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in loving memory of John and George...
"Love" Opens in Las Vegas - Rave Reviews are Piling Up - The Beatles will be playing Vegas for a long, long, long time...
REPORT FROM THE RED CARPET
by Steve Dacri
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - The desert is heating up, and the gala opening of "Love" at the Mirage provided enough heat to get the Beatles music into the air for what should be a very long engagement here.
Joined by fellow Beatle fan and pal Billy Collins (yes, THAT Billy Collins), Jan and I attended the world premiere with about 5,000 other invited guests at the show, and at the secret party afterwards, attended by everyone that is connected with the Beatles that is still on this planet. It was a night we will never forget.
When Julian Lennon came over and sat with us during the after party, Billy said to him, "Your dad would be proud of you" Julian, smiled, picked a cards from my deck, then said, "thanks, alot for saying that, I think you are right, mate."
It was that kind of night, as I performed magic and mingled with my pals and heroes.
For the epic task of bringing together the two surviving Beatles, the widows of the two deceased and the band's legendary producer, it turns out all you need is Love.
Paul McCartney walked the red carpet Friday in Las Vegas for the premiere of the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil production 'Love.'
Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, producer George Martin and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison — Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison — appeared on the red carpet Friday at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas for the grand opening performance of Love, the surrealistic portrayal of the Beatles' career performed by Quebec-based theatre troupe Cirque du Soleil.
"It was emotional because two of us aren't there," Starr said to us after the show. "So it really comes home when you're watching this."
The most Las Vegas-like moment of this memorable night in Beatles history came in the opening remarks by Scott Sibella, president of the Mirage. He dedicated the evening's performance to Siegfried and Roy, who headlined in the theater for 13 years, until a tiger mauled Roy Horn in 2003, and were in the audience. Mr. Laliberté added a dedication of his own, to his parents, who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
At the conclusion of the performance Ringo and Paul, joined by Yoko Ono, Olivia. Harrison, George Martin, Giles Martin and the show's director, Dominic Champagne, took a victory lap around the stage. Mr. McCartney called out to the crowd, "Just one special round of applause for John and George."
McCartney, who has often clashed with Ono, did not speak with reporters, but he appeared on stage after the performance and walked over to Yoko and the two of them hugged and kissed each other in a genuine display of LOVE.
Love, which has already drawn rave reviews from critics, features interviews, photo montages and footage from the Beatles' last concert on a central London rooftop playing in huge back projections while acrobats and dancers perform on stage.
And, of course, the show is filled with the Beatles' music, including both old favourites and previously unheard material. Martin oversaw a reworking of master tapes from the band's recording sessions, giving even familiar songs such as Revolution, Yesterday and Blackbird a fresh sound.
"If John saw the show, he'd probably say, 'Yeah, but it could be better,"' Martin said when asked what Lennon, who was shot and killed in December 1980, would think of the production. "John was never satisfied with anything that he ever did in his life. In his mind, he had a dream world which could not be realized."
I enjoyed hanging out with George Martin and his son. He remembered (George) the times we met decades ago at the famous Capitol Records building in Hollywood, California, when we would have lunch with Ray Tuskin, former Capitol Records A&R executive, and I would test out new tricks on him.
Characters from Beatles songs, including the walrus, Lady Madonna and Sgt. Pepper, appear in the show, which presents a sweeping journey through the band's past.
"I tried to get inspired by the lyrics, but also the moments and the motion of their careers," said show creator Dominic Champagne "We tried to be spiritual and physical without trying to be too didactic. I didn't want to do the live version of The Anthology. We're not here to teach the Beatles story to people."
The idea for the show was conceived by Harrison, who was a friend of Cirque founder Guy Laliberté, prior to Harrison's death in 2001. Olivia Harrison then pursued the project, enlisting the input of McCartney, Starr and Ono.
Love is the first major theatrical project for the Beatles' company, Apple Corps Ltd., which has a reputation for being aggressive in protecting the band's legacy.
It also marks the company's most significant endeavour since 2000, when it released 1, a CD collection of Beatles No. 1 singles that has sold more than 24 million copies.
For the premiere on Friday night, it felt like a heavyweight title fight was in town. Fans mobbed the Mirage's lobby hoping for a glimpse of a Beatle on the red carpet.
