There are very few events I’ve experienced whereby my first thought upon leaving was getting in line to buy a ticket again. LOVE by Cirque du Soleil probably ranks #1 on that short list. But I’d have had to recover first. What a visually stunning, musically impressive, sonically amazing, and emotionally draining (for me, at least) production that was. I’ll never forget it.
First — the visual component. Everything was blue. Nice choice, and no doubt deliberate. After all, blue is known for covering the basic spectrum of the human condition. According to color psychologists, blue can represent serenity, happiness, peace, and calm, but also loneliness, melancholy, sadness, and inner pain.
The costumes were straight out of an LSD trip. Unbelievably unique and fun. From tricycles pedaled by nothing but a pair of yellow rain boots, to suspended, floating transparent jellyfish that made it difficult to tell there was a human inside, to outrageous circus getups — it was not to be believed.
The acrobatics were like nothing I’ve ever seen. They had it all: tumbling, flying on trapezes and bungee cords, jumping up from beneath the hydraulic stage, ballet, and even rollerbladers who totally smashed it on “Help!” I read recently that the average Cirque performer’s salary is $27,000. That’s a crime. What these folks do to their bodies six shows a week is incredible.
Volkswagen got lots of free press; the show featured two full-size Beetles and an old Van. And the lighting effects were second to none. You can see a bit of everything in their updated commercial:
The reenactment of John’s mother Julia getting hit by a car was devastating. Julia was dressed in all red. So much emotion…
And the super swirly, dizzy visual during “Within You Without You” was one of my favorite moments:
The sound — I was perhaps most impressed by this element. First, I know there were speakers behind the headrests of the seats. From the most hushed whisper to chest-vibrating low end, you were immersed in the music, and it in you; an absolute journey in sound.
I enjoyed hearing studio banter that this old Beatles war horse had never heard before. Fascinating! I’m sure some of it was from the newly-discovered Abbey Road tapes. I plan to see the film next year, as painful as it will be.
Most of all, the music was utterly transcendent. And not just the selection of songs (which, I understand, underwent an update, and I loved every choice), but their arrangement. So so SO clever.
The overlapping/medley-izing of Beatles tunes isn’t necessarily a monumental task. A sample (incomplete) breakdown is as follows with regard to how many songs the Beatles recorded in each key:
- G major – 36
- C major – 30
- E major – 29
- A major – 25
That’s easy enough. But the genius behind the actual connecting and threading and overdubbing/overlapping of the songs was absolutely brilliant. Using harmonies from one song over the intro to another; exchanging drum patterns, melding guitar solos…it blew this musician’s mind. And someone had the bright idea to blast the songs through the giant sound system 30 minutes before the show started – but with all vocals removed. Instant karaoke while you wait.
There’s a dozen more paragraphs I could write, but it’s time to shut down and get packed and ready to meet the shuttle to go to the airport. I had a beautiful time in this crazy place, and I’ll remember it forever as my first trip to Vegas without the Thriller.
Now it’s back to reality — getting ready for school to start, complete with Sound of Music rehearsals starting. Oy…
Thanks for coming along on this “Odyssette.” Hugs…