producers finding different tracks that fit together well.

The only new music recorded for the program was the score for a string section George Martin composed for an early, acoustic version of Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

Visually, the highlight was "Help" where performers executed perfect half-pipes on rollerblades instead of snowboards.

Overall, LOVE is not only artistic, it's a lot of fun, especially if flamboyant pageantry is something you crave. But - more than anything else - hearing the band's music on a superlative sound system such as the one employed by the CDS team made me realize how much I miss The Beatles.

If you're ever in Sin City, go see LOVE. It's really something to behold and it will keep you from losing a bunch of Franklins at the casino. Tickets will still cost you a couple of bills, but at least this way you'll actually get something in return for your money.

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