B-BeatleShow! Rocks the David Saxe Theater at Planet Hollywood
You don’t need Paul Revere’s midnight ride to alert you that the British are coming. The invasion happens each night at 5:30 p.m. in the David Saxe Theater (inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood) and it’s called B-BeatleShow!
If your first inclination is to think that this is yet another ersatz quartet of mop-tops hoping to drum up nostalgia for the early rock gods, think again. What makes B-BeatleShow! unique from the original group’s many tribute shows is that the performers can sing – and play – like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, down to the same brand of amps and instruments they use and without tapes, sequences or backing tracks.
Capturing the feel and sound of the Beatle era, the performers look like they’re having the time of their lives, making the crowd cheer appreciatively with every word-perfect number.
What BeatleShow! offers is more like a trip in a time machine, recreating the sound and the look of the Beatles in such a way as to give die hard fans some Fab Four fibrillations.
As the show gets underway, a video screen flashes the year 1964 and a gray-suited Ed Sullivan (Paul Terry) takes the stage to introduce four young men in matching suits bursting with a contagious energy.
Introduced by Sullivan, the four uniformed lads go through I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Help, introducing two go-go girls during I Saw Her Standing There, Can’t Buy Me Love, Eight Days a Week, and other early tunes. It’s the sound you remember, and many in the audience closed their eyes to transport themselves back to the time that it was all new and “happening.” Many are thrilled that’s it’s able to happen again.
Paul (Adam Joel) performed Yesterday as a solo number, appearing at the back of the house; he accompanied himself on an acoustic guitar while a large video screen captured the performance in black and white for the audience. A Yellow Submarine themed video, shot in London in the sixties, featured a variety of people attempting to sing a line or two. Not one person managed to hit the same key, but all knew the words, proving the song’s universal appeal.
A costume change transformed the quartet into Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, (1967) complete with its colorful regalia and groundbreaking music, beginning with the title tune. Real men wear satin and the group recreated the same colors that the Beatles chose for the album’s iconic cover. Ringo (Tony Felicetta) is in pink and shows it off proudly for his “With a Little Help from My Friends” solo. The hair is uniformly longer and mustaches appear on all four of the performers.
Austin Powers took the stage accompanied by the two dancers and kept a “shagadelic” British vibe going until the group reappeared once more. The uniforms were gone, but the recognition factor was stronger than ever.
The show shifted gears once more to feature later Beatle hits (68-70) as well as a tribute within a tribute as John Lennon (Steve Craig) in a white suit, sat at a single white grand piano and sang Imagine. He was joined by his three band mates for Hey Jude, Revolution 9, Let It Be, and A Day in the Life. The uniforms were gone, and a denim-clad George, under a lone spotlight, performed a medley of songs that included Something and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
A dazzling light show danced through the numbers as if it were a fan itself. A synthesizer provided for horns, and special effects that recreated the effect of listening to a cut from an album – but the whole thing was live onstage. The vocal, technical, and musical precision impressed even the most discriminating fans, the ones who memorize notes and inflections with an almost religious reverence.
The largely “boomer” audience was comprised of people who qualified for AARP membership, mixed together with younger counterparts who didn’t experience the Beatles firsthand. Everyone seemed to know all of the lyrics.
Voted “The Best Beatles Tribute Band In The World" the show ended with the familiar, dreamy line, “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
John’s got the voice and musicianship, Paul’s got the scream (Twist and Shout, Hey Jude, Revolution 9); George and Ringo channel their performances through authenticity and reverence. All four respect the legacy that they maintain so amazingly. They are, after all, responsible for a musical resurrection that hovers around the miraculous. Half of the Beatles are no longer with us, but in B-BeatleShow! audiences can enjoy the reunion concert that never happened.
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