Here Comes the Soleil or Fab Four: Men in Tights!
I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas not for the loosest slots in town (more on the food later) but to see the Cirque Du Soleil show Love, at the Love Theatre in the Mirage hotel, a multi-media event which features the remixed sounds of my Beloved Beatles set to the Cirque’s acrobatic choreography. Brief preamble: I have never considered myself a fan of the Cirque’s mime infused style, didn’t really feel compelled to see their shows in the past and only really came out to this one because I had already been convinced about the George and Giles Martin remix, remodelling (and remastering) and because I had heard about the “speakers in your seat” which promised the best audio experience ever in the theatre. So I was skeptical, at best, about the visual component of this Love show. Well, pardon my French, but this show is F**kin’ Great! As I said, I am lifelong Beatlemaniac (my friend Blair used to use the term “recovering Beatlemaniac” but I think last time I checked we’d both fallen back off the wagon) and I’m also a fan of deconstruction (I dig audio mash-ups, Photoshop collages analytical documentaries and long walks on the beach — sorry ladies, I’m married) So this Love show was right up my doubleback alley! (gratuitous Rutles reference there). The gymnastic, acrobatic and be-bungee corded dancers twirl and fly on hydraulically moving stages, trampolines and even inline rollerblades (the rollerbladers wear helmets obscured by black shag Beatle wigs — sounds bad but it’s awesome do to see them perform rad half-pipe maneuvers to the sounds of “Help!” , like the X Games version of the Fabs. The promised audio experience exceeded even my oft-unmet standards and I was truly drawn “inside” the music, which for a bootleg toting fan like me, was a huge treat of re-edited gems and humanizing outtakes, laughter and at times flubs. And how’s this for deconstruction? At one point the white VW “Beetle” from the cover of Abbey Road wheels itself out to center stage, whereupon it breaks in five or six panels carried by black clad dancers – get it? A Beetle deconstructed right before our eyes. When the sound of Ringo’s vocal from “Octopus’s Garden” glides over the orchestra section from “Good Night” I felt wistful for the time when I could innocently feel that Ringo was singing to me to get to sleep back in my (blue) suburban bedroom in North York, Ontario (canada). That happy sad feeling (remember Ringo taking off in A Hard Day’s Night? Didn’t you root for the lonely outsider?) And its also in the times we hear George’s voice up front on his songs “Here Comes The Sun”, “Something” and a new version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” using an alternate Harrison take and brand new orchestration by the Martin team) just made me miss him all the more, sadly it’s been almost seven years since cancer finally stopped the quiet one and I still feel the loss like it was yesterday. I’ve never seen anything like Love, whoever wrote and arranged the staging (which included references to both the 1941 bombing of Liverpool AND the 1969 landing of a man on the moon) really felt the sense of social as well as musical history that is wrapped in our “idea” of the Beatles – and yet, there is still room amid the bungees, light tricks and pratfalls, to celebrate the simple truth of four friends (two of them gone) whose brief union brought focus to the lives of millions – and continues to inspire (against all odds) their children and grandchildren. I may not be rushing out to see other Cirque shows, but I’d go back to Vegas anytime for the only safe bet on the strip, Love. And I never thought a cynic and protective Beatlemaniac like me would ever say that with a straight face.