The world’s premier Beatles tribute band certainly lives up to their own press and I was amazed to discover that some people had come from as far as Brighton to watch this show! However, I can certainly see the appeal. As a regular to the show it never ceases to amaze me that the experience feels so different and fresh every year. This year saw the introduction of a new member of the band Adam Hastings replacing the much loved Neil Harrison who had been playing John Lennon in the band since 1980 when The Bootleg Beatles first formed. Adams arrival seems to have added a new fervour to the band and, along with a change in the back drops, slide shows and set list, it made for a great night out.
The show is broken down into four sections with an interval in the middle which means you are treated to around two and a half hours of live music. Each section is accompanied by a slide show to introduce each era of the 60s and many of the songs also have a film running in the background to add to the effect of the music. The first two sections of the show take you through the early years including the well known songs All my loving, She love you, A Hard Days Night, Help and Day Tripper whilst also adding a few of the lesser known songs such as No Reply and If I needed someone. My personal highlights of the first half were You really got a hold on me and the final song, Twist and Shout which got us all up on our feet for some twisting and shouting!
The second half is where the real musical skills of each member of the band shine through as they play songs that The Beatles themselves did not play live. They are also accompanied on many songs by a wonderful orchestra ensuring that together with the band they are able to recreate the sounds of those great songs perfectly. Starting with the Sgt Pepper era, Ringo (Hugo Degenhardt) gave us fun renditions of With a little help from my friends and Yellow Submarine which got everyone singing along. Paul McCartney (Dave Catlin-Birch) treated us to Penny Lane, accompanied by video clips from 60s Liverpool, and Adam Hastings captured John Lennons voice beautifully in Strawberry Fields Forever. In the final part of the show we had two of George Harrison’s most famous songs, Here comes the sun and While my guitar gently weeps, the latter receiving a standing ovation by some for Andre Barreau (George Harrison) and his fantastic guitar playing. As it was recently the 10th anniversary of George’s death, the encore included My Sweet Lord which, alongside Hey Jude had everyone singing and swaying along.
This show really is a must for all Beatles fans and for anyone who loves to sing and dance along to these ageless songs that have inspired so many musicians of the modern day. It was wonderful to see the full range of ages all enjoying this fab music from people comparing the band to their own experience of an actual Beatles concert to children experiencing and loving the music for the first time. If the atmosphere in the Concert Hall is anything to go by, then a splendid time really was guaranteed for all!