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Abbey Road stages Beatles tribute (VIDEO)

As a huge fan of the The Beatles‘ music, I was excited but also a bit skeptical when I heard that Abbey Road, a Beatles tribute band, was scheduled to perform in Fresno?s Tower Theater, Sept. 22.

The show opened with John Lennon (Tyson Kelly), Paul McCartney (Benjamin Chadwick), George Harrison (Robert Bielma) and Ringo Starr (Axel Clarke) jogging out onstage dressed in suits and sporting mop-top wigs, as if they were performing for the Ed Sullivan show; their transformation was completed by their Liverpudlian accents.

My eyebrows raised in astonishment as ?Lennon? led the first number, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Had I not known better, I would have thought I was listening to the original recording.

Abbey Road, managed by Tom Maher, has been together for two years and all four members have been avid Beatles fans since childhood, and have strove to portray their performance as realistically as possible — Chadwick went as far as learning to play the bass left-handed.

The band started out with classic early Beatles music such as “From Me to You,” “Day Tripper,” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” During the first half of the show, a backdrop showed photographs and video clips from actual Beatles concerts and appearances in the 1960s. This element added a sense of nostalgia to the show, as it provided a stark contrast between vintage and modern day performers and their fans.

There were three costume changes throughout the performance. After intermission, Abbey Road returned with facial hair, flashy Sargent Pepper?s Lonely Hearts Club Band military attire and a pair of glasses for John. The backdrop for this portion of the show was a kaleidoscope mirage of bright colors and objects. In this set they played The Beatles’ more unique-sounding songs, like “Penny Lane” and “In My Life.” Keyboards played by Harrison and Lennon were used to create the sound of a full orchestra. “With a Little Help From My Friends” featured Ringo?s ability to sing and drum simultaneously.

The final act showcased beautiful solos from McCartney and Lennon. Their costumes were more casual, traditional suits; Lennon?s hair reached his shoulders.

McCartney?s wonderful acoustic set, including “Blackbird” and “Yesterday,” brought a more reflective, solemn feel to the show. This soon became one of my favorite moments as it was the most moving. The show closed with “Hey Jude” and the audience enthusiastically belted out the lyrics along with the band.

The group?s flawless three-part harmonies were incredible and their level of musical talent, combined with their ability to so closely imitate a renowned band left me wishing the concert had continued on past the two hour performance.

My favorite song of the evening was “Something,” sung by Harrison. The song slowed the pace of the show down and brought a more contemplative feel to the audience. Harrison showcased his lead guitar prowess many times, and executed exceptionally excellent solos in “Day Tripper” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”

McCartney?s infectious charisma made him very endearing to the audience as he bobbed his head and smiled for the majority of the night, he genuinely seemed to enjoy being onstage.

I immensely enjoyed my time listening to Abbey Road and would definitely want to see them again, given the opportunity. I was thoroughly impressed by their imitation of such an iconic band and believe that people will delight in the unique experience they offer for fans.

Abbey Road also plays in a nationally-touring Beatles musical, “In My Life,” which visited Fresno, Feb. 2011.

For more information about the band, check out their website.

For more reviews, read the Sept. 23 article, Italian heritage defines Giuseppe Gallos.

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