The French-Canadian theatrical company Cirque du Soleil is known for its visually spectacular shows. The company's latest show — Love — kicks off Friday night in Las Vegas. It's a fantasy set to 90 minutes of Beatles music, remixed by the Fab Four's original producer, Sir George Martin.
Martin has no patience for purists who might balk at mining everything (including studio banter) from the Abbey Road vaults to make a soundtrack for the Vegas show, Cirque's fifth on the Strip. He says the Beatles catalogue is not a set of sacred texts.
The result of Martin's modern remake of Beatles recordings is a panorama of sound, mash-ups and alternate vocal takes. There are 25 full songs in Love, with more than 100 other fragments, during the performance in a specially built theater at the Mirage hotel.
Since Martin's ears aren't what they used to be, he's entrusted his son Giles to help bring the Beatles into a new era. Giles and his father had free reign to use everything and anything ever committed to tape.
That freedom came from the fact that the show grew out of George Harrison's friendship with the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte. The always protective, and sometimes litigious, Beatles' company Apple Corp. was fully behind the project.
Indeed, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Martin and Harrison's widow Olivia are expected to attend Friday night's premiere, along with Lennon's sons Julian and Sean, his first wife Cynthia and Harrison's children Blair and Dhani.
But it's not quite over when the curtain rises on the stage at the Mirage. There's still a CD version of the show to be finished before the end of the year, with Martin and son sharing credit equally.