Tag Archives: beatles tributes

Concert Review: The Mersey Beatles w/ Julia Baird at Sellersville Theater

Mersey Beatles

How lucky are we?  An old friend of my husband’s invited us to join him and his wife to see The Mersey Beatles at the Sellersville Theater.  AND Julia Baird (John Lennon’s half sister) was there to introduce the band, sell her book “Imagine This” and do a meet & greet!  I reviewed Julia’s book last year and gave it four Beetles.  You can read that review here.  Also, I did talk with Julia about the book I’m reading for next weeks review…but you’ll have to wait until next week to find out her opinion.

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The Mersey Beatles are just another Beatles tribute band.  These guys all are childhood friend who were born in Liverpool.  Sound familiar?  After realizing that they were never going to make it big as band and that they always got a great response when they covered songs by the Fab Four, they decided to create their own tribute band in 1999.  In 2002, they became the resident Beatles Tribute band at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and remained so for 10 years!

WP_20160512_019[1]So what makes this band stand out?  They do go through 3 costume changes with the early suits, then Sgt. Pepper’s and ending with Abbey Road dress.  They bring just enough on stage banter in their natural Scouse accents without over doing it and losing the audience in some silly over rehearsed skit.  At the same time, they will talk with the audience (they thanked the people who yelled out that they were killing it!) and they take requests.  And some of their harmonies are really going to wow you!

All in all, this was a great experience.  And I’m glad I got to see this band for the debut American tour.  Though they’re are probably boarding a plane right now to return to Liverpool, they will be returning WITH JULIA to the U.S. this July for a tour of the midwest!  And for that reason…

I rate this concert, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’ hula hoop dance

A little something for your viewing pleasure.  This is folksinger and hoop instructor Melissa Cox on the beach in New Zealand hoop dancing to the Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’

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Johnny come lately, the new kid in town…

PSU Beatles

“Everybody’s talking
There’s a new kid in town
People started walking
There’s a new kid in town” – Eagles

With the approach of the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles coming to the United States, it seems that new events, festivals and conferences are popping up everywhere to celebrate the occasion.  And though the Fest for Beatles Fans is the biggest fest around, some of the others aren’t to shabby!

One of the biggest events will be at Penn State University in Altoona, PA on the weekend of February 7-9, 2014 and is called ‘It was 50 Years Ago Today: An International Beatles Celebration.’  This three day event isn’t a festival.  It’s a conference.  According to their website, “In addition to panels and presentations, the conference will include film screenings, musical performances, art and photography exhibits, and keynote addresses by leading Beatles critics and musicologists.”

The director of this event is Dr. Kenneth Womack, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at PSU Altoona, and the author of: Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles, The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, And the Fab Four and the soon to be released The Beatles Encyclopedia [2 volumes]: Everything Fab Four.

A few of the respected 50+ experts set to appear at this conference are:

Mark Lewisohn – regarded as  one of the world’s leading Beatles authorities, Mark is the author of the NY Times bestseller Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Volume 1.

Andy Babiuk – the foremost authority on the equipment used to create the Beatles’ music and the author of Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio.  Andy is also a staff consultant to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.

Walter Everett – the author of the Beatles As Musicians book series, Mr. Everett is also a member of the School of Music faculty at the University of Michigan and the author of The Foundations of Rock.

Jude Southerland Kessler – a Beatles expert, author and host of her own radio show, Ms. Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series.  She has spent nearly 30 years researching John Lennon and the Beatles for her 9 book series., making her a leading expert on the topic of the Fab Four.

Dr. Kit O’Toole – For over 19 years, Dr. O’Toole has written music, concert, and book reviews, interviews, popular culture essays, and technology “how to” articles.  Her work has appeared at: Blogcritics.org, Something Else Reviews, Blinded by Sound, Cinema Sentries, Seattle PI and Beatlefan magazine.

This is definitely set to be one of the most intellectual of all the Beatles events to be held in 2014!  And what’s cool about their registration is that you not only can you sign up for which days you would like to attend, you can add your meals and accommodations to your package as you like!

