When I got a call from a friend regarding the Beatles coming to Nashville, it did cause me to think for a minute and wonder if she'd lost her mind. After all, John and George are no longer physically with us, Paul and Ringo are each doing their own thing, so how is it possible that the Beatles are coming to Nashville?
Well it turns out that there is a tribute group, not new however, they've been doing this for years it seems. Upon entering the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville, you first were taken aback by the overwhelming souvenir table with various Beatles memorabilia that should satisfy any concert-goer.
Local artist, Brandon Giles, was set to open the show and if you've been down to Layla's Bluegrass Inn on a Friday or Saturday night then you know that we were in for a high-energy show. Giles is reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis and throws in a sprinkle of Elvis Presley.
Jumping on the keyboard, shimmying across the stage and just generally rocking out. Giles treated the audience to a few of Lewis' hits as well as the Jim Reeves' classic "He'll Have To Go," which Giles humorously introduced as one that he was going to sing instead of scream. It was a shocking change from the high-energy Lewis' style performance to the slow and soothing vocals.
During the intermission, the house lights were brought up and just a look around the stage you could see that it was going to be interesting. A guitar sitting just to the back looked much like one used by the Beatles in their day. "1964 The Tribute" recreates an early sixties Beatles experience with period instruments, clothing, hairstyles and on stage banter including "John's" comment on the shoes improving the "look of their bums."
At one point, he even tried getting "George" to turn around to provide the audience a look, which caused the women in the crowd to shriek as if it really was George Harrison on the stage. In reality, they are Mark Benson (John), Gary Grimes (Paul), James Pou (George), and Greg George (Ringo) and all are Americans but you wouldn't know it to hear them speak. They've mastered the dialog of the real Fab 4 and cause you to believe that you really have gone back in time.
In researching for this, I did find that there are several "tribute" bands out there. Ones that do the Sgt. Pepper era complete with the colorful outfits and some that don't dress as the quartet but merely as themselves but perform the Beatles music.
This is the main one that I found seemed to have the "blessing" of the family and friends of the Beatles. George Harrison's sister even threw a party in their honor after seeing a performance. A friend, and Liverpool native, has written a letter that can be found on the 1964 website with her thoughts and is worth the read.
Performances included that of "Hard Days Night," "Paperback Writer," "She Loves Me," and "Yellow Submarine," but the biggest sing-along came with "Ringo's" performance of "Act Naturally." Keep in mind, this is Nashville and home to the late songwriter, Johnny Russell. With the song being a hit for country favorite, Buck Owens - and later a hit duet for Starr and Owens - well let's just say we love our own here too. It was one of the rare times that I've ever noticed the audience singing about as loud as the band, but it was a really cool moment. I really wish that Russell had been still with us to experience the moment.
Another moving moment was with "Paul's" rendition of "Yesterday," which for the first moment in the night, the crowd fell completely silent hanging on every word and note. I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed that "Paul" didn't sing his ode to me, "Michelle." I have told people for years that it was written for me, even though I wasn't yet born when McCartney wrote the tune.
Fans tell us that the show is changed every time they see them. Fans rush the stage just as they did in the sixties, but the guys do come out after each show and meet with the fans signing autographs for all that request them. I don't believe the real Beatles were able to do that when they were touring. Because of the realism of the night, I almost expected to walk out to find a limo whisking them away to shrieking girls running after them.
Would I go again?
Absolutely! I've got to see if they'll do "Michelle" for me after all!
Should you go?
Absolutely! This is a "must go" event if you want see and experience the Beatles!
Article Written & Submitted by Michelle Durham