The 2,000 invited guests including many stars with ties to the band (Ravi Shankar, Eric Idle, Jeff Lynne), various rock luminaries (Brian Wilson, Billy Joel, Deborah Harry, Steven Van Zandt, and most of Ringo's current All Star Bandmates Richard Marx, Edgar Winter, Ron Argent, and Billy Squier) and celebrity Beatles fans (Billy Crystal, Kevin Nealon, Billy Collins, Steve Dacri, Paul Reiser, Lauren Hutton, Carrot Top, and of course, Siegfried & Roy).
"Love" is more dance oriented and less acrobatic than most Cirque du Soleil productions. While the show includes in-line skaters on a stylized half-pipe for "Help!" and a pair of women doing synchronized back flips on trampolines for "Back in the U.S.S.R.," some of the quieter numbers — like a candlelit, yoga-inspired segment for "Here Comes the Sun" — were among the most enthusiastically received.
The performance explodes early at the hotel-casino's $130 million (euro102 million), 2,013-seat theater in the round with "Get Back,'' the band's 1969 hit, as dancers and acrobats jump and twirl in the air.
Set to blended, reversed and enhanced parts of 130 songs and unpublished outtakes, the show transports the audience through World War II, the 1960s era of "Beatlemania,'' the band's reclusive studio years and a psychedelic time that produced songs such as "Strawberry Fields Forever'' and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.''
Cirque du Soleil's multimedia extravaganzas ("Love" is one of five Cirque shows currently playing in Las Vegas) don't usually have to compete for an audience's attention, but on Friday it was easy to be diverted from the stage by the sight of Mr. McCartney nodding attentively to his own vocal on "Hey Jude" or Mr. Starr air-drumming along with his part on "Tomorrow Never Knows." At the Far Eastern-theme party after the performance, the two surviving Beatles huddled on a sofa with Ringo's wife, Barbara Bach, talking quietly. They were joined for a while by Mr. Shankar, 86, who was greeted with a big hug by Mr. McCartney.
The management of the Mirage clearly has a lot at stake in the success of "Love," which it hopes will run for 10 years. One side of the hotel's exterior and all of the room keys are emblazoned with the show's logo of four silhouetted, leaping Beatles. The band's music played almost continuously on the casino floor; a Beatles lounge called "Revolution" on the main floor will open soon.
SIR Paul McCartney has assured old pal Ringo Starr he is coping well with the trauma of his break-up from wife Heather, insisting: "I'll be all right." The Beatles legends met at an after-show party for the premiere of Las Vegas extravaganza Love, which is based around the Fab Four's music. One partygoer said: "They threw their arms around each other - it was lovely to see. "Ringo asked him 'Are you all right?' and Paul replied 'I'm fine'. Ringo seemed really concerned and said 'Are you sure?' Paul smiled at him, touched his arm and said 'I'll be all right'."
The show's producers were delighted that 64-year-old Sir Paul turned up for the premiere on Friday. The partygoer said: "Everyone was thrilled, especially as it was Sir Paul's first public appearance since the split. Not many people expected him to go the party considering what he's going through.
But when he walked along the red carpet he got the most ear-shattering scream from the crowds and that really seemed to lift his mood."
"It was emotional because two of us aren't here. That really came home watching this."
Sir Paul and Ringo were joined by George's widow Olivia, John's widow Yoko Ono and his first wife Cynthia at the opening night of the $100million spectacular, which mixes the Beatles music with acrobatics and theatrics from off-beat circus performers Cirque Du Soleil.
All five had been consulted by the show's bosses over which songs should be used. There had been fears of a bust-up as Paul and Yoko have been feuding for years - and Yoko and Cynthia rarely speak. But Giles Martin, who helped direct the music along with his Beatles producer dad George, said everything had gone smoothly. He added: "They all have their differences but they all genuinely wanted the same thing - for the show to do justice to the music.
"It's been great for them as it's got them talking and opened channels of communication."
The performances included tracks Lady Madonna, Here Comes the Sun, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds and Octopus's Garden.
(At left: Siegfried and Roy make an emotional return to the showroom they made famous, and Roy fulfilled his promise to walk on his own, when he returned to the Mirage...it was a great moment.)
We were standing with them when Paul arrived. He walked over to us and hugged Roy, posed for pictures and I picked his pocket. (Paul, do you need this clip back, or can I keep it?)
Music Directors Sir George Martin and his son Giles Martin have been working with the entire archive of Beatles recordings to create the musical component for LOVE.
