Nice show last night at the Poncan Theatre with "1964, the Tribute" whose mission is to recreate what it was like to hear the Beatles in the early 1960's. The group, who are originally from Akron, Ohio, have been performing their show for 24 years now and take special care in using the same style of clothes, the same musical instruments, and even the Liverpool accents of the originals. Gary Grimes, who portrays Paul McCartney, even plays the Höfner bass left-handed just like Paul did.
There is an interesting story behind Paul's bass that not too many people know: In 1961, the Beatles' original bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe who had used a Höfner 500/5 bass (similar to the later 'President'), left the band to resume his art studies. The Beatles were without a bass player, and none of them wanted to start playing one, but the job fell on Paul McCartney (who had been playing rhythm guitar and piano) over George Harrison (their settled lead guitarist) and John Lennon (who had just bought a new Rickenbacker 325 guitar and refused to switch). In the British vernacular of the time, McCartney referred to it as being "lumbered" ("stuck") with the job. Stuart Sutcliffe initially lent his Höfner 500/5 bass to Paul McCartney. McCartney had seen another guitarist in Hamburg using a violin shaped bass, and when he saw one in the window of a Hamburg music store, he investigated it. Because of the instrument's symmetricality, McCartney could play left-handed without the bass "looking daft" as he put it.
Anyway I took some great photos during the show and had the opportunity to visit the group in their dressing room. I told them I had taken a look at their page on Wikipedia and that there was no photo and that I would upload a couple of my best shots to the Wikipedia site and the group was extremely cooperative.
While I was working on their Wikipedia article I discovered some interesting information on their show that I added to the article on how their performance differs from the original. Although the group strives for authenticity in their portrayal of the Beatles, not everything they do is the same.
Two areas that differ between the tribute show and the original Beatles performances are sound quality and set length. Mark Benson, who portrays John Lennon in the band, says that in the original Beatles live performances in the 1960's the fans were lucky to hear the band. "You have to credit the Beatles with revolutionizing the sound-reinforcement industry," says Benson. "Back then they had these little speakers that you couldn't hear anything out of. The way concerts were amplified had to be changed." Benson says that fans who saw the original shows notice the difference. "People will come up to us and say, 'I saw the Beatles in '64 and the only difference is I can hear you,'" says Benson.
Another difference is the set length. The Beatles did two 30 minute sets in their early shows and never did encores while 1964 the Tribute performs two 45-minute sets. "We tried the half-hour show initially, but it didn't go over well," says Benson.
Take a look a the photos of the show that I uploaded to Flickr.