The Beatles LOVE has been playing at The Mirage in Las Vegas since 2006. Written and directed by Dominic Champagne, LOVE features a custom-built theater-in-the-round and customized seats containing three speakers a piece, including a pair in the headrest. George Martin, who produced most of The Beatles’ records, along with his son Giles, served as the musical directors of the show; they also produced a soundtrack album of the show, which was released in November 2006.
The theater contains 32 digital projectors capable of creating 100-foot wide panoramic images on two screens at opposite ends of the theater. Replacing the Mirage’s Siegfried & Roy Theater, the LOVE theater is said to have cost $100 million. In addition to the standard seats, the LOVE theater also contains four balconies, and there’s not a bad seat in the house; no seat in the theater is more than 98 feet from the stage.
Starting in October 2010, backstage tours of LOVE became available. These tours take guests all throughout the theater, including training areas, costume areas, and more. They even take you up to the catwalk, as well as to the audio and lighting booths. These tours are conducted on regular show days, so you never know who or what you might run into as they prepare for the next performance!
The LOVE story loosely follows The Beatles’ career starting off in Liverpool and following them through their rise to fame in the 1960s. Their psychedelic phase was explored, as was their breakup in 1970, followed by a joyful reunion, which is the basis of the show.
Characters like Sgt. Pepper, Lucy in the Sky, Eleanor Rigby, and Lady Madonna, stand out amongst the cast of 65. Each act in the show is named after a particular Beatles song, and the costumes, designed by Philippe Guilottel, combine traditional Victorian garb with loud splashes of color in an obvious nod to the styles of the 60s.
The Beatles LOVE Review
Now that we have all the baseline information about LOVE out of the way, we can get into the review portion of this article. My wife and I were very excited to see this show; we’ve been wanting to attend it since it first debuted over 16 years ago. In all honesty, I wish we would have seen it then because our impressions and review would probably have been different.
I have to say, for starters, that it felt like something was missing and that the show had gotten stale. I don’t mean this as a criticism of the performers because they were all great, but the show felt like it was lacking energy. It truly felt like a show that’s been playing for over 16 years, and for comparison’s sake, that same week that we attended LOVE, we also attended Cirque Du Soleil’s newest Las Vegas show, Mad Apple. Click here to read our Mad Apple review!
The energy and excitement at Mad Apple were almost palpable. You could feel it in the crowd and performers alike, but LOVE felt nothing like this. There was some crowd interaction from the performers before the show, but it was minimal. It was undoubtedly a Cirque Du Soleil show, but while most Cirque shows are primarily focused on acrobatics and the performances of their cast members, LOVE felt first-and-foremost like a musical production, with a sprinkling of acrobatics and circus-style performances.
The Music of LOVE
Regardless of your impressions of the energy and other intangibles related to the show, there is no question that LOVE delivers when it comes to music. Classic Beatles tunes like “Come Together,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamond,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Help,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and many others play throughout the show.
The approach to scoring the music for LOVE was different from all other Cirque Du Soleil shows, which mostly feature live orchestras. Although there is a new version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that was recorded specifically for the show, the rest of the music for LOVE was taken directly from The Beatles’ catalog.
One interesting thing about the usage of these classic Beatles songs is how they are blended together to help carry the show’s storyline along. Rather than play an entire song end-to-end, George Martin ended up sampling 120 different Beatles songs to create 27 new tracks used throughout the show. It was these 27 tracks that were released in 2006 for the LOVE soundtrack.
Based on the excellent acoustics of the LOVE theater, the theater’s incredible high fidelity sound system, and the speakers built into each seat, I think it’s fair to say that audiophiles and big Beatles fans should consider the show a must-see.
Claustrophobia at The Beatles LOVE
I personally do not suffer from claustrophobia, so this topic probably would not have entered my mind had I seen the show alone, but my wife and her Mom are both claustrophobic and therefore weren’t big fans of the huge white sheet that covers the audience for a couple of minutes during the second half of the show.
I thought of it as an interesting type of sensory illusion, but I can see how having something like that coming down on you from above would be a bit unnerving to certain folks. It doesn’t last long (2 minutes max) and it adds something unique to the show that almost every other show isn’t going to have, so based on that, I like it.
Acrobatics at LOVE
Cirque Du Soleil shows are synonymous with acrobatics, but as mentioned earlier, LOVE is a bit light on acrobatic entertainment compared to most other shows. There were trapeze artists, rope contortionists, skaters, and trampoline jumpers, but it never felt like these were meant to be the show’s focal point. It always felt to me like it was all about the music, then everything else in the show was filled in accordingly.
I suppose that makes sense considering the show is all about The Beatles, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the show we saw just felt a bit stale, old, and lacked energy. Certainly, you’re getting the same music with each performance, but LOVE felt a little dry after comparing it to Mad Apple.
The Beatles LOVE Summary
While the show may have felt a bit stale to us, they must be doing something right because it was confirmed earlier this year that LOVE has been extended through 2023. I have to assume this means it will continue playing in the LOVE Theater at The Mirage, but this is no guarantee considering that The Mirage has already been sold to the Hard Rock group and will eventually become Hard Rock Las Vegas.
It would make sense for the Hard Rock to keep LOVE since both are so heavily intertwined with rock music, but we’ll have to wait and see. I hope my critiques of LOVE don’t dissuade anyone from seeing the show. If you’re a die-hard Beatles fan, the show is a must-see, but even if you’re a casual Beatles fan like myself, it’s still worth checking out.
The Beatles wrote a lot of amazing and influential music, so it’s fun getting to experience it in this type of theater setting. You can’t help but get immersed in the music, and seeing those old clips of The Beatles performing in their early years was nostalgic. Perhaps our impressions of the show would have been different had we not been to Mad Apple just a few days prior. Maybe they were having an off night. There’s no way to be sure, but I’m still glad to have seen it.
Have you seen The Beatles LOVE? If so, please feel free to leave comments about your experience! I honestly hope that our experience was the exception rather than the rule, but only time will tell…