Fifty years after taking America by storm, the Beatles are back, playing an extended residency at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki.
From “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to “Hey Jude,” the group takes you on a magical mystery tour from when the Fabs were bright-eyed lads gazing about with wonder when they topped the bill on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” to the politically conscious period of the late ‘60s, reflected in songs like “Revolution.”
The mood is set from the start as you wait in the showroom for the show to begin; pictures of ‘60s icons like Twiggy and a “James Bond”-era Ursula Andress flash on the screen as vintage ‘60s music provides background music.
And then, there they are: John (Bob Graham), Paul (Andrew Hill), George (Alastar McNeal), and Ringo (Dennis Muth), sporting the kind of identical suits the Beatles wore when they left their club days behind and signed with a major label. You hear all the major hits (“She Loves You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Help”) and a few well-chosen album tracks (“I Saw Her Standing There,” “All My Loving,” “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” so George can get in a lead vocal). And what look at the early years would be complete without a performance of “Yesterday”?
Then it’s a quick change into everybody’s favorite outfits, the “Sgt. Pepper” costumes. Now Ringo gets his lead vocal on “With A Little Help From My Friends,” both sides of the “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” single are featured (including the extended trumpet solo at the end of “Penny Lane” that Fab Four aficionados will known was only used on promo copies of the single), and there’s another non-single pick with “When I’m Sixty-Four.”
The group then changes into hippie garb for the later years. There’s a great guitar solo on George’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Paul gets the crowd moving with “Get Back,” and John performs his most popular solo number, “Imagine.” The closing “Hey Jude” naturally becomes a mass sing along.
Audience members were readily swept up in full-on Beatlemania throughout the show, clapping and cheering, and even getting up to shake it all about on occasion. Fourever Fab is fortunate in having a left-handed Paul (not always the case with Beatles tribute acts), helping to make the illusion complete. The ersatz lads from Liverpool are clearly enjoying themselves, and work hard to make sure you have as a good a time as they are.
“Best of The Beatles” is a family friendly show, and also makes a great night out for rock fans and especially Beatles fans. The show runs Monday through Thursday, and there are both dinner/show and show-only options available.