"I think we will achieve a real sense of drama with the music, the audience will feel as though they are actually in the theatre with the band. People are going to be knocked out by what they are hearing!" said Giles Martin.
Using the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, Sir George and Giles have created a unique soundscape of Beatles music for LOVE. "We wanted to make sure there are enough good, solid hit songs in the show, but we don't want it to be a catalog of 'Best Of's'," said Sir George Martin. "We also wanted to put in some interesting and not well-known Beatles music and use fragments of songs. The show will be a unique and magical experience."[back to top]
Dominic Champagne, who directed and wrote the original concept for the show, explained his vision for LOVE.
"I wanted to create a Beatles experience rather than a Beatles story, taking the audience on an emotional journey rather than a chronological one" said Dominic Champagne.
"When we embarked on this extraordinary adventure in 2002," said Gilles Ste-Croix, Show Concept Creator and Director of Creation, "we set out to create a timeless, three-dimensional evocation of The Beatles music. Drawn from the poetry of the lyrics, we developed a preliminary concept that explored the content of the songs in a series of scenes inhabited by real and imaginary people."
LOVE is presented in a custom-built theatre at The Mirage featuring 360° seating and advanced high definition video projections with 100-foot digital, moving images. The panoramic surround sound system will envelop the audience who will experience The Beatles music like never before…
The LOVE album will be released through EMI Music later this year.
April 2005 - ALL NEW Beatles, Wings and Solo Concert Tour To Launch In Miami On September 16th; Coincides With New Album Release
Paul McCartney is ready to rock with ‘US’ this fall, nearly four years after his critically hailed, Billboard Magazine Concert Tour of the Year, ‘Back In the U.S.’ swept through the U.S. Since his return to the stage in 2002, after a decade long performance hiatus, millions from countries across the globe have experienced his sold-out concerts. Tour schedule here.
But Americans can expect the unexpected when ‘US’ kicks off at Miami’s American Airlines Arena on Friday, September 16th. The all-new tour, which is planned to coincide with a new McCartney recording, will be highlighted by the classics from McCartney’s Beatles, Wings and solo career, as well as songs that have yet to be or haven’t been performed on American soil in nearly 15 years.
“We are looking forward to playing again in America,” said McCartney. “They know how to have a good time and we’re there to give it to them. It’ll be fun to visit some new places, to see some old faces and to do things a bit differently this time. We’re ready to rock.”
‘US’ will rock and roll through the United States for 28 performances that will span a nearly 11-week period before its close on Tuesday, November 29th at Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center. While highlights include return visits to Boston’s Fleet Center, New York’s Madison Square Garden, Chicago’s United Center and Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, ‘US’ will mark a first for some. On Thursday, October 27th and on Sunday, October 30th, Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska will experience their first EVER Paul McCartney performance (including Beatles and Wings). In addition, Miami and Seattle, amongst other cities, will celebrate McCartney’s return after nearly 15 years.
If McCartney’s appearance at Superbowl XXXIX or his last concert in front of 125,000 muddied fans at England’s prestigious Glastonbury Festival (NE Magazine’s Best Event for 2005) are any indication, fans can expect to see another groundbreaking production.
“Only McCartney can top McCartney,” said Brad Wavra, ClearChannel Entertainment. “But if you think you’ve already seen him, think again.”
AEG/Concerts West representative Paul Gongaware added: “Half the fun of this tour is wondering which songs he’s going to play. There’s so much that we didn’t see in 2002.”
McCartney’s band mates Abe Laboriel, Jr. (drums), Rusty Anderson (guitar), Brian Ray (guitar and bass) and Paul “Wix” Wickens (keyboards) return for ‘US.’
Tickets for Paul McCartney’s ‘US’ Tour go on sale beginning Saturday, April 23rd. Keep checking this website for more information.
Lexus will be the presenting sponsor of the ‘US’ Tour.
“I’m very pleased to be a part of this new project with Lexus because I think there is a natural fit,” said McCartney.
(New dates added appear BOLD)
September 16th Miami American Airlines Arena
Screening of "The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited"
Following the screening of the documentary "The Concert For Bangladesh Revisited", the 450 guests gathered on the Warner Bros film lot to hear the Concert For Bangladesh veterans' band and friends perform.
A string arrangement of "Within You Without You" was followed by "Give Me Love", "Here Comes The Sun" and finally a rousing version of "Isn't It A Pity" - featuring Ringo on drums.
The Concert For Bangladesh veterans band were:
Preston - vocals and keyboards
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