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‘A state of shock’: The Beatles’ ‘Love’ bows out after 18 years

Updated July 8, 2024 - 11:50 am

They thought it would last forever, like the music of The Beatles.

“‘Love’ was here for 18 years, and I think this show could have lasted for at least as long as ‘Mystere,’ because it is classic,” Cirque du Soleil Executive Vice Chairman Daniel Lamarre said Sunday night. “Everybody is in a state of shock because we thought that this show would last for much longer.”

Lamarre is one of the few execs still with Cirque who were around two decades ago, when the idea of pairing the French-Canadian circus company with the legendary rock band was hatched. The veteran entertainment exec might speak of shock, but “Love” was destined to shut down after Hard Rock took over The Mirage and began to plan for a remodel that would take out the theater.

A destination show among Beatles fans, “Love” opened in June 2006 and throughout its run was the only authorized live Beatles production in the world. The show played to more than 11.5 million guests in its 18-year run.

About 220 members of the cast and crew are losing their jobs as a result of “Love” closing. The company is seeking to place as many as possible in its touring shows.

“We are still in development mode,” Lamarre said prior to Sunday’s performance. “We are staying in touch with them. We still have more shows in motion.”

But a new “Love” is not among them. Officials from Cirque and Apple Corps, The Beatles’ parent company, have stated there will be no reboot of “Love,” either in residency or on tour. There is no future partnership between Cirque and The Beatles being considered.

Apple Corps could conceivably stage another licensed Beatles show somewhere — England, maybe? — but it would not be with Cirque artists.

And despite the packed invite-only audience and energy in the room, “Love” was not doing great numbers in its final months, topping out at about 60 percent capacity until its closing was announced. The show would likely have required an extensive overhaul if it were to reopen with the Hard Rock in three years.

The production’s custom-designed, in-the-round theater design further complicated a new “Love” concept.

Best to let it be, as a wise man once said. And though Cirque du Soleil brass turned up for the show’s closing, the surviving Beatles said goodbye long before Sunday’s finale.

Paul McCartney’s last visit to the theater was a random pop-in on Sept. 30, when he was in town to see U2 play the Sphere. The last time he saw a performance was in April 2017.

McCartney sent a congratulatory video to the cast and crew that played Saturday during a closing Zoom meeting.

Ringo Starr caught the show May 30, during his series at The Venetian Theatre.

Starr, whose favorite phrase is “peace and love,” celebrated his 84th birthday on the very day “Love” bowed out. Starr celebrated with his family and fellow rockers at a party in Beverly Hills.

Music designer Giles Martin was in attendance at Sunday’s last performance. The son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin has been instrumental in the show’s creative presentation since its inception. Co-director Dominic Champagne along with Cirque officials Gilles Ste-Croix, Stephane Lefebvre, Daniel Lamarre and Mike Newquist were on hand.

Lefebvre, brought into the Cirque corporate roster in 2016, is the company’s CEO and ranking member in Las Vegas. He said from the stage prior to the show, “Some people may feel this is a bittersweet moment tonight, but those who worked on creating this masterpiece are celebrating peace, joy, happiness and love.”

The cast delivered a flawless closing-night performance, not a surprise to anyone who has seen Cirque artists rise to the moment. The show’s opening, with “Twist and Shout” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” was explosive. “Help,” performed by extreme skaters on a pair of half-pipes, soared.

The white drape spread over the crowd during “Within You Without You” was a unifying moment so characteristic of the Beatles’ message.

The sing-along to “Hey Jude” and “All You Need is Love” at the end inspired more collective energy. Stage hands and techs hustling to the stage to share in the love. Bittersweet, indeed, sad to see it close, but so fortunate to have this uniquely appealing show play the city for so many years.

Martin said in an interview leading up to show’s finale, “There’s nothing to replace ‘Love,’ because nothing can replace ‘Love.’” The Beatles’ themselves left while still on top, and so did this show.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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