The longest-running Beatles tribute band managed to bypass the usual soulless experience served up by a tribute act. Here were four musicians who inhabited the roles - every John Lennon mock-sneer, every Paul McCartney high-eyebrow coo. The George Harrison character moved between microphones to share vocals with ''Paul'' and ''John'' and this band's ''Ringo'' was a studied mimic; not just of the playing but the mop-shaking bounce that always appeared to propel the beat.
The first set was the early rock'n'roll music, Chuck Berry covers and the first Beatles' hits. The banter was self-aware, sometimes self-effacing. And the onus was on fun.
The second set featured a horn and string section, bringing to life a selection of Beatles material from Sgt Pepper's and Magical Mystery Tour; material the real Beatles never performed live as a group. The ''White Album'' and Abbey Road were referenced as well.
There were reminders of the magic in the music - brilliant compositions, part of the soundtrack of everyone's life and with this visual element it was a case, sometimes, of seeing a guitar line or watching a backing vocal happen. That then was the trigger for the full power of the original version, insight into some of the most analysed music of all time.
The second set was the real time-capsule, giving an idea of what it might have been like to see The Beatles if they did ever tour the Sgt Pepper's album.
All served with a wry smile and plenty of in-jokes, this was either a lot of fun or a waste of time. But it would be a mean-hearted person who didn't find some joy in this. And I am not that mean-hearted person. Not this time. I had a blast. It was very clear that the musicians on stage had a blast too.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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