For more information on this conference, along with a schedule of events & presenters, and registration, check out their website: http://www.altoona.psu.edu/beatles.

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New festival for Fab Four fans: Beatles At The Ridge

Beatles At The Ridge, Walnut Ridge, AR: Sept 20-21It’s been way too long since I’ve posted a review or opinion on this blog, but when I heard about Beatles At The Ridge, I knew I just had to spread the good word!

Beatles At The Ridge is a two day festival in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas created by Charles Snapp in 2011.  It is now in its third year running.  Last year, the crowd size was estimated at over 10,000, but I have a feeling that this fest is going to put the best of all Beatles festivals on guard!  This fest has the potential to become a new mecca for the most diehard fans.

So what connection does Walnut Ridge have to the Beatles?  I’m glad you asked…because Walnut Ridge can boast about their Beatles encounter.  From their website: “A quiet night in 1964 was interrupted by the unusual sound of an airliner approaching Walnut Ridge Airport. Its arrival sparked enough interest that three local teens went to investigate, only to discover John, Paul, Ringo, and George walking from the plane. The Beatles, the biggest rock band in the world, had arrived at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.”  You can read the rest of the story and see pictures here.

This year’s fest will have over 100 vendors (the number is still growing as word gets out about BATR).  Admission is free, parking is free and all entertainment is free.  I don’t think I’ve heard of another Beatles festival that can say that (but I could be wrong).

The entertainment for this two day, three stage event is also growing by the day.  Scheduled to appear this year are: Stan Perkins (son of Carl Perkins), Beatles tribute band – BritBeat, Ringo Starr tribute artist – Ringer Star,  Beatles expert & author – Jude Southerland Kessler, Danny Donuts Yellow Submarine Parade and many more!  There will also be a Beatles costume contest with prizes!  A full list of events can be found here.

In 2012, Beatles at the Ridge won the “Top new Festival” award from the Arkansas Festival and Events Association.

 Beatles At The Ridge will run from Friday, September 20th thru Saturday, September 21st.  For more information, go to: www.BeatlesAtTheRidge.com
I have a feeling this party is truly going to rock and it’s going to put a scare into the owner of many a Beatles fest.  If you go, please check in here and let us know your opinion!

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Music Review: ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by Shannon her B.A.M.F.s

Shannon MacDonald
Shannon MacDonald

There aren’t too many people in this world that would have the nerve to cover a song by John Lennon.  I’ve watched as contestants on various singing competition shows try it…and it can easily end any attempt at fame.

And so that brings me to the latest attempt – Shannon MacDonald’s Tomorrow Never Knows.  Most people know Shannon as ‘The World’s Greatest Beatles Artist’, a title given to her by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.  So one has to wonder, why would her first attempt to make her mark in the music industry be covering a Beatles’ song?

The first thing I noticed when I set out to hear this song for the first time is that it’s 7 mins 38 sec in length.  The original version of the song was just 2 mins 57 sec.   But that initial feeling of ‘I’m going to fall asleep before I hear the end…” quickly went away as I found that the song has the magical ability of wrapping around you like a comfortable blanket and taking you to your happy place.  There is an absolutely peace about this cover that gives you that inner reconciliation like meditating on a high mountain top in the warmth of the sun and a gentle breeze gliding across your cheek.

Absolutely, everyone should take a chance and give this song a listen…and come back here to let me know the feeling that it inspired in you.  I think it will truly be a grand experience for anyone.

Shannon‘s cover of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is currently doing a rapid climb up the charts on ReverbNation and is being noticed by many Beatles’ experts and DJ’s across the U.S..

For those inquiring minds – BAMFs = Bad A** Mother F***ers.

The song is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

The Lennon Examiner – Shelley Germeaux recently interviewed Shannon about her music and this song.  The article is here.

The history behind the writing of the original Beatles version, can be found here.

