So as you know, the Beatles are pretty much my favorite band in the history of music. I have also never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before. What better introduction to the contemporary circus than through the music of the legendary lads of Liverpool? Seanie and I have been wanting to see this show for years, ever since we first learned it was coming to Las Vegas.
Now, I was under the impression that Cirque du Soleil performs to live music. I was expecting singers and a rock band and all that good stuff. Instead, Cirque du Soleil worked with George and Giles Martin – George Martin produced nearly all of the original Beatles albums, and Giles is his son – to remix previously unknown or alternate versions of Beatles songs with classic tracks to create an exclusive sound for the show. Pretty cool, right? I thought it was amazing! All my favorite songs were there, from “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine” to “Lady Madonna” and “Blackbird”.
There is no linear plot to the show. It's very loosely based on the time periods of the Beatles' lives, so it starts in WWII's London. After a symbolic Blitz and a quick dash through the 1950s, the stage explodes into a psychedelic mess of trapeze artists, clowns, acrobats, and other performers. There are a million things happening at once, making it impossible to see everything.
I suppose there are characters, of a sort. During the song “Eleanor Rigby”, for example, a tottering old woman and a mad-looking priest appear during the appropriate lyrics. The Queen of England, a grotesque parody of Elizabeth I and II rolled together into a single being, appears sporadically to remind her citizens of duty to the motherland. A “nowhere man” seeks love throughout the entire show, offering flowers to women only to be ignored or turned down when a better offer comes along. I guess he's the closest thing to a hero or main character, but I think I'm trying too hard to force a narrative onto this show.
It's very frenetic and all over the place, but there are some great moments. I think my favorite scene was a mad roller derby thing where guys in striped suits were shooting up and down ramps, doing flips in the air like they were competing in an extreme sport to the tune of “Help!” while overhead there's a devil on a swinging platform. Really cool. The acrobats hanging from a single rope are always quite lovely; in Love “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” hangs overhead while a man in a fat suit – I assume it's a fat suit, it looked like he was wearing tires! - tries to reach her by bouncing on and around a ladder with wheels on one end.
Obviously, I couldn't take pictures during the show, but here are a couple of random images from around the 'Net: