'1964' pays homage to rock 'n' roll invasion, 'Beatles'
Tribute band captures 60s essence through musical renditions
Bringing the 1960's to the William Saroyan Theatre, 1964: The Tribute performed popular hits from The Beatles, April 27. Along with a show, the band provided witty banter for their audience, keeping in character as each of the four Beatles.
&layout1964: The Tribute travelled to the William Saroyan Theatre on April 27 to bring the city of Fresno back to the 1964 British rock 'n' roll invasion of America. 1964 has been performing together for 28 years, performing multiple shows at Carnegie Hall and receiving rave reviews from various magazines. The group consists of four members who each take on a Beatles persona: Mark Benson as John Lennon, Graham Alexander as Paul McCartney, Tom Work as George Harrison and Bobby Potter as Ringo Starr.
I've always enjoyed The Beatles and, after trying multiple times to see a Beatles tribute band, my dad and I finally received the opportunity thanks to John Ostlund at K-Jewel. I was extremely thrilled to have the chance to witness what Rolling Stone Magazine declared, "The Greatest Beatles Tribute on Earth." I wasn't sure what to expect with this concert, but I did expect it to be fairly amazing, considering all of the band's accomplishments throughout the years.
The stage was arranged just like a Beatles concert set from the 1960s. As the four members walked out and immediately began a rendition of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," I knew I was in for a treat. The quartet continued through two more songs, bowing after each one in the same fashion as The Beatles, before taking a break to talk to the audience as well as with each other.
Tom Work spoke first, initiating onstage banter between the entire group as they discussed what song to perform next. Each band member spoke with an accent and took on the mannerisms of the Beatle they were impersonating. Work then introduced Potter as the vocalist for the next song and the group continued through nine more tunes before intermission.
"This show exceeded my expectations, showing me that a Beatles tribute band can be talented, but not too over the top ... With such authenticity, I felt like I was sitting in one of The Beatles performances." --Kenna Wheeler, '12
The first half of the performance was wonderful due not only to their voices, but the quality of the performance and the authenticity that made me feel like I really was watching The Beatles. My favorite performer would have to be Graham Alexander as Paul McCartney. Due to his time on Broadway, I felt that he had a greater chance to be able to grasp the persona of McCartney and create more of a character than his bandmates. His voice had a fantastic range, giving each song a different feel from soft and sweet to raspy and intense.
A superb rendition of "If I Fell" marked the best moment of the first half. Before beginning the song, Benson and Alexander joked with each other about who had the more difficult part in both vocals and guitar. They seemed so comfortable with each other, as well as with the audience, and this drew me in, making me believe their performance and feel like I was witnessing amiable joviality between old friends. The joking beforehand only set the stage for the song to come, complete with harmonies and pure-sounding vocals.
The rest of the performance was more energetic as the band invited the audience to stand up and dance along to "Twist and Shout," as well as sing along to every song we knew. The audience listened to 1964's request, and stood for most of the second half, dancing along and singing loudly with the people next to them. One of the best moments in the entire show was when Benson invited everyone to take out their "pocket phones" and either call someone so they could enjoy the show with them or wave them in the air for the upcoming song.
All good things must come to an end though, and 1964 finished their show with an encore performance of a mashup of various Beatles songs. Each member took a song as a solo, highlighting their vocal and instrumental strengths, making their performance something to remember for a while after the show ended.
For the past 28 years, 1964: The Tribute has staged concerts featuring covers of music by The Beatles. Here, band member Bobby Potter (Ringo Starr) addresses a fan.
This show exceeded my expectations, showing me that a Beatles tribute band can be talented, but not too over the top. The members sported the same hairstyles and clothing choices as The Beatles themselves, even commenting on the uncomfortable shoes and the results of having the same haircut for 28 years. With such authenticity, I felt like I was sitting in one of The Beatles performances.
My only complaint would be the fact that I could not figure out if the performance was a concert or a show. The first half seemed more like a musical and less like a concert, while the second half felt more like a concert with participation from the audience. The crowd also seemed confused in this aspect as some tried to dance, but were frowned upon or told to sit down.
However, despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. As a fan of The Beatles, I recognized many of the numbers and I appreciated the opportunity to sing along. Each band member's voice was spot on to their Beatles counterpart, creating a great blend of tones and harmonies.
I would gladly go see 1964: The Tribute another time and I would invite anyone who even slightly enjoys the original Beatles to give this tribute band a try. 1964 brings a wonderful air of authenticity to the stage without it being kitschy and their spot-on impersonations outside of the music almost make the performance worth it by themselves.
For more reviews, read the April 18 article, Special effects surprise audience in 'Singin' in the Rain'.