Hugs, peace signs and a lot of ‘Love.’

And in the end, the “Love” was overwhelming.

On Sunday, the groundbreaking marriage between the most well-known amalgamation of art, circus and theater and one of the richest catalogs in music history came to a close after 18 years with tears, hugs and peace signs filling the stage.

“The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil” and its 60-person multicultural cast bade farewell at a boisterous, invite-only finale in its soon-to-be-demolished home, The Mirage. The casino and hotel, purchased by Hard Rock International two years ago, closes July 17 and will reopen in spring 2027 as Hard Rock Las Vegas.

But on this night of goodbyes, the $100-million custom-built 2,013-seat “Love” theater was packed with friends and family of the cast and crew as well as at least one well-respected name in The Beatles’ universe – Giles Martin.

Martin, the son of the late Beatles producer and honorary fifth member George, is the architect behind the most magical aspect of “Love” – its 2008 Grammy-winning soundtrack stocked with unique reconstructions of Beatles songs.

Cirque du Soliel CEO Ste?phane Lefebvre spoke briefly before the final performance lifted off with the chilling isolated harmonies of The Beatles’ singing “Because.” He praised Martin’s musical acumen as well as the show for all of the “peace and joy and happiness and love” it has brought the 12 million people Lefebvre said have seen “Love” in nearly two decades.

While it was mostly a standard performance of the 90-minute show, the audience loudly whooped and cheered at the start of each segment, providing a vibe more akin to a concert than a Cirque production.

The cast appeared to perform with extra vigor and emotion – the roller skating leaps during “Help” seemed a little bit higher, the ever-elegant Dr. Robert (Jimmie Cervera) and original Father McKenzie (Eugen Brim, who left the production in 2016 and returned in February) shimmied and shouted with extra oomph – and a few unscripted hugs were witnessed among the hippie kids during the trampoline-heavy “Revolution.”

In the only fourth-wall breaker, the Sugar Plum Fairy – aka Lady Madonna’s baby daddy – who usually speaks in tribal language before a stomping splash dance in yellow Wellingtons, said to the crowd, “I am feeling a lot of love tonight!” before asking them to clap the rhythm of “Lady Madonna.”

When the usual finale of “All You Need Is Love” arrived and red confetti showered from the rafters, the cast took its typical walk around the stage brandishing peace signs and singing along with the optimistic anthem. But this time, tears among them were visible.

Since its 2006 opening, the show, blessed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and endorsed by Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison as family surrogates for John Lennon and George Harrison, has been attended by all of those within The Beatles organization numerous times.

Starr, who celebrated his 84th birthday Sunday with his annual outdoor party in Los Angeles, watched a performance while in Vegas for his own run of shows at The Venetian in May, while Harrison attended two of the final “Love” shows in late June.

When “Love” debuted, it was the first Cirque show to use recorded music and the initial production centered on a legendary music act. “Viva Elvis” followed in 2010 at Aria Resort & Casino for a disappointing two-year stint, while the successful “Michael Jackson ONE” is still dazzling audiences at Mandalay Bay after a decade.

Even with the curtain closed on “Love,” its legacy will endure through its timeless soundtrack.

But it’s also the end of something special, as Giles Martin told USA TODAY in a 2022 interview about the show.

“It’s the only place in the world you can step into The Beatles’ universe,” he said. “I always liked the idea that it was The Beatles’ room. I love that about Vegas – you’re surrounded by the dinging of slot machines and people wandering around with yards of tequila and then you walk into the hallowed grounds of ‘Love.’ I get the same thrill every time I walk in that theater.

Millions of others would undoubtedly concur.

{ SOURCE: USA Today }