I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas. I like Vegas; it makes no bones about being a garish, sordid playground for adults. If you're in the right mood, it's hard not to have fun there.
The high point of my trip was seeing Cirque du Soleil's production of Love, which celebrates the music of the Beatles. If you've been fortunate enough to see it, I'm sure you'll agree it's pretty great. The costumes are eye candy, the props are genius, the lighting is dramatic and the music, well, what can I say?
I've always been a Beatles fan. When they first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, my parents, my older sister and I gathered around the TV and watched them perform "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The audience went nuts (along with my sister). I'd never seen people react this way to anything.
Unlike their fellow British invaders The Rolling Stones, the clean-cut Beatles were all smiles, sporting their signature mop tops and slim jackets. I'll never forget the day I went clothes shopping with my mother and she allowed me to buy a grape-colored sport jacket with no lapels, just like the Beatles wore. I was so mod!
Their music -- and style -- evolved through the years, as they added levels of sophistication and production to every new release. George Harrison emerged as a third formidable songwriter as the band enjoyed one hit after another.
Watching Love reminded me of how truly clever and evocative their songs were. They were theatrical, sentimental, emotional and transcendent. So many iconic pieces of music are included in the production, yet so many are left out.
Leaving the theater, I was struck by the realization that I hadn't given the Beatles a good listen in years. In a way, I've taken them for granted, like I've taken for granted so many other things that are important to me, such as family and friends. Just like when I'm spending time with those important people from my past, a flood of memories washed over me, as I recalled exactly where and when I first heard a particular song.
There were sad, poignant memories, for sure, but listening to the Beatles brought back mostly good ones. The Beatles represented freedom and humor and sincerity, wonderful feelings that live in my past and were stirred once again. What a special talent they held--the ability to elevate our spirits as we share this joy with those around us. That's what happens when great music is played loud for a group of people. We all left the theater remembering how much we loved the Beatles' music, and thankful for the chance to experience some unforgettable moments from our pasts.