Let me start this post with an admission. I’ve never really been a fan of The Beatles (much to my dad’s dismay) and despite enjoying a couple of their songs I’ve never quite “gotten” the buzz that surrounds them and the musical legacy they left behind, so when I went along to the Regent Theatre last night with Hannah I was
Let It Be (from director and musical supervisor John Maher) which opened in London’s West End in 2012 has recently begun UK tour and has been seen by over 500,000 people to date.
The show is a theatrical concert spanning the duration of the fab fours rise to Beatlemania fame and begins at the The Cavern in Liverpool, the starting point of The Beatles and is the first “venue” of the concert. From those humble beginnings in Liverpool through to the Royal Variety Performance, a roaring concert at New York City’s Shea Stadium, a colourful flower power tribute to Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and ending with one of the final live shows: the rooftop performance of the Apple Corps building.
The Beatles made up of actor/musicians Emanuele Angeletti (Paul McCartney), Michael Gagliano (John Lennon), Stephen Hill (George Harrison) and Luke Roberts (Ringo Starr) (the company has two bands who play alternate nights) perform a total of 40 of the biggest Beatles hits including (my personal favourites) Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, Come Together, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, In My Life.
Luke Roberts (Ringo Starr) captured the essence of Ringo Starr completely and provided surprising comedy reprise throughout the performances. A particular highlight of the show for me was Emanuele Angeletti’s (George Harrison) performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” which gave me absolute goosebumps – what is it about a guitar riff that leaves me in this state? Answers on a postcard please.
It was impossible throughout the duration of the show not to sing along, tap your feet and (on occasion) deliver some dance moves befitting of the swinging 60’s (we were actually complimented by the lady behind us on our moves). One of the things which I love about music is its ability to unite different groups of people or generations. This was evident in the mixed audience of last nights show. From those of my grandparents age who were around during The Beatles era and may have been lucky enough to see the band perform back in the day, through to those of my parents age who caught the tail end of the phenomena and then to those of my age who in 2014 still hold The Beatles in such high regard and continue to buy the albums, visit Liverpool (Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, Abbey Road etc) and sup a pint in The Cavern Club.
& then there’s those with it all still to come.
Two rows infront of us sat a family with their little girl of around 5 years old. From the moment the stage curtain came up she was turning to her mum and dad, singing along and dancing to the music. It was refreshing to see the music The Beatles being passed down to a younger generation, much like my dad had attempted to do with me (he succeeded in some ways). With the often Simon Cowell induced rise of manfactured bands diluting the music scene nowadays and young girls picking a boys face over his musical ability, there was something heartwarming about seeing this little girl enjoy the music of a band who (despite their “One Direction”esque hysteria at the time) were not only talented individually as artists but as a group who marked a giant leap for music as we know it today.
Closing the show with the highly anticipated “Hey Jude” the majority of the audience were on their feet, swaying, clapping and singing along to every word and left the theatre feeling as though they had actually seen the fab four in concert… only 50 years on and in Stoke-on-Trent, proving that the music of The Beatles surely has stood the test of time.
And me, the “I never really got The Beatles and the buzz that surrounds them“? I bloody loved it and swallowed humble pie as I admitted defeat by texting my dad to tell him so. I also currently have a Beatles fan creating me a “must listen” playlist of hidden Beatles pleasures.
Job well done, Let It Be, I’m converted.
Let It Be will be showing at the Regent Theatre until Saturday 5th April. You can buy tickets online or via the box office.