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“LOVE” in the Desert Click Here To Comment!

Saw this in Vegas … finally. I’ve had the soundtrack for almost two years and have been curious/fascinated/drawn to the re-visioning of the music that George Martin, and his son Giles, created. They call it a “soundscape”. I call it “marvelous”.

This is easily the most complex thing I’ve ever seen done on a stage. Presented “in the round”, one would get a slightly different show depending on where one sat. Which means, of course, that I have to go see it again and sit somewhere new! The show is like a sensory overload and, fairly early on, you have to let go of the idea of actually taking in each element consciously. That would be frustrating and very hard work. You have to just let the music, colour, movement, interaction … you have to let it all wash over you and let your senses absorb it. At any given time, there are at least a dozen “focus” areas to look at. You can’t really “see” it all, but you can absorb the experience.

I kept wondering what John would think of this.  It is presumptuous of me to speculate, of course. It can be said that the Beatles were the first to include the visual in their music. The modern music video emerged from their experimentation with film and also with television. They were highly visual and absolutely not adverse to using commercial projects to get their work out before wider and wider audiences.  I think they weighed out any cynical response about commercialism against the positive impact of getting their work out to new pockets of listeners. John was right in there, experimenting always, breaking boundaries. Trying out acting. Trying out nudity. Leveraging classic commercialism (i.e. billboards) to spread a message of peace. Not following rules. Not always saying a kneejerk “no” from a gut cynical place which, we know, he certainly possessed.

My kneejerk gut cynical response to Vegas, as a rule, has been “no!”. As my friend Dry Ice points out in her post after she visited last year, everything is fake. I do not disagree with anything she write in her post. But I decided ahead of time to leverage her experience as a sort of starting place for me, as my emotional response to the place. We know it is all fake, a monument to excess. We know that the resources used – money, labour, water in particular – to construct and maintain this desert adult “mirage” would easily keep several third world countries in a higher quality of life than they are now. (This, I believe, is the real “sin” in the term “Sin City”.) I also know that holding onto my cynicism and anger about this utter waste of resources and energy will not enhance my ability to enjoy any elements of our short stay there that were “real”. The sun, blue sky, puffy clouds. Moments of kindness, humour and connection between strangers. Feeling giddy and playful and briefly “released” from commitments.  Being able to be continuously “in the moment” with my beautiful, and equally giddy and playful, travelling companion for almost five days consecutively.  Having, and seizing, the opportunity to experience one of the great natural wonders of the world – the Grand Canyon – oddly, so close to Vegas which could be deemed one of the great UNnatural wonders of the world.

So I think about what John might say, in his nasal Liverpudlian way, about “Love” being @ the Mirage, dead centre in Sin City. I imagine he’d shrug off the prerequisite cynical response, looking instead at the audience – young, not-so-young, wildly diverse – sitting, mesmerized by Beatles’ music and message of peace, awareness and, of course, love. I think he’d say “s’alright … “. He might take more of an opportunity to get people thinking about where they are in that moment. But, as we are often told, audiences are smarter, and more thoughtful, than they appear. Perhaps he would trust that next layer of thoughtfulness would come later, after the show, as it has for me.

Here is a link to the official “Love” website, by Cirque du Soleil. Interesting stuff, and the video at the top of the first page is more well lit than the one below.  This one, below, is a 10 minute series of teasers from various numbers within the show. I found the viewing slightly better in HQ, but the examples are rather dark.  Perhaps this is on purpose, in the hopes of truly “teasing” the viewer into making the journey to the centre of Sin.

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