Tag Archives: concerts

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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Review: The Beatles – Ticket to Rider

Ticket to RiderWP_20151205_002[1]Yesterday, my husband and I had the pleasure of attending Rider University’s first ever Beatles conference – Ticket to Rider. The host of the event was Dr. Stephen Allena music professor at Rider University. This 5 hour event was held in the Bart Luedeke Center and included both speakers and a concert.

 

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Dr. Kenneth Womack, a professor at Monmouth University and the author of several books about The Beatles opened the conference with his lecture ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: The Evolving Artistry of The Beatles’. I believe this is my third or fourth time seeing Ken give this talk and it probably won’t be my last. Each time he changes it just a little and adds something new to the mix.

Victoria DeLena, a student of Popular Music Studies at Rider, gave an excellent speech titled, ‘From Me to You: Through sound and emotion.’ She compare the today’s pop music to that of the Beatles and was able to show the similarities and influence the Beatles had on such contemporary bands such as Tame Impala.

Alan LeBouf talked about his life as an international Paul McCartney impersonator in such productions as Beatlemania, Liverpool Legends and All You Need is Love…to name a few.

Dr. Stephen Allen was the last to speak. His talk, ‘Concerning the Curious Case of Mr. John Lennon’ presented some very interesting and new theories about the connection between Lennon’s lyrics and his relationship to his mother.

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After a dinner break, the second half of the event was filled with the musical talents of The Princeton Brass Band (led by Dr. Allen) and the musical talents of Alan LeBouf. Combined, they had the audience singing, swaying and laughing along with the music.

A great time was had by all…and I hope they do it again next year!

 

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Book Review: “It’s Sid Bernstein Calling” by Sid Bernstein

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but the fact that I started reading this book this week became really surreal when I realized, it’s been two years this week since Sid departed this earth.  And throughout this week, while reading It’s Sid Bernstein Calling, there have been a lot of other coincidences too.  Just as I put the book down for a moment, something will come on TV or someone will bring up a topic that I just read about in this book.  Makes me think Sid’s still with us.

What a wonderful man Sid was.  I had the pleasure of meeting him twice in my lifetime and he was a joy to be around.  And I attended the memorial tribute they had for him in NYC where I ran into the lovely May Pang while standing in line.

May and I at Sid Bernstein tribute show Feb. 2014

May and I at Sid Bernstein tribute show Feb. 2014

Once again, I digress.

This book was a real surprise to me.  I had no idea what an incredible man Sid Bernstein was beyond his dealings with bring the Beatles to America and a few other various artists.  Sid Bernstein was in WW1…in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.  He started managing musicians when he was just 14 years old and never stopped.  And this book is written, just as if Sid were sitting in front of you, modestly telling it to you himself.  Not only did he represent some of the biggest names in show business, he rejected some of the biggest names in show business (Barbra Streisand!).

Sid’s book is out of print, but you can still buy new and used copies at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Half.com.

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

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Book Review: ‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac’ by Dee Elias

'Confessions of a Beatlemaniac' by Dee Elias

‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac’ by Dee Elias

‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac’ by Dee Elias

I had the pleasure of meeting Dee Elias at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and finding out about her book ‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac: A true story of a fan who broke all the rules to meet the Beatles!‘  Without even reading a word, I got the impression that Dee’s story is going to become huge among other Beatles fans.

Though this book is currently listed on Amazon.com as being for ages 10 – 18, it’s definitely a multi-generational read.  Taken from the pages of Dee’s diary when she was 14-16 years old, this book tells of the extent to which Dee, her friends and many other Beatlemaniacs would go to just to get close to the Beatles.   This is the story of how she honed her technique by managing to meet other stars like Sonny & Cher and Simon & Garfunkel.

Why did she wait so long to tell her story?  When I spoke with her at the fest, she said not only did she think no one would be interested, she also was still keeping her antics a secret from her parents 50 years later!

If you’re looking for a fun book directly from the heart of a true Beatle fan who was THERE, you’ll enjoy this quick (168 page) read.  (And you absolutely won’t want to miss the story of Dee’s encounter with Billy J. Kramer!)

This book is available for Kindle at Amazon.com.  Paperbacks are available exclusively through Dee’s website: www.ConfessionsOfABeatleManiac.com.

You can follow Dee on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Confessionsofabeatlemaniac 

 

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles

 

 

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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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Movie Review: The Love We Make (Documentary)

I have the honor of getting an advance copy of Paul McCartney’s 9/11 documentary’The Love We Make’.  This movie will debut on Showtime on September 10th.

This film isn’t what I thought it was going to be.  Done in black & white, the camera follows Paul in New York City in his travels from October 11, 2001 to October 23, 2001 and his day-to-day dealings to organize and prepare for The Concert for New York, a benefit concert that was held on October 20, 2001.  If you were expecting a 90 minute film on Paul’s reaction to 9/11, then you will be truly disappointed.  If you’re a McCartney fan that wants to see what it’s like to be Sir Paul, then this film is for you.

During TV and radio interviews leading up to the concert, Paul touches on issues dealing with how he’s dealt with grief in his life, how he deals with the conflict of being a pacifist after the devastation of 9/11 and how he came to the realization that he needed to do something while sitting in a plane on the tarmac watching the twin towers burn.

Mixed in with the interviews are Paul and his band rehearsing for The Concert for New York with many guest cameos as Paul discusses debuting his new song, “Freedom” for the first time at the show.  Celebrities to watch for in this documentary: Ozzy Osbourne, Howard Stern, Barbara Walters, Pete Townsend, Bill Clinton, Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jim Carey…along with many more.

There are moments when Paul reminisces about the days with the Beatles and is even asked at one point, “Wouldn’t this be a perfect opportunity for the remaining Beatles to get back together”.  (Watch the movie for the answer!)   And it was interesting to see Paul once again trying to outrun his fans in NYC.

Though not a true post 9/11 documentary, I believe this is a must see for more than just McCartney fans.  There are moments that will just give you goosebumps.

Check the Showtime website for their multiple scheduled airtimes over the next week…you won’t want to miss this!  This movie will also be available On-Demand starting September 11th.

On December 6, 2011, this documentary became available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

So how would I rate a documentary by an actual Beatle?  You’d be crazy if you think I’d give it anything less than…

I rate this movie: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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