Back on March 7, my husband and I saw Cirque de Soleil’s Beatles-themed show Love at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but the way things snapped shut right after that trip due to covid-19 has made it hard to figure out what to say about the experience. Please bear with this somewhat rambling account.

I’d wanted to see the show for quite a while, and my husband proposed that we finally just go to Las Vegas for a weekend. We could combine seeing Love with catching up with some family friends who live there, and get away from March in Chicago for at least a weekend. He didn’t have to work hard to persuade me. I hadn’t been to Las Vegas since the time I went with my parents when I was 12 (we were on a road trip from Texas to California), and we did have a good time. The weather was beautiful, it was great to see our friends, and they introduced us to the Neon Museum, which I highly recommend. It’s really something to see the Hard Rock guitar lit up at ground level. We also enjoyed the Fremont Street Experience.

Since we stayed at the Mirage, I got to check out the Love shop early in the day, before the casino was too crowded. It was pretty amazing to see that much Beatles-themed merchandise in one place: water bottles, magnets, bags, clothing, puzzles, posters . . . you name it, they had it. They also had an employee wandering around plunking Beatles tunes on a ukulele.

The show itself was, as advertised, an effective blend of the Beatles’ music with the acrobatics that Cirque de Soleil is known for. I was grateful that there was no attempt to create an overarching story, a la the Robert Stigwood / Bee Gees / Peter Frampton version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, back in the 1970s. Instead, the songs were played in chronological order, with costumes reflecting the specifics of each era and acts that mostly fit the feeling of the song. To my mind, the most effective blends were with the higher-energy songs: “Twist and Shout” and “Help” were especially memorable, with so much happening on stage that the whole show felt like an outburst of joy. The slower songs didn’t fare as well; the solo dancer who performed “Yesterday” was clearly talented, but I can’t say the performance added much to the song.

“Here Comes The Sun” was a glorious showpiece and reminded me vividly just how strong the Beatles were, as a band: this is a group that had not only Lennon and McCartney, but also Harrison, as songwriters. (Ringo’s “Octopus’ Garden” was also fun).

The show also underlines the excellence not only of the Beatles’ singing and playing, but George Martin’s production – and Giles Martin’s remixing. I’d heard the soundtrack before, but never in the theater purpose-built for this show, which includes over 12,000 speakers. It’s a wonder to hear the details of the Beatles’ songs so clearly.

In sum, this turned out to be a great show to see right before the doors closed on public performances of this scope, for who knows just how long.