10,000,000 Beatles Fans Can’t Be Wrong – Revisiting the Refreshed LOVE

The astonishing gymnastics and presentation by Cirque du Soleil have changed, but of course the Beatles music remains timeless. The production (exclusively at The Mirage in Las Vegas) still opens with Ringo‘s only recorded drum solo (from the rollicking finale at the end of Abbey Road) and rolls forward for a spellbinding 90 minutes.

LOVE opened in 2006 and a decade later most of the routines are now different. The results of the 2016 refresh skew darker, especially in the first half. The opening sequence of the WW2 bombing of London is louder and edgier than before, and certainly closer to the real thing. “Blackbird,” always a tribute to people of color, is now prefaced with glimpses of hooded Klansmen on the screens. “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” which consistently managed to freak out my daughters, now eschews the looping trapeze artist for several gymnasts. The neckless character with the tumbling head still astonishes. A Lucy is still in the sky, portrayed now by an aerial gymnast who receives support emotionally and physically from her grounded partner and his nimble culbuto ladder. Through it all Dr. Robert dispenses tea (as did the real character with more potent potions back in the day).

The floor is now more versatile, with only 15% of it fixed. The floor now also acts as a projection surface, adding another visual dimension.

The soundscape (delivered via the unique array of 64,000 speakers across the venue and at each seat) has been remixed slightly. It is the only production in Las Vegas delivered in the round. The biggest change to the audio component is the addition of “Twist and Shout,” a song crucial to The Beatles’ early years, but the only song in this production not written by the band.

I’m unsure that George was picturing an ectomorph contortionist for “Here Comes the Sun,” which sonically remains the highlight of the evening. The burnishing of this respectfully rearranged song only improves with age. As in the original remix, George and Giles Martin append a lovely coda to highlight George’s spirituality.

Certainly, George‘s contributions to the band’s canon are more proportionally presented in LOVE. After all, it was he who started the discussion with the founder of Cirque du Soleil when they met at a Formula One race. From that chat the show blossomed into production, but George was unable to enjoy it before his death.

Ten million visits later, LOVE remains thrilling.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.