ESSAY: Remembering ‘The Beatles LOVE’ in My Daughter’s Eyes

Posted on: April 9, 2024, 05:46h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2024, 11:10h.

When our daughter was three, I gave her the most unfathomably special gift I could think of, something I dreamed of having at her age but knew I never could … the memory of having seen the greatest band of all time perform live.

The author holds his daughter, who waves hi in a selfie taken during one of her earliest visits to “The Beatles Hotel.”

The closure of “The Beatles LOVE” on July 7, announced on Tuesday, reminded me of a fantasy I once cultivated for her that the Beatles were still all alive, together, and young.

OK, the bald-faced lie.

It wasn’t difficult when you live in Las Vegas and The Mirage is wrapped in an ad featuring the faces of a 20-something John, Paul, George, and Ringo blown up larger than the name of the resort.

The DVD of all the Beatles videos had just been released and, while enjoying it with her one day, I figured, why not bend reality a little?

After all, my influence over her would soon give way to her peer group’s fondness for whatever even worse version of Justin Bieber waited in the pop wings. And wouldn’t it be awesome to experience, through her eyes, pure love of the greatest music ever made — without any thoughts of acrimony,  death, aging, or any of the other dreaded inevitabilities of life that accompany the listening experience for fans of the real group that stopped making music together in 1969?

The author’s daughter poses with the Beatles in front of “The Beatles LOVE” theater.

My daughter was too young to see the Cirque show — five is the minimum age — but we posed for photos in front of the jumping Beatles sculpture near the theater entrance. We ogled the merchandise in the adjacent Beatles store. And when a tribute show called “B: A Tribute to the Beatles” came on Groupon, I knew immediately what I needed to do.

OK, so I’ll burn in hell. She will require years of therapy. She’ll never trust anything told to her by another man.

But hold on. Doesn’t nearly every American parent do the same exact thing to their kids with Santa Claus?

Telling that lie is acceptable, just so they can experience the magic in their kids’ eyes and vicariously return to their own childhoods. But substituting a still-performing Beatles for a fat guy in red pajamas is unconscionable?

Sorry, I don’t see it. And besides, I don’t want her ever trusting another man anyway.

Unreal Love

My plan goes even better than perfectly. My daughter’s eyes pop as she sings and dances along to all her favorite songs: “Twist and Shout,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “Eight Days a Week.”

And even after multiple screenings of my “Beatles at Shea Stadium” bootleg, during which the music is nearly drowned out by the jet-engine squeals of 55,000 fans, it doesn’t even occur to her to question why the most popular band in the world would be playing a tiny theater at Planet Hollywood on a weekday afternoon — or why it would be half empty with no line at the box office.

“Would you like an upgrade to the front row for only $20 more?” the ticket agent asked me.

No, I whispered. I would like to pay $20 less for seats in the back because she sort of knows what they’re supposed to look like from all the videos.

After the show, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity transpires that even I hadn’t thought of … to meet the Beatles! They’re standing right in the freaking lobby, calling her over because everyone else is walking right past them.

The author’s daughter is so terrified to approach the table where she thinks the real Beatles are standing, she can barely be contained in the same frame.

Alas, just like all kids eventually bust their parents in the Santa Claus lie, my Beatles fantasy arrives at its coda. It happens during one of our visits to what we still referred to as the “Beatles Hotel.” My daughter, now four and able to read, sees a bass guitar for sale in a collectibles store and reads that it was signed by Paul McCartney.

In its display case is a photo of Paul playing the very same bass.

The real Paul. In 2015.

“That’s Paul, daddy!” my daughter screams. “Why is he so old? Daddy, why is Paul McCartney so old?!”

Umm, because of all the chimneys he has to slide down in a single night?

As soon as she turned five, my wife and I took her to see “The Beatles LOVE.” She sang and danced to that, too. But it wasn’t the same. She occupied the real world by then — the one where the Beatles broke up acrimoniously, where John and George were dead and Paul and Ringo grew old, and where magic is no longer a thing that’s real.