Over my years in radio, I’ve connected with many fans of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beatles[/lastfm]. One of them is a gal who was actually in the select audience at the Beatles’ very first TV appearance on the CBS Sunday night “Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9th, 1964!
Leslie Healy lives in San Angelo, Texas, and is a true “Beatle expert!” She was in Las Vegas last week and took in both the 5th anniversary “Love” performance AND Sir Paul’s MGM Grand concert.
Her review was published in the local paper this weekend, and I thought you’d like to share in the experience…..on this, Sir Paul’s birthday weekend (June 18th)….
The Mirage Hotel, home of Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE,” was specially decked out for this auspicious occasion. There was a beautiful 3D display straight out the ’60s in the lobby, as well as a huge sculpture spelling out LOVE behind the hotel’s check-in area, a wonderful photo op for the many devotees of the group.
A bright red British phone booth was tucked away on a busy aisle in the hotel, complete with poster advertising the LOVE show, adding to the festivities. Many celebrities taped words of wisdom for the show’s fifth anniversary, and the video was shown at numerous screens throughout the hotel’s lobby.
By 5 p.m., the lobby was buzzing, security guards all taking their places and barriers in place for the celebrities to walk between, en route to the red carpet area.
By 6 p.m., it was more crowded. Two sniffer dogs and their handlers mingled with the crowd. It looked and felt like a Hollywood premiere, or an Oscar or Emmy show. Rock royalty and other VIPs started to enter, and they were quickly herded through the crowd to the red carpet. I saw Sigfried and Roy, Sir George Martin, McCartney band memers Abe Laboriel Jr., Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray and Wix Wickens and others.
Half the audience was special invited guests; the other half lucky folks like myself able to secure a rare ticket. The doors were finally opened at 6:30 p.m.
When the theater finally darkened, the announcer welcomed everyone, said “no photos allowed,” and proceeded to announce the special guests for the night who made their entrance — Sir Paul McCartney and his fiancée, Nancy Shevell; Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon; Olivia Harrison and her son Dhani, who looked the image of his dad, George; and Sir George Martin and his son Giles Martin, who compiled the soundtrack of LOVE. [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ringo Starr[/lastfm], who was on tour in Russia, sent a short video to add to the festivities.
The show began — over two hours of high-energy acrobatics and dance, incredible costumes and props, set to the soundtrack of Beatles music. It was an amazing presentation, even more so as it was in the presence of Beatles royalty!
When the show ended, streamers abounded, the full cast was brought on stage, and they were joined by Sir Paul, Yoko, Olivia, Sir George and Giles Martin. Paul, Yoko and Olivia offered comments to the audience. The evening concluded with Sir Paul exclaiming, “Let’s hear it for the Beatles!” which brought the house down with loud applause and cheering from the crowd.
Friday was even more of a treat for this longtime Beatles fan. Sir Paul performed at the MGM Grand Hotel’s Garden Arena, which seats only 17,000. Most of the venues that Sir Paul plays are huge stadiums, seating at least 50,000 fans. I last saw him perform at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, where he played to more than 100,000 of his closest fans! This was smaller and more intimate, even with the two Jumbotron screens surrounding the stage and smaller screens placed in strategic locations.
The concert started with a deejay playing an assortment of Beatles songs performed by numerous artists, with a backdrop of memorabilia from the music of our lives on the video screen.
Sir Paul finally arrived on stage, picked up his familiar Hofner bass, and the show began with “Magic Mystery Tour.” Familiar and early Beatles hits like “All My Loving,” “And I Love Her” and “Paperback Writer” mixed in with Paul’s solo hits “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Jet,” “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die,” complete with amazing pyrotechnics.
Sir Paul moved effortlessly between his bass guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, ukulele and piano. Highlights included his song for John Lennon, “Here Today,” which Sir Paul talked about as a conversation he wanted to have with his pal John, and “Something,” which George Harrison composed.
Toward the end of the show, he introduced his special guests, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Olivia Harrison, fiancée Nancy Shevell, and Sir George and Giles Martin. Sir Paul then went into a compilation of two Lennon compositions, “A Day In The Life” and “Give Peace A Chance.” By then, the audience was on its feet, singing along to “Give Peace A Chance” and watching the live shots of Yoko, Sean, Olivia and others giving peace signs singing this peace anthem from the ’60s.
All good things must come to an end. From “Hey Jude,” Sir Paul followed up with an encore of “Day Tripper” and “Get Back,” then his final encore of “Yesterday,” “Helter Skelter,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise” and finally “The End.”
The music of our lives was sweet and very alive for one more special evening, performed by the Maestro himself.