Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Visions of John...

I went to see The Bootleg Beatles play the other night. I've been seeing their ads in the back pages of Mojo and Uncut for years now, and I've read that they are supposed to be the best Beatles' tribute band I am ever likely to see.
Guess what? They were.
I've seen the Beatnix, The Fab Four and quite a few others over the years; all good, but these guys were better.
The first half of the show concentrated, logically, on the early Beatles, and reminded me of the 1964 Melbourne Festival Hall show. Without the screaming.
As I watched, I became lost in the performance. I knew I wasn't actually watching The Beatles, but I forgot I was watching a tribute band, if that makes sense. It was more like watching a big screen video of The Beatles. Between songs, it was all too obvious that this wasn't them, despite the banter being pretty good. But while they were playing, though, I was caught up in the whole thing.
The second half of the show dealt with the so-called 'studio years' and, although most of the songs were excellent, I didn't feel the same connection. I think it's because we have a wealth of early live footage available to watch and become familiar with, while there are only a few film clips and one rooftop concert covering the second half of The Beatles' career. This gives us a more flexible mental template upon which to apply performances of the early songs, whereas the later stuff has only ever been seen/heard once, if you get what I am saying. It makes nuance more congruent and tolerable in the presentation of the songs from those heady days of Beatlemania.

I'll shut up now before I mention aeolian cadence...

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