Covers du Cirque

Recently Cirque du Soleil E-group member, soulgirl31, posted the following question: “If someone put together a Cirque du Soleil Cover Band that only played the Cirque’s music, do you think it would be popular to the general public?” Most replies, mine included, gave a resounding no. I won’t go into my opinion of the general public’s clueless-ness of good music. But for the past few years I have fantasized about forming a band that covered the amazing music of Cirque du Soleil. I have given this topic a lot thought and realized that bands should actually play before shows and during intermissions in the traveling shows’ VIP tents.

Each musician would wear the band outfit from a different show, and the singers would rotate to change their outfits according to the song being played. While the band played a video screen background could show acts or visuals to accompany the music. My fantasy band would consist of the following:

Moi: Guitar, keyboards, and trumpet (yes, I know how to play these instruments); I would wear the Varekai bands lavender outfit (my favorite).

Two more keyboardists: That also play accordion and occasionally cello; one wearing an Alegría white outfit with fountain wig and wiener nose and the other wearing a Saltimbanco clown-like outfit.

Two percussionists: One mainly playing a trap set, the other would have a vast array of percussion instruments; one wearing the blue Quidam outfit and the other wearing an “O” tux-like outfit.

A bassist/Stick player: Wearing a La Nouba white outfit with turban.

A woodwind player (saxophone, flute, and various ancient instruments): Wearing a Zumanity outfit (sorry, I don’t know what their outfits look like so maybe this member could be in their birthday suit).

A violinist: Wearing a Dralion polyester maroon-color outfit.

The musicians would also play assorted percussion and sing background vocals where necessary.

There would be four singers, three women and one man. Depending on the song, two women would sing and the other would change her costume for the next song. The man could also be one of the musicians who comes out to sing a male’s part where needed.

The most difficult aspect of this idea was coming up with a set list from over a hundred great songs. So I decided that two or three songs from each show would be sufficient. Like an actual Cirque du Soleil event, the song order would go through dynamic cycles. The list I chose is approximately 80 minutes long (60 minutes for pre-show, 20 minutes for intermission). Depending on which show’s VIP tent the band is playing in; there are alternate songs [in brackets] so that an attended shows song is not played. Sit back, relax (or dance or contort or swing from the rafters, if you’d like), and enjoy the show!


1. “Alegría” (from Alegría) – Even though the song is the finale for the show it is a good opening number due to its recognition. [Alternate: “Kumbalawé” from Saltimbanco – Also a nice opener.]

2. “Barock” (from Saltimbanco) – This song simply rocks and allows the band members to show off their musical skills. [Alternate: “En Ville/Frisco” from Mystère – Another rocking ensemble.]

3. “Let Me Fall” (live version from Quidam) – The male singer catches the spotlight in a song that is already by covered by the unmistakable voice of Josh Groban. [Alternate: “Ballare” from Dralion – A beautiful ballad, again featuring the male singer.]

4. “Rêve Rouge/A Tale” (live version from La Nouba) – One of my absolute favorite live arrangements. Two completely different songs – one a sweet ballad and the other hip-hop – that mesh so well together.

5. “El Péndulo” (live version from Varekai) – A very melodic tune that also features some great violin solos. [Alternate: “The Forest” from Journey of Man – Features unusual male vocals and a Kora; a tough song to pull off.]

6. “Hinkò” (from Dralion) – How many in the audience will recognize the guitar riff from Mandy Moore’s hit “In My Pocket” (a very talented girl and lover of Cirque du Soleil)? Plus, the guitar power chords during the bridge produce so much energy. [Alternate: “Incantation” from Quidam – The bridge will make the audience want to do a Russian dance.]

7. “Amazonia” (from Saltimbanco) – One of Cirque’s most dramatic compositions with several tempo and dynamics changes. [Alternate: “Désert” from “O” – Another dramatic composition.]

8. “The Rose Boy” (from Zumanity) – A sultry little jazz number to lighten the mood a bit.

9. “Feu” (from Alegría) – Another song to allow the band to jam, especially the percussionists. The insane tempo-morphing bridge is a head spinner. [Alternate: “Euphoria” from Varekai – Also a great band jam.]

10. “Journey of Man” (from “O”/Journey of Man) – A nice harmonious song that allows the singer to show off her pipes.

11. “Kalimando/Kunya Sobé” (live version from Mystère) – Everyone in the band sings the choir part in “Kalimando” then kicks into gear with the upbeat “Kunya Sobé” to close out Set One.

This concludes the Pre-show event. Now the VIPers are herded into the tent full of excitement with ears ringing from listening to the amazing sounds.


1. “The Opener” (from Zumanity) – A soft little number to calm the nerves of the audience who just left an intense Act One from inside the Grand Chapiteau. And I’d get to play a muted trumpet: Mwah mwah mwah.

2. “Ombra” (from Dralion) – Another lovely ballad to allow the audience to continue unwinding. [Alternate: “Liama” from La Nouba – Just simply a beautiful song.]

3. “Ephra” (from “O”) – Enough mellowness, this haunting tune features a bass synthesizer line that gets the heart pumping.

4. “Aureus/Mutationis (a.k.a. Moon Licht)” (live version from Varekai) – Slowing down again with a beautiful song that features beautiful female vocals with accordion and violin solo tradeoffs. You don’t hear that too often. [Alternate: “Querer” from Alegría – More accordion and great female vocals.]

5. “Quidam” (live version from Quidam) – My favorite closing song of all Cirque du Soleil’s shows. The repeating chorus line will have the audience humming until the bell rings to announce that Act Two is about to commence. [Alternate: “Finale” from Mystère – This upbeat tune will have the audience ready for more Cirque du Soleil experiences].

The “end” has arrived, but the crowd roars: “Bravo, bravo, play one more…no six more!” They reluctantly go back to the incredible Cirque du Soleil show realizing that the extra money they forked out for VIP tickets was well worth it. Who knows, maybe if we are coaxed enough we’ll play an encore after the main event’s curtain call (after all, this is my fantasy). Any requests?