Liverpool Productions Presents:

August 21 - 30, 2017 Liverpool and London

August 19 - 21, 2017 Amsterdam Option

Weekend of LOVE in Las Vegas
February 9-11, 2007
Report by Janice Jennings
The first-ever "Weekend of LOVE" began with Beatles fans and friends arriving at the Imperial Palace located in the center of Las Vegas Boulevard. This is an ideal location if you are planning to walk the Strip. It is also directly across the street from The Mirage, which is where the Cirque du Soleil performance of LOVE takes place.
The Imperial Palace
Entrance sign of The Mirage
The Mirage
On our first day, we gathered at the V Theater located inside the Desert Passage which is connected to The Aladdin. The Desert Passage is just one of the many shopping hot spots found along Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as "The Strip." The Fab Four had agreed to give a special performance for us even though they normally do not perform on Fridays. As our group of 40-45 people gathered at the entrance, it was exciting to find companions from previous Magical History Tours to England. While we reacquainted ourselves and met new friends, we were entertained by local acts performing on a stage in the center of the mall.

Charles and Danny, our tour hosts, assembled our group to be escorted inside the V Theater. We were seated close to the stage, and anxiously awaited to be entertained by The Fab Four. Hearing the music of The Beatles always takes you back in time, but when you find yourself face to face with Ed Sullivan, and he says, "And, here they are…The Beatles!" I guarantee you will feel chills run down your spine. The Fab Four are consummate musicians and performers. They cover every phase of The Beatles musical career, complete with costumes, characterizations, and even Go-Go dancers! And their Mr. Sullivan adds to the fun with a comical comment or two throughout the performance. After the show, 'the lads' joined us for a meet and greet outside the theater entrance.

Ernie and Jan Scott add that the lead guitarist (Gavin) was a dead ringer for George, and we later found out that he is actually from Liverpool! And that the Fab Four's original bass player was recovering from open heart surgery the week.

The performance had ended by 6pm, which left the evening free for other activities. Walking the Strip and absorbing the bright lights of the hotels and casinos was appealing. Some chose to attend another concert or show at another hotel. Some went to see concerts by Petula Clark, Foreigner, the Moody Blues or Prince, all of whom were in town. Frank Branchini and Paul Allison attended the Prince show, where he was joined on stage by special guest Elton John that night! Others headed back to the hotel and booked seats for the "Legends" show...that night it was Rod Stewart, Marilyn Monroe, U-2, Janet Jackson and Elvis. These are NOT lip-synching look-alikes, but sound-alike performers in their own right.

The Fab Four
The Fab Four
A few went to the Revolution Lounge inside The Mirage. This lounge features covers of Beatles music in every genre. You have not truly experienced their compositions until you hear it performed in reggae, jazz, swing, or funky lounge remixes. A psychedelic atmosphere is provided by swirling lights of paisley, shapes and flowers which dance across the room in different colors. For your added pleasure, you may grab a hot pink bean bag chair to relax. Tell the waitress Austin Powers sent you.
Saturday - Eddy Herch, a previous Magical History Tour attendee, booked a suite at the Sahara for the weekend. He and his brother Frank are Las Vegas locals, but Eddy wanted to treat his fellow Beatles friends to a special experience. This particular suite was where The Beatles stayed when they performed in Las Vegas in 1964. We met at room 2344 of the Alexander Tower at 10am. The furnishings and decorations have changed since 1964, but the cabinetry and woodwork is reminiscent of the 1960s era. We all walked around the living room, the bar, the bedroom, and the bathroom imagining what went on 43 years prior. Since the Sahara is located at the very north end of the Strip, the view from the suite balcony is amazing. You can almost see the entire length of the Strip. Frank Herch pointed out where original hotels used to be and what was now in their place.
Entrance to the Sahara
Suite 2344, Alexander Tower
Door of Suite from dining area to the bedroom
Gift for Charles from Dave Carrow
Charles distributed our goody bags filled with Vegas souvenirs, Beatles memorabilia, copies of the Beatles fanzine "Beatleology," a Revolution Lounge button, and a LOVE button. Yes, a LOVE button, very rare! Don't even think about it. We also received our tickets for that evening's performance. Charles and Danny were presented with a hand-made souvenir from Dave Carrow, who has been on many a tour.
Eddy Herch told everyone a little-known fact about The Beatles stay at the Sahara. They wanted a rehearsal before the Las Vegas performance so they set one up in the Congo Room. Only the Sahara staff-members from back then remembered this. If you walk around the Casino, including the hotel's check-in desk, you will find photos of The Beatles and interesting tidbits of their stay, like; their favorite place to dine was The House of Lords. A visit to the Sahara is a must for a Beatles fan going to Vegas. Thanks to Eddy Herch for making it part of our weekend.
House of Lords sign

That afternoon, we were divided into two smaller groups to be given a very special exclusive backstage tour of the production of LOVE. Alan Hills, who is the company manager, gave us an inside look as to what makes LOVE work and sound like it does. We were led into the theater where we sat in a section of upper level seats. Pamela, a friend of Charles' from Cirque du Soleil, also hosted us. Alan explained that the cast was breaking-in two new members and therefore we would be privy to a couple of rehearsals. But, we also had to be very quiet. The song rehearsed for our group was 'Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.' It was thrilling to watch.

Afterwards, Alan told us how the concept of LOVE originated. It began as a conversation between pals George Harrison and Guy Laliberte. Guy is one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil. In honor of George, Guy sought to carry out their idea. After three years of negotiations between all legal parties involved, LOVE was born. It is a unique production in the fact that it was written around pre-recorded material, whereas, normally, the music is written around a Cirque du Soleil show.

  Costing more than $100 million, the theater features the following:

360 degree seating, with over 2000 seats around a central stage

Panoramic video by high-definition projectors
Surround sound provided by over 6300 speakers: 3 in each seat with 2 in the headrest.

The stage includes eight trolleys and tracks, plus nine lifts

Alan said the headrest speakers were to give the sensation that The Beatles are sitting right next to you. He also said you need to lean back against the headrest in order to best experience this, whereas normally the tendency is to lean forward from excitement. The stage was constructed to hide all the technical aspects of the show, from below and above. You are not to notice those lifts and trolleys in motion. Pam, who is from Liverpool, advised us that the best seats are not the ones closest to the stage. It is best to sit mid-way, which is where our tickets were.

Alan answered some of our questions:

Would this be a traveling show? No, it is permanent and contracted for 10 years.
How many people are involved, cast and crew? 116 with 60 being the cast.
What section did Paul and Ringo sit? 208, center.

We left the theater and broke into two groups to ride the elevator down below stage level. While waiting for the second group, one of the cast members showed us a 'smoking umbrella' and how it works.

We were taken to the Sound Production room. This room houses the recording studio where George Martin and his son, Giles, worked their magic with The Beatles catalog. The studio was built as an exact replica to the one at Abbey Road in London. This provided the ease of adjustment from the England studio to the Vegas studio with no difficulty. All the original recordings from Abbey Road are now stored in a temperature-controlled and heavily-secured vault at the Mirage.

Although the music was orchestrated from 130 original Beatles recordings, the show consists of 27 pieces. During a flawless performance, you will hear 27 musical numbers. But on rare occasions, when the timing is off, you may hear a 'show saver.' These are musical transitions that Giles created to accommodate any irregularity. We learned that 'Yellow Submarine' has been orchestrated as a 'show saver.' What would need to happen in order for us to hear that?!? Alan said they were prepared for anything. There is one number in the show that is slightly different: 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' has an added string arrangement written by Sir George Martin. We were introduced to Jason Pritchard, Head of Audio, before moving to the next department, Props.

Alan showed us a rack of harnesses that are used for training. We saw the Paper Monster, two VW Beetles that have been fortified for acrobatic purposes, and the Russian Swing. A Russian invention, hence the name, the swing looks like a skateboard with two wires. Usually, the artist requires a net for safety, but not the performer for LOVE. He really is "live without a net."

Our last stop was in Make-Up and Wardrobe. Here we met one of the youngest members of the cast, and Hassan, 'The Eggman.' Hassan was getting his body-paint applied. He is to be covered in tattoos. We were told that originally they would apply the tattoos one by one, a very long process. Then, they had the idea to make a body cast, cut out the tattoo patterns and spray paint through the cast, like a stencil. A bit of detail is added afterwards. It is still a lengthy procedure, but not like before. Hassan was very nice and accommodating to allow us to watch him 'get his costume.

Alan and Pam bid us goodbye and told us they would see us after the show. A backstage tour has been granted just four times:

1. Paul, Ringo, Olivia and Yoko
2. The Mirage staff
3. An expensive promotional offer
4. And….us!

We felt very privileged to have had the opportunity. Many thanks to Liverpool Productions/LiverpoolTours and the LOVE staff for this special treat. We repaid our gratitude to The Mirage by purchasing tons of souvenirs from the adjacent LOVE-Beatles shop.

Our performance of LOVE did not begin until 10pm. This left ample time to shop, dine, and wander around The Mirage or the nearby Caesar's Palace before we needed to get ready for the show. The LOVE theater was previously used by Siegfried and Roy. The Mirage has provided a private habitat for a few of the white tigers. They can be seen on a daily basis through viewing windows along one hallway of the casino.

White tiger of Siegfried and Roy Greetings!
By 8:30pm, those of us who hadn't visited the Revolution Lounge assembled in our V.I.P. area. By 9:30pm, most of our group was seated in section 207. The very reason we had traveled for this trip was about to commence. We were all very excited. Members of the cast, in character and costume, walked around the different sections to heighten your anticipation.

The show began with the bare bones vocal rendition of 'Because,' but it was soon followed by an energetic explosion of 'Get Back.' I knew during that number I was going to see this show again! The music and storyline traces The Beatles career alongside the events of their lives. 'Get Back' features the bombing of Liverpool during WWII. This is followed by the recovery period, loneliness and loss with 'Eleanor Rigby.' The Beatles' career skyrocketed along with the discovery of rock'n'roll with the number 'Drive My Car.' This is where the VW Beetles come into play. The performers on stage are zealous with a new lease on life, and they somersault across the vehicles. The first 20 minutes has the audience riveted with excitement. It was difficult to focus on any particular person because there was so much happening at the same time. Then all this transcends into a moving and flowing number of 'Something' by three flying angels on ropes. The grace and fluidity that is shown in their maneuvers had the audience transfixed in wonderment. We are shaken from our stupor by 'Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.' This was special because of our earlier peek of the rehearsal during the day. During this number, we heard a fire alarm. Was this part of the show? It was hard to tell, no one was reacting to it, including the performers. The alarm sounded again. The couple sitting next to me said this was not part of the show. The emergency lighting was activated and the music stopped. The performers at this time consisted of our brave Russian on 'the swing' and four inline skaters. When the power was cut, the inline skaters left their perch at the top of the ramps and skated off stage. Our Russian fellow was stranded on the swing at the top of the theater. People in the audience offered encouragement with "all you need is love" and similar remarks. A rope ladder was lowered to the stage and held in place by a crew member while the Russian performer descended to safety.

The audience, not knowing what was to happen next, waited in silence. A cast member, dressed as an overweight circus performer, came out to announce, (without power or microphone) that the fire alarm was mostly likely a false alarm and to remain seated. They fully intended to continue with the show. Moments later, the sprinkler system erupted in section 203, showering all the patrons therein. There were screams, mostly from the shock of getting wet, and only in that section. But I knew at that moment, just like when Jim Lovell realized he had lost the moon in Apollo 13, we had just lost the show.

Jan Scott recalls that we all just looked at each other and shrugged in shock. None of us could BELIEVE what had just happened! Some of us had flown approximately 1,500 miles one way, and we were being EVACUATED? You frankly had to laugh…

Everyone was advised to go to the lobby and collect refunds. Our little group was stunned! We wanted to see the show! Ultimately knowing there was no way they could continue with soaked equipment, soaked seats, and water everywhere in that area of the theater. We gathered inside the lobby and found it hard to drag ourselves away. As time wore on, and ushers politely prodding us to leave, we did. Our refunds were in the hands of Liverpool Tours, so all was not lost.

Original plans called for us to meet after the show for a bit of karaoke singing. Those plans were discarded and everyone just hung out together or left for their hotel room.

Sunday - It was time to check out of the Imperial Palace and meet with our fellow travelers at the Hard Rock Café. Our Weekend of Love was nearly over, how fast it went by. We filled the chairs around four tables and a cushy bench. Much of the conversation reflected about the LOVE performance and the events of its cancellation. We didn't miss the irony of it happening only once, when our group of fans were there. Even though we were disappointed, we were also grateful it had not been a real emergency. The Cafe played a medley of Beatles tunes and videos to pick up our spirits. It worked. This was followed by the famous crowd-pleaser, YMCA. And on cue, Charles and Danny were up on the cushy couch, leading everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, in the dance and song. I am convinced they both worked at a Hard Rock in a previous life.

Danny Levine
Charles Rosenay
Happy Fans
During our lunch, we had a surprise visit from Todd and Jerry, manager and band member of Fab Forever. It was really nice for them to come by and chat with us. As a parting gift, Charles and Danny had arranged for everyone to receive a free jewel-cut shot glass from the Hard Rock. Then, all too soon we were saying goodbye to our new and old friends.

Thanks to Charles and Danny for all their planning and undying spirits. Let us all 'Come Together' and do this again. LOVE is all you need.

Photo below, of the photo of The Beatles in Vegas live at the Sahara Hotel, taken by Frank Branchini

And in the end…
a sad afterword from Charles and Danny:

Over the days of February 9-11, we had our first "Weekend of LOVE" in Las Vegas. Eddy Herch, whom some of you know from him zipping around on his scooter on the 2005 & 2006 MMTour, was also with for the Vegas LOVE weekend.

On Sunday after everyone left the Hard Rock Cafe, Danny and Charles drove Eddy to the Suncoast hotel (about a 1/2 hour away from the strip), because we tried to get tickets to see Petula Clark there at night but they were sold out. He sat in the back of our car and said he felt sick. He didn't have his scooter with him, just his cane. He had the chills and we turned on the heat as he dozed off. When we got to the Suncoast, we found out that there were no tickets, so we were all disappointed. Eddy was out of it and he just wanted to get to sleep, so he tried to book a room there but they were sold out too. We managed to get him back in the car and we drove him to his brother Frank's house on the other side of town. Half-asleep, he gave us directions and we dropped him off, telling his brother that he needed some rest. That Eddy wasn't feeling well. That he wasn't himself. I wish we took him to a hospital instead.

Eddy Herch passed away the next night in his brother's home. He was so happy to be part of the LOVE weekend, and he was honored to have us all visit the Sahara suite where The Beatles stayed, and where he spent the night. He did it so that he could share a piece of Beatles' history, and so that he could tell about his discovery that The Beatles played an afternoon rehearsal in the hotel's club which he researched from the Sahara's staff. He loved The Beatles as much as anyone, and he loved to name-drop and tell about his time working with record companies, including Dark Horse/Warner Bros. He loved being able to share our Beatles camaraderie with his brother, Frank, over the weekend. Eddy had been on two of our MMTours (and also on our GHOSTour last summer) and he was looking forward to going to Hamburg and returning to England with us in 2007. It won't be the same without him scooting and bumping into people on the tours.

We have lost a true fan and a dear friend.
In sadness,
Charles F. Rosenay and Danny Levine,
Liverpool Productions/Liverpool Tours

In Memory of Eddy Herch
1953 - 2007

Edward Gilbert Herch, known to friends and professional colleagues as Eddy, died from heart failure at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 14, 2007. Eddy was an artist involved in several aspects of the entertainment business. Eddy had an illustrious career as a graphic designer, a script writer, drama turge, film critic and producer of independent films. Eddy was born on August 7, 1953. Eddy had attended UNLV and received a B.F.A. in 1975 from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a major in Illustration and a minor in film. He also graduated from the Stella Adler School of Acting in 2005.

As a graphic designer, he has worked for Warner Brothers Records, Marvel and DC Comics, New York Daily News, LA Herald Tribune and Flynt Publications. He has designed thousands of book sleeves, magazine and newspaper layouts and record covers.

Eddy has been a contributing writer and editor for various magazines including Film Festival Today. Eddy contributed artwork to the Desert Space Foundation traveling show in 2002. His piece was used on a cover of the Nevada Arts Magazine. He also designed brochures and artwork for the Las Vegas Celebration of Jewish Film, 2005-6. He was the Executive Producer in 2004 of "Call It Democracy," a documentary on the 2000 Florida election debacle.

Eddy served as the dramaturge and script editor for the Fifth Night Screenplay Reading series and the Writers Guild of America. Eddy has staged readings at the Nyorican Poets Café in New York and at screenplay development workshops in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. For all but one of the five Screenwriting Expo's held in LA, he directed the readings of the three finalists for the CS Open. 2002-2006

Eddy had been the foremost lecturer on screenplay format in America for more than a decade. His "Postscripting" seminar was invited to many top film festivals, universities, and in-house production companies. Robert Evans commented on an Herch screenplay, "Every word is in it's exact place. He certainly knows what he's doing." Eddy is the producer and dramaturge of over 650 live, staged readings which have resulted in 60+ produced films.

Eddy has battled cancer in both legs since 1996. He has had numerous surgeries and had overcome the cancer. He also survived a 2006 fall onto New York subway tracks.

Eddy was a collector of comic books and comic art, books, fine art, Rosewood vases, records, cds and Beatles paraphernalia. In recent years, he had visited Liverpool to see the birth places and locations where the Beatles lived. At his wish, his ashes will be spread in the Mersey River.

His last days were spent happily with fellow Beatles fans sharing a weekend of festivities in Las Vegas.

His funeral took place on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at King David Memorial Chapel in Las Vegas, NV, at 10 a.m. A memorial event will be held in New York sometime this summer.



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