Thursday, June 29, 2006

All you need is cash: Las Vegas salutes Fab Four

Everyone knows Elvis is alive and living in Las Vegas. Now you will be able to hear the Beatles play in Vegas, too.

LOVE, a new $US150 million production by the circus troupe Cirque du Soleil, is set to a 90-minute continuous Beatles soundtrack remixed by the band's original producer, Sir George Martin, and his son Giles.

At the show's opening tonight - to be attended by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Beatle widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono - audience members will hear the Beatles's music as never before.

"We are changing the songs - a lot of people will think they are the same, but then you hear something that makes you say, 'Wow, I don't remember that'!" said Sir George, in Las Vegas.

By remixing old mastertapes, including out-takes and unreleased material, the Martins have effectively created new songs. Among the new creations are several mash-ups: tunes created by mixing together elements of several songs.

Starr sings on Good Night, backed by effects from Yellow Submarine and drums from Lovely Rita. The music and percussion from Tomorrow Never Knows is accompanied by the vocals from Within You, Without You. To While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Sir George added a score for strings. The project began after George Harrison met Cirque du Soleil's French Canadian founder, Guy Laliberte, in Montreal in 2000. McCartney, Starr and Ono have all had artistic input into the project, with Harrison's wife, Olivia, continuing to be involved after his death.

Sir George, 80, said McCartney had told him to be as adventurous as possible.

"We played him a version of Hey Jude to a reggae beat, as a joke," he said. "For a moment he looked horrified. I said, 'But you asked us to go far out'! ".

Giles Martin, 36, said he expected some Beatles fans to be disappointed.

"I think I am going to be in more trouble than Dad will, to be honest. I am the new kid on the block; it's when the youngsters come in the studio and start playing round that the fans get upset," he said.


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