I rate this song: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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Review: Larry Kane’s ‘Ticket to Ride’ Lecture

Larry Kane's Ticket to Ride

Last night, I attended the first of night of Larry Kane‘s “Ticket to Ride” lecture at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Larry will be giving these presentations every Friday and Saturday throughout March 2010. Note: I’d say the theater was about 3/4 full for this opening night performance.

A little background: I had seen Larry talk during his 2005 book tour for “Lennon Revealed” his second book about The Beatles. Though I never read his first book, “Ticket to Ride”, I anxiously dove into the new one. Back to the present: So when I ordered my $35 ticket to this new 2010 show of his, I had to wonder what he had left to say about his time with the Fab Four.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised! This show was very well done. It opens with a 20 minute video introduction that did make me wonder how much actual talking Larry would do, but once Larry came out after Denny Somach’s introduction, he broke into stories about The Beatles that had still remained untold. The show was produced beautifully and the mix of concert footage and interviews with Larry’s story telling was very well balanced. Larry’s amazing and sometimes shocking stories of his time traveling and interviewing John, Paul, George and Ringo will either make your jaw drop or make you howl with laughter.

After 1 hour 45 mins., Larry was happy to take questions from the audience. And despite Denny Somach’s insistence that Larry wrap it up for the night, Larry was gracious enough to keep saying, “I’ll take one more question”. He honestly loves The Beatles and loves talking about him.

The show was not without its problems. There was a moment when Larry’s outlined lecture was not inline with the cued video, but honestly, this just brought a giggle from the audience and was completely forgivable for an opening night. Larry also bumped his mic several times which can also be dismissed as an opening night faux pas.

Larry Kane is currently working on his 3rd book to be called, “When They Were Boys”. He told me it won’t be published for a couple years, but I know I’m already looking forward to it.

If you are in the Philadelphia/NJ/NY area and can get to Larry Kane’s ‘Ticket to Ride’ show this month, it will be well worth the price of the ticket! For more information, go to www.LarryKane.com or www.FI.edu.

Rating: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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An Intro to Beatles-Freak’s reviews

Good Morning, Good Morning…

I know what you’re all asking yourselves.  “Why?  Why are you reviewing pseudo and faux Beatles?”.

That’s a very good question…and believe you me, I’m still asking myself the same question, “Why am I doing this?!”

The best explanation I can give is this:  The Beatles, whether solo or a group, whether presently or in the past, have been reviewed to death!  Those poor boys couldn’t take a shite without someone telling us all what it looked and smelled like.  I really don’t think anyone, including myself, wants another Beatles review blogger.  If you love the Beatles or are a collector, then you already listen to and buy everything they’ve made, recorded or created.  You don’t need me to tell you whether it’s good or not.

Now some Beatles fans are purists.  These are the folks that don’t want to hear remakes or tribute bands performing covers of the songs they love.  In fact, my father-in-law has this same attitude about U.S. national anthem.  It is to be performed exactly as it was written with no room for artistic license.  And god help the popstar that performs the anthem at a major sporting event should they try to get creative.  And I can respect the opinion of the Beatles purists, but it’s not going to stop people from performing their songs.  Why?  Well, from what I’ve heard from many musicians is that the Lennon/McCartney catalog is “fun”.  Just like we listeners are drawn to the Fab Four’s sound, musicians are drawn to playing their songs.

I’m also not a real fan of the people who have worked with, slept with and done business with the Beatles that have all decided that they need to cash in by writing books.  My dislike for this behavior is almost personal – it’s all TMI (too much information) for me.  It’s the music that turns me on, not every little detail of their lives.  And whether it’s the Beatles or sports, I get a bad taste in my mouth when I encounter so-called “experts” and they want to show off their absolute-no-one-knows-more-than-me knowledge of a topic.

This brings me back to the big question – “Why are you doing this?!”  Because if there must be authors and musicians who are going to try to cash in on The Beatles, then I want to try to help others separate the ‘real’ from the ‘hacks’.

“And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.”

I hope you enjoy my reviews.

/J

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