Live: Cirque du Soleil presents "Love" 11/24/06
This summer marked the beginning of Cirque du Soleil’s newest Las Vegas show, “Love,” the brainchild of George Harrison and Guy Laliberté. What better timing than to see it right after Thanksgiving? My first plan was to review just the album itself. After all, it’s half the reason why anyone should go out and see the show. The father-son team of George and Giles Martin were given the entire catalog of the Beatles’ original recordings in order to create a soundtrack for the show. However, Pitchfork just beat me to it, and quite well I may add. George and Giles mix and match various parts of many different Beatles songs, and Mark Richardson points of some of the neatest ones. Perhaps the only big change Richardson missed is adding the drum beat of “Tomorrow Never Knows” to “Within You Without You,” it’s perhaps one of most awesome parts of the soundtrack.
But let’s put this music in context of the show. For about an hour and half, a group of around 70 or so people perform crazy acrobatic feats all set to the music of The Beatles. Part of it kind of tells the story of their career, and part of it is an attempt to embody the spirit and lyrics of the various songs in a music video-ish fashion. All of it takes place in a beautiful, circular stage. Giant video screens are on the opposite walls of the theater, and there are speakers located on the head rest of the chairs add a little bit surround sound-ness to some of the songs. It makes for an intimate, yet grand show since so many people are so close to the stage.
It all begins with one of Ringo Starr’s only drum solos in “The End” while the rest of the band warms up their instruments, with the silhouette of all four Beatles members on four suspended video screens in the middle of the theater (which were taken down at different points in the show). On stage was Liverpool, England with people break dancing to “Get Back,” jumping on various platforms, and lifting off onto little towers using a seesaw. You know, exactly how Liverpool, England was back in the early 1940s. Then war hits and people start busting through walls and other parts of the set. It all looks neat so far, but it’s about to get much, much better.
The first major point of the show is “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” Not only is it an amazing song, but the theme is perfect for Cirque du Soleil. The stage is all set as a circus with all sorts of crazy stuff going on all around the stage. On my side of the stage, a giant man with a sledge hammer was playing what seemed like that strength game (the one where you try to hit the target hard enough to reach the bell up on top). Only every time he hit the target, the women in front of him would spring up in the air with their feet planted, but their “legs” extending. It continues until she gets hit all the way to the ceiling of the theater. Also, up at the top of the circus was a man on a board that was connected to a rotating bar. He then proceeded to push himself from side to side until the board he was going on was going in circle. He would then remain on the board somehow and start performing somersaults and other tricks. It was pretty amazing.
My next favorite part was “Lucy and the Sky of Diamonds.” The song wasn’t fiddled around with all that much, but the setting was fantastic. Everything was pitch black except for long lines of small light bulb set all around the theater for the representation of the stars and sky. The light would then light up in various patterns, just making for a brilliant view. And on the stage was a nice little dance with a man and a woman who were attached to bungee cable up on top of the theater. She then proceeded to dance all around the stage and in the air. Awesome. It was the perfect setting of the song. Also, following that was “ Octopus’s Garden,” which in fact feature many bright jellyfish and many people in the air as octopi.
“Revolution” is also pretty awesome, since it was taking place during the whole sexual revolution and “free love” time of the 60s. Throughout the song, cops are chasing hippies around on a stage with a telephone booth and trampolines set all around it. The hippies then proceed to jump around on the telephone booth and nets there were set around the stage while avoiding the cops. Yeah, it all sounds fairly simple, but it was executed wonderfully.
And so was the whole show. Everything about it was simply amazing. The music may not have as experimental as it could’ve been, but that would be the only complaint (which, really, it’s not). Everything was just solid, and you couldn’t ask for a better pairing of feel-good music and awesome setting/acrobatics. And hey, did you know that John Stamos was watching the same show I was at only a few seats away from me? Pretty cool.
The Beatles - Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite/I Want You (She's So Heavy)/Helter Skelter
The Beatles - Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows
The Beatles - Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing
- John Higgins -