Beatles imitators bring back the old days
Four young men are currently entertaining Beatles fans in New York.
NEW YORK - The Beatles, a version of the Liverpool band that broke up more than 40 years ago, are back on Broadway, sending theatre audiences dancing into the aisles and proving it is not just Paul McCartney who still believes in Yesterday.
Let it Be, a concert-style celebration of the music of the Fab Four that opened in New York this week, is the latest stage show to take fans old and new back to the Beatle-mania of the 1960s even as surviving members McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr perform and tour the world in their own right.
The concert features young look-alikes for McCartney, Starr and the late John Lennon and George Harrison who plays and sings Beatles songs live as if the audience were attending a 1960s era concert.
"It's not a musical and it's not just a concert. It's somewhere between those things," director and musical supervisor John Maher told Reuters.
The band performs some 40 hits each night in roughly chronological order from The Beatles' last show at Liverpool's Cavern Club to their final live concert on a London rooftop in January 1969.
Attention is given to detail, including how the band members stood while performing, as well as their Liverpool accents, changing looks, mannerisms and hairstyles. Screens in the theatre show original newsreels and some psychedelic video projections.
The show is not endorsed by either The Beatles or their Apple Corps Ltd company. Copyright to most of the songs is held by Sony/ATV.
Maher says the music remains so strong and well-known internationally that there is room for another production. Record label EMI estimates that The Beatles have sold more than one billion units worldwide between 1960 and 1970.
Musician and author Jonathan Gould hasn't seen the Broadway show but said the music of the Fab Four appears to be more popular now than 20 years ago and has been embraced by new generations.
He said fans should go see McCartney, but they won't get "the incredible dimension of the four of them singing and playing together.
"When you saw The Beatles on stage, they were really performing for one another. They are looking and laughing at one another. That's a quality that I think was enormously affecting," said Gould.
Maher agrees that the Beatles together had a spark that made them more than the sum of their parts.
"The quality and scope of their song writing is astonishing. The change in their writing from 1962 to 1966 is enormous. I can still come home from a day of 18 hours in the theatre and put the Beatles on very happily and still be blown away by it."