It’s quite amazing when you think about that little band from Liverpool that started out over 50 years ago. And though they were only together for 10 years, they released 13 albums and countless songs that remain popular as ever.
Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of The Beatles played the Burton Cummings Theatre recently to a full house. In just over two hours, they basically summed up the Fab Four’s career in 40 songs.
There have been many Fab Four tribute bands over the years, but these guys were very good as they worked their way chronologically through the Beatles career, complete with with costume changes.
Two giant old fashioned television sets on either side of the stage showed commercials and news clips from the ’60’s. The large video screen behind the band provided the appropriate back drop for each performance. The Cavern Club in Liverpool, the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, etc.
The show began in the Cavern Club with the rocking number I Saw Her Standing There. Effective lighting made the scene look almost black and white.
Next up they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, in Mr. Sullivan’s words, “…performing for the greatest audience ever assembled in the history of American television, here are four of the nicest kids we’ve ever had on our stage.”
This set started with She Loves You even though on the actual TV show, All My Loving was the first song. After I Want To Hold Your Hand ‘John Lennon’ uttered his famous statement from the Royal Command Performance from Nov. 4, 1963, “…the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.”
Their film phase was next as they hit the stage with some Hard Day’s Night tunes, and the youngest Beatle, ‘George Harrison’ at 21 years old, singing his first composition Do You Want To Know A Secret. After which ‘Ringo Starr’ sang I Wanna Be Your Man. ‘Paul McCartney’ performed Yesterday next.
Another costume change and with their hair getting longer, selections from Help were performed. Then they pulled out an older tune which got everyone out of their seats to Twist and Shout.
Thankfully, our sound systems are better than when the Beatles played the concert at Shea Stadium. Apparently, the screaming was so loud at Shea, the band couldn’t hear what each other was playing. The sound at the Burt was great.
The next phase was Sergeant Pepper’s era, where things got a little psychedelic. They performed six songs from this influential landmark recording.
‘Paul McCartney’ was quite pleased that “three generations of fans were enjoying the music.” After taking us on a journey up to 1967 in just over an hour, the lads had an intermission.
Part two went on a Magical Mystery Tour where we were told, All You Need Is Love. AYNIL was the world’s first live satellite television link, watched by 400 million people worldwide.
The band mellowed out with an acoustic set as ‘Ringo Starr’ held up an LP and asked the audience if they remembered “when CD’s were this big and black and round and could be played on both sides.”
They played The Long and Winding Road in its original stripped down version as ‘George Harrison’ played some interesting twangy guitar.
The fifth Beatle helped out on keyboards providing not only piano and keys but the strings and orchestral instruments. He was given a little solo on In My Life and did a great Billy Preston imitation on Get Back.
Apparently, ‘George’ forgot to bring his sitar for Norwegian Wood but he did a fine job of imitating one. While My Guitar Gently Weeps ended the acoustic set. ‘George’ apologized that Eric Clapton couldn’t make it to the show to play the parts he contributed to the original song.
By the time the band got into the albums Abbey Road and Let It Be, the audience knew the end was near. The very rocking Revolution from the White Album segued nicely into The End.
For the encore, the band were Back In The USSR followed by Let It Be. They ended the night with Hey Jude which had everyone on their feet ‘Na…na…na…na…na…na…na’ing to this epic track, one of the longest songs the band recorded in their career. The Lennon/ McCartney songwriting team wrote many timeless classics in that decade. Many of the songs only two minutes in length. It’s amazing what can be said in such a short time.
All in all, it was a pretty good show, with the band doing a decent imitation. I’ve seen a few Beatles tribute bands over the years and the nice thing about this one is they actually had a left-handed ‘Paul’. It just doesn’t seem authentic enough when you see ‘Paul’ playing a right-handed bass.
Set One Set Two
1. I Saw Her Standing There 1. Magical Mystery Tour
2. Please Please Me 2. All You Need Is Love
3. It Won’t Be Long 3. Penny Lane
4. She Loves You 4. Strawberry Fields Forever
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand 5. Blackbird
6. All My Loving 6. We Can Work It Out
7. Hard Day’s Night 7. Norwegian Wood
8. Can’t Buy Me Love 8. Here Comes The Sun (George)
9. Do You Want To Know A Secret (George) 9. In My Life
10. I Wanna Be Your Man (Ringo) 10. The Long And Winding Road
11. Yesterday 11. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George)
12. Help 12. Come Together
13. I Feel Fine 13. Get Back
14. Drive My Car 14. Revolution
15. Twist And Shout 15. The End
16. Day Tripper ENCORE
17. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely hearts Club Band 16. Back In The USSR
18. With A Little Help From My Friends 17. Let It Be
19. Eleanor Rigby 18. Hey Jude
20. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
21. When I’m 64
22. A Day In The Life
All photos by Doug Kretchmer