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Spirited Beatles tribute show fueled with talent, love
Monday, 06 March 2017 11:47
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HENDERSONVILLE — Flat Rock Playhouse opened its 2017 Music on the Rock series with a sparkling performance of “The Music of the Beatles” at its downtown Hendersonville venue.

The performance on Feb. 18 — a Saturday night — was a sellout of all 240 seats ... and the tribute show ended with a roaring and sustained standing ovation, with a demand for an encore that the group gladly granted. The show ran Feb. 16-26.

The encore songs included “She Loves You,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a segue from a moving and dramatic a cappella rendition of “All You Need Is Love” into “Hey Jude.” Even then, as the band bowed delightedly but wearily and the house lights were turned on, the crowd cheered. But, alas, the show was over.

The concert featured a six-member versions of the Beatles (who were a quartet), including FRP favorites Ryan Guerra and Dustin Brayley, who were joined by Aaron LaVigne, Ryan Dunn, Eric Anthony and Paul Babelay.

The six men — most often — performed in a configuration of three guitarists, one bassist, one keyboardist and one drummer. However, the multi-talented band members were able to — and did — shift around to different instruments — including flute and cowbell, among others — between songs.

Interestingly, rather than just playing the best-known Beatles’ classics, the band — to their credit — also played several of the more obscure (and difficult) Beatles songs, such as the surreal “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.”The show featured two 45-minute sets, followed by a four-song encore.

On a timely note with tax deadlines looming, the show started with “Tax Man.” The band followed with “Drive My Car” and “Help!”

Other memorable first-set songs were “Something,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Paperback Writer,” “Oh, Darlin’,.” “Something,” “I Saw Her Standing There” — and the set ended on a high note with the Beatles’ cover of “Twist and Shout,” to which some audience members danced.

Prior to the band’s performance of “Something,” one of the band members noted that it as a song that the late-great vocalist Frank Sinatra (arguably the best singer in pop music history) once said he was particularly impressed with “Something,” calling it “the greatest love song of the past 50 years.”

The second set began with “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,” which segued into “With a Little Help From My Friends,” followed by “Nowhere Man.”

Other second-set songs included “Lady Madonna,” “Let It Be,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Interestingly, and to good effect, the show grouped together songs of the same subject or theme, at times, such as “Sun Medley” and “Sun King.”

The second set — and regular show — ended with an amazing medley of the last part of the “Abbey Road” album.

Those songs, played with one melding into the next (as on the album), included “Mean Mr Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight” and “The End,” finishing with the memorable lyric fragment:

“The love you take ... is equal to the love you make.”

According to The Beatles Bible website, “Abbey Road” is widely acknowledged by critics as one of the best — if not the best — of the group’s albums.

The tribute band especially excelled in the instrumental work on guitars and drums — and with tight harmonies that emulated the Beatles in stellar fashion.

Another nice touch was a light show that often featured moving psychedelic patterns on the backdrop behind the band, which helped to capture the feel of the era of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

At one point, one of the group members asked those in the audience to shout out the name of their favorite Beatle.. 

As people answered in unison with their choice of four different names (John, Paul, George or Ringo), the band member said quizically, “I heard ‘Throne?’” prompting much laughter from the raucous crowd.



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