It’s not often that two national, highly acclaimed Beatles tribute bands converge on a city at the same time. But in the last few days, both Rain: A Beatles Tribute, and 1964: The Tribute performed dueling concerts in the Seattle area, and fans had to choose who they were going to go see! After we posted our 5-star review of Rain’s incredible show, we received a report from our good friend Steve Roseta today of the ‘1964’ concert. Steve is himself the producer and manager of another Beatles tribute band in our area, and is keen to let John Lennon Examiner readers know how much he enjoyed ‘1964.’ He also offers his interesting comparison to Rain’s production, as he attended both shows. So here is his full report. (Thank you Steve!)
(Note: We did a prior review of ‘1964’ in November of 2012 and did not attend the performances last week.)
Concert review of ‘1964: The Tribute’ by Steve Roseta
I am the producer/manager for Apple Jam, another internationally acclaimed Beatles tribute act from Seattle (not lookalike). Admittedly, I am more tuned in to musical (versus visual) authenticity. ‘1964: The Tribute’ performed at the Auburn Performing Arts Center, in Auburn, WA, February 1 and 2.
1964 is a tribute band that focuses exclusively on the Fab Four’s “touring years” between 1963 and 1966. The current 1964 lineup is: Graham Alexander (bass) as Paul McCartney, Tom Work (guitar) as George Harrison, Bobby Potter (drums) as Ringo Starr, and Mark Benson (guitar) as John Lennon.
The show ran 1 hour and 50 minutes, including an intermission & encore. The set list included (as I best recall): I Saw Her Standing There, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Love Me Do, Please Please Me, And I Love Her, Do You Want to Know a Secret, All My Loving, This Boy, Eight Days a Week, A Hard Days Night, I Should Have Known Better, In My Life, Can’t Buy Me Love, Twist and Shout, From Me to You, If I Fell, Matchbox, When I Get Home, I Feel Fine, And Your Bird Can Sing, Taxman, Yesterday, Help, Day Tripper, She Loves You, Roll Over Beethoven, I’m Down, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Mr. Postman, and Long Tall Sally.
I had the good fortune of sitting dead center in the front row, for the Friday, February 1st show. This has its advantages and disadvantages, when seeing lookalike tribute bands. While visually sparse, the overall production -- set, hairstyles, clothing, and period instruments -- were true to form for this Beatles era.
Mannerisms, speech patterns, and stage banter were overall excellent. The musical performances were as spot-on and flawless as I have heard. No surprise though, with 100+ shows per year under their belts, they have accrued their 10,000 hours. My personal song favorites were the lesser known Beatles Anthology studio version of “And Your Bird Can Sing” (which included the laughs and giggles), “And I Love Her” and“I’m Down”. (see you tube video this page of Graham Alexander doing 'I'm Down.')
The only substantive breaks in the illusion were -- the apparent age differences between the performers. “Paul” was in his 20s, while the others were decades older. I am sure this would have mattered less had I sat in the 15th row. Also, “Ringo” spoke with an American accent, in contrast with the authentic British accents of the other band members.
Let’s compare the 1964 show with the Rain show, which I also attended Wednesday, January 29th at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. Both shows were excellent for different reasons:
· Rain was incredibly produced (with cool videos, lighting, and sound), while 1964’s production had no videos, no stage sets, much simpler, obviously lower budget.
· The Rain show spanned all Beatle eras while 1964 focused squarely on live shows during the early years.
· Musically speaking, I felt 1964 was better in terms of capability and delivering spot-on renditions of each Beatles song. In fairness to Rain, 1964's repertoire is much narrower, and the songs are simpler. I really like both bands a lot, but for different reasons. Both are excellent, and I hope I am conveying that. (Note: Steve attended a different show than the John Lennon Examiner, with a different musician line-up. The McCartney musician he saw is fairly new to the band.)
· 1964 presented themselves as the Beatles, referring to themselves as “John”, “Paul”, “George”, and “Ringo”. Rain presented itself as Rain playing tribute to the Beatles, not mentioning Beatle member names during the onstage chat.
· 1964 presented a comedic onstage banter between the band members that was natural and entertaining. Humor was a big part of this show, especially between “John” and “George”. The Rain show focused more on production and presenting a much broader music catalogue.
A major highlight to this 1964 show was recent addition Graham Alexander, who played “Paul”. He is nothing short of amazing. At just 23 years old, his entire presentation (vocals, musicianship, persona) could not have been any more natural, charismatic, entertaining, and authentic. Even from the front row, the illusion held intact for the duration of the show.
1964 had the audience on its feet several times during the evening. For me, what set this show apart, from other lookalike Beatles tributes, was the impeccable quality, attention to detail, and authenticity of the music. 1964 is reported to be returning to the area in June.
The John Lennon Examiner thanks Steve for his perspective and for rounding up Kevin's photo of 1964 during the show.
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