Next to the albums or seeing Paul or Ringo live, Beatlemania is probably as good as it gets for fans of the Beatles music. My sister and I went to see the show at the Esplanade on Friday, and after killing some time in the museum and art gallery we took our seats in the balcony.
For starters, I've realized that I like the balcony seating in the Esplanade theatre more than those on the floor. The rows are tiered more significantly so you don't feel as bad about standing up during a concert, and the vantage point allows you to witness what's going on across the theatre. That's kind of a big deal, because as much as we enjoyed the music, the ambiance really made the show.
The faux-Beatles covered a series of career highlights as a way of transitioning through the impressive catalogue of hits. Hamburg, Ed Sullivan, Shea Stadium, Returning from India