Cirque du Soleil's executive vice-chairman Daniel Lamarre is looking back at this epic collaboration with The Beatles. Back in 2001, Cirque du Soleil worked with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, as well as George's wife, Olivia and Yoko Ono, on a new show—The Beatles LOVE, which would go on to be held at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
Lamarre noted the significance of his first encounter with the group in a new piece for Newsweek. "It was the first time the group had all gathered for a business meeting since John [Lennon]'s death in 1980," he wrote.
The Cirque du Soleil executive recalls Harrison as the driving force behind the meeting, telling him and Cirque founder Guy Laliberté: "I admire what you have done [with Cirque], and it seems like we have a lot in common when it comes to creativity. I know I am dying. I don't know how many years I have left, but before I go, I'd like to do a creative project with the Beatles music. Do you think Cirque would like to be involved?"
Lamarre recalls being "struck" by how each living member of the band was "almost exactly as I imagined." He described McCartney as being "clearly in charge, a true people pleaser who flattered us effusively, telling us how much he loved our shows." George was "the quiet Beatle" and came across as "down-to-earth, like your next-door neighbor." Ringo, meanwhile, was "cracking jokes, one after another, keeping everyone loose."
Though sadly passed years before the show came to fruition, Ono spoke up for his interests. Lamarre recalled the she "only talked a little, in her quiet voice, about the artistry of Cirque and how much John would have liked to be involved in this project."
The project faced another loss when Harrison lost his cancer battle in November 2001. "Paul, Ringo, Olivia and Yoko decided to revive the project as a tribute to George," Lamarre wrote.
Ultimately, Lamarre learned six important lessons on creativity and collaboration from his time working with The Beatles. "One of the many lessons I drew from working with the Beatles for nearly five years during the creation of LOVE was this: Emotion can be a powerful force in driving a project forward. Finding the emotional heartbeat behind any new venture can unleash dynamic currents of energy that can make the difference between success and failure," he said in his reflective piece.
He also listed four other important lessons, which are: "showcase what you do, don't force your vision on your partners, trust your partner's expertise, and mobilize people around your project. "
Lamarre believes the best advice he received from the band, however, comes from one of their hit songs: "All you need is love."