Former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, were on hand Thursday night in Las Vegas to officially mark the ten year anniversary of Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles-themed show, “Love.” McCartney was accompanied by his wife, Nancy Shevell, Starr by his wife, Barbara (and her sister, Marjorie, with her husband, rocker Joe Walsh), and Ono by her son, musician Sean Lennon. It was expected that Olivia Harrison, George’s widow, would also be present, but was unable to attend due to illness.
Though the McCartneys posed briefly for photographers at the Mirage Hotel and Casino before dashing into the theater, the Starr troupe offered a few extra moments, the drummer quipping to the photographers, “Send me copies!”
The show’s music director, Giles Martin, also made the trip to Vegas. Martin, with his father, the late Sir George Martin, created the Grammy-winning soundtrack to the show, which deftly combines elements of classic Beatles songs together to complement the fantastical show visuals. Fellow producer Peter Asher (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor), in whose home McCartney lived for his first few years in London, noted to Variety on the red carpet, “We all know The Beatles’ music by heart. I also know the way the music was recorded and the limitations of what you can and cannot do,” having been part of the British duo Peter & Gordon, who also recorded at Abbey Road Studios in the mid-1960s. “What Giles did was miraculous.”
Also in attendance was Ron Howard, who has directed the upcoming “Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years,” a documentary about the first half of The Beatles’ career, to be released this September.
Choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (“Nappytabs”), known for their work on So You Think You Can Dance, and who created three new numbers for the show, were also present, as was colleague Arlene Phillips. In addition, actors Mira Sorvino, Kevin Dillon, Cary Elwes, Kevin Nealon, Josh Hutcherson and Kristoff St. John were among the other VIPs who took in the performance.
During the show’s opening – which took place just hours after hundreds of people were mowed down by a truck driver in Nice, France – one of the cast members announced a statement, “In light of recent events, The Beatles’ message of peace and love carries on.”
McCartney and Starr joined the cast onstage at the end of the event to thank them, McCartney noting, “This fantastic show just gets better and better.” Of the revamped “Love” show, featuring updated graphics now including The Beatles’ own likenesses, Starr added, “I thought I was fabulous.” Martin joined them, noting, “My dad passed away this year, and I miss him. John is not here, George is not here. But,” he said, addressing the cast, “the music lives on because of you guys.”