Monday, January 17, 2011

Cirque De Soleil - Love (Beatles Show)

Concert: Cirque De Soleil - Love
Venue: Mirage, Las Vegas
Date: August 29th, 2010
The timing for this show was pretty good. Fresh off the McCartney concert in Montreal, I was definitely still in full Beatles mode. I’ve been to Las Vegas before and I wanted to see this show, but it didn’t work out. Having seen Celine Dion’s Cirque de Soleil show in Vegas, I was expecting a big production. I worked a little bit doing sound and lighting production in the past therefore I take special note of this stuff at concerts. Because they do the same show, in the same theatre, every night, they can do some amazing things that is more difficult to pull off on a show that tours. The production of this show didn’t disappoint. The very first thing I noticed as I sat down was that every seat has a speaker in the back of it, so right in front of you was a speaker producing mostly effect noises such as wind or rain or animal sounds that corresponded with the show. This is one of the advantages of a show that lives in one theatre.
The show takes place in the middle of the theatre which is an octagon shape if my memory is correct. To anyone who might go to the show, don’t be conned in to buying the most expensive ticket. There really isn’t a bad seat in this theatre. Truthfully, I’m glad we sat a little bit higher up. You can appreciate the “big picture” of the show better, and also probably see the performers flying from the roof easier. The entire floor can become a pit as parts of it descend and rise throughout the show. The cost of the ticket alone is worth it for the production value alone.
I can’t say enough about the Cirque performers. Like anyone who is great at something, they make it look so easy. It doesn’t matter if it is Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball, or Eric Clapton playing the guitar – people who are truly amazing at something make it look easy. I had the same feeling watching this show. I thought to myself, “I could easily jump over a car, or do 3 somersaults on a trampoline.” When I left the theatre I remembered I can barely touch my toes and it brought everything back into perspective. The cast of the show was huge. I’m guessing 40, but it could have been way more than that. They were no singing parts. The cast had very little speaking parts, but they were very engaging, and mind-blowingly (<-- i know that's not a word) talented.
The highlight for me was the remixed Beatles music. I kept thinking about it for days after the show. I’ve been listening to the Beatles all of my life and I heard things in those recording that I never noticed before. The music of the show basically followed the Beatles timeline. It started with songs like “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and was wrapping up with songs like, “Hey Jude” and “All You Need Is Love.” The two things that really struck me about the music was, how complex the Beatles music really was. Take a song like “Penny Lane.” Loaded with key changes, strings, and a trumpet solo, it clearly was not fitting any kind of mould that existed in it’s time. To this day, the innovations of the Beatle's music stand the test of time. It blew my mind to hear it this way. The string arrangements in their music was ground breaking considering the recordings aren’t much older than the original classic rock and roll records of people like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. I can’t think of a band since the Beatles that has recorded such diverse songs, with such an amazing wide array of arrangements. Some songs are guitar based (too many to list), some songs are piano based (Let It Be, Long and Winding Road), they have songs for children (Yellow Submarine, Octopus’ Garden), They have songs that are string based (Eleanor Rigby). This list goes on and on and has been written by people way more knowledgeable than me. For some reason sitting at this show it really hit me like a ton of bricks.

The other thing that struck me, and obviously it struck the writers of the show, was how many characters there are in Beatles songs. Most of the show incorporates these characters, and takes them to a different level. I would suggest that they might have taken some liberties in developing the characters looks and mannerisms, but it only added to the songs and the show. Some characters that come to mind who were featured are: Eleanor Rigby, Father MacKenzie, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and Jude. I’m sure that there were more. It got me thinking as a songwriter. How many people write songs like that today? How many people base their songs around fictional characters? It’s really an awesome songwriting concept. When writing about fiction, there is no limit to the imagination and where the song can go. Often times, when writing a song and trying to tell a story, I get too hung up on trying to stick to the exact story line. It’s great when that happens and a good song comes out of it, but it can be limiting, and very frustrating.
The last thing that truly impressed me was that they perform 2 shows per night. The show is roughly just under an hour and a half. Not to give part of the show away, but there is confetti sprayed over the theatre at the end. They is full bar and concession services as well. Where I am going with this is, that they had a period of roughly 45 minutes to set up for the next show, and have the theatre sparkling as if nothing happened there 45 minutes ago. I would argue that would be an impossible feat. I know that they do it every night. This is just the production guy in me. Most people would never think of that. That’s the weird kind of stuff I notice at concerts. I seriously would have paid money to stay there and watch and see how they get the theatre cleaned in time for the next show in 45 minutes.
We paid $112 US  per ticket. We bought from a discounted ticket sales place located on the strip. This is not a scalper. If you go to Vegas, you can buy discounted tickets for pretty much any show in Vegas, for that day. We saved about $40. It was my understanding that the tickets we had were worth about $160. I know there are cheaper parts in the theatre. Considering that good seats to most touring concerts cost anywhere between $80 - $250, and that there really aren’t any bad seats in the theatre. this show was worth every penny of what they charge.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures because cameras weren't allowed in the theatre.

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