The final days of Love: Reflections on the show that changed Cirque du Soleil

This week marks the end of a 18 year legacy, as the groundbreaking Cirque du Soleil production Love, celebrating the catalogue of The Beatles, closes this Saturday at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

Debuting on 2nd June 2006, the show was Cirque’s first using existing IP, setting up a dream opportunity for publishers to engage with the internationally renowned, Montreal based circus company. Since then, they have developed touring productions like Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, Toruk – The First Flight (taken from the Avatar universe), and Songblazers, a country music jukebox show which debuted yesterday in Nashville (more details on Songblazers can be found HERE).

They’ve also had two other Las Vegas residencies, one around the music and legacy of Elvis Presley (Viva Elvis) and the other on Michael Jackson (ONE), which is still enjoying shows at the Mandalay Bay. There’s also the jukebox show Mad Apple, the newest Cirque show in Vegas, featuring iconic New York music – from Alicia Keys to Lady Gaga, who is also wrapping up her own Vegas residency Jazz & Piano this Saturday.

ONE – which debuted in Vegas after a two year world tour of The Immortal World Tour, is a theatre style production, while Love sits in the round, helping truly envelop you in the music of The Beatles – something that is without question one of the reasons it’s been so successful and long lasting. The moment I often refer to is “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, with “Lucy” flying above, in a sky of “Diamonds”. It’s something of a core memory for me at this point, and is the sort of magic that has brought me back for no less than four viewings since it opened.

Love was an immediate hit, and in its almost 20 year run has seen a number of changes – with the main updates happening in 2017 when Giles Martin (son of the late, great George Martin) prepared an updated mix for new speakers in the Mirage venue, slightly changing the setlist in the process (I still don’t quite know how I feel with “I am the Walrus” being taken out, but I digress…). New projection mapping technology was also used to amplify the performance.

2017 was in fact the last time I caught the show, and you can take a read my full review of the launch of this era of the production HERE.

So has much changed for them, and are they doing anything special for its final week?

Catching the show last night, with just eight shows left, not much has changed since 2017, and there wasn’t much to report in respect to acknowledging the show’s imminent end. However a couple of cast members seemed emotional, wiping away tears as they took their final bows. And they weren’t the only ones – I was too. This was, after all, my last chance to see the show, having first seen it 16 years ago, where I proclaimed it amongst the best performances I’d ever seen; an acrobatic spectacle and technical marvel, accompanied by one of the best soundtracks of all time.

I was clearly not the only one who wanted to get in one final viewing of the incredible production, too. In recent weeks, Olivia Harrison (wife of George), Celine Dion and Ringo Starr himself have been among the guests spotted attending Love.  And it’s not as though this is an unpopular show – even after 18 years of performances, the venue was close to capacity last night, and the only reason it’s closing is because The Mirage is being transformed into the new Hard Rock Hotel.

To join me and be one of the last guests to see the show at The Mirage, before it closes Saturday 6th July, get your tickets HERE. The production enjoys nightly performances at 7pm and 9.30pm.

There are 5 other Cirque shows that are also open on the Las Vegas Strip, including the mentioned Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay and Mad Apple at New York New York, which just celebrated its 2nd anniversary and last night enjoyed its 1000th performance. The other productions are the water spectacular O at Bellagio, Mystere at Treasure Island (which opened in 1993 and is the longest running Cirque show on the strip), and KA at MGM Grand. For tickets and details on performance times to all these shows, head HERE.

The author attended on 2nd July as a guest of Cirque du Soleil and stayed at Circa in Downtown Las Vegas. Photos provided by Cirque du Soleil. 

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.