Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The False Four

So we had an intriguing and nostalgic evening a few fridays ago...

I spent the preceding week listening to nothing but Beatles albums and psyching myself up to ensure I got my €35 worth. I had a huge claw in my head for the gig. And it was awesome.

I consider myself insanely privileged to have seen 25% of the Beatles mere metres away from me, but obviously it's regrettable at times leading a life of such adoration without actually being able to see the people who have so affected me do what they did best. The Bootleg Beatles basically see people like me as walking dollar signs.

It wasn't quite what I thought it would be. First of all, the venue reminded me quite specifically of a ruined jail. And it was so small, secure and serene. I had been hoping, perhaps naively so, for some gen-yee-ine Beatlemania, and I just got asked my surname and whether had alcohol in my tiny bag. The support band, David whatshisface and what presumably were his 'Henchmen' came on and did their bluesy set, and then some familiar and distinctly teenage screams came form the speakers. They weren't blasted or anything, they were just like a muffled version of what I listen to on my recordings of Beatles concerts. So yeah, the atmosphere was interesting... Then the band came out, and I remained seated. For a brief moment I thought 'Is there really a point to this?' Yeah, they look like them, they sound like them, but part of me felt like this was blasphemy. Anywho, a couple of seconds in I was overcome with the urge to show my beehive off and I joined the two mad wans who were standing at the side of the seated crowd. Thankfully there were plenty other people dressed like hippies recapturing their youth, or, if they were from Ireland, probably re-writing it. Everyone was kind of awkwardly dancing, and the sun was kind of shining.

And then the band started talking in Liverpudlian accents, which I hadn't anticipated. Their mannerisms and expressions were absolutely perfect. It was incredible to hear my favourite songs live! And most importantly we got to show all the people over 40 that we knew the lyrics better than them. George kept imploring the crowd to start dancing, and by the time the band had changed into their Abbey Road gear, most people were on their feet. Those guys seriously deserve to be knighted or summat. Funniest Beatle-wife references EVER 2KX. Also, I hadn't listened to Hey Jude the whole way through since PAUL MCCARTNEY SANG IT FOR ME. So that was nice. I couldn't even look at the Paul dude in the eye even though we were like 6 feet away from him. Imagine staring at the real Macca! You'd have to flush your eyes with holy water or something...

To be honest, I've scoffed at many a tribute band in my time. I would not pay to see a random band pretend to be one of my favourite groups...but I think in this case it is perfectly justifiable. The Beatles' music is so special that I think it should not only be listened to and appreciated on records but enjoyed live! But more than that, I think that their spirit and personalities are more in danger of being forgotten. After all, the group stopped performing before [arguably] their finest music was made. And their performances were so natural and fun, which was conveyed so well by these guys. Even though they know as well as we do it's mainly about fun and paying homage, it's definitely entertaining and so worthwhile. Maybe it's silly if you think about four grown men in fancy dress covering songs and imitating accents, but to me, they are preserving something an important memory. It's history! However much anyone can dislike the Beatles and their music, their significance in music and in popular culture is indisputable. They were daring and innovative. They are an institution. Just witnessing this small-scale representation of their transformation and growth over a decade puts a lot in perspective for me as a Beatles fan. The sheer variety of their music amazes me. That's why you can do a fricking degree in The Beatles. I hope that seeing this band is on the syllabus for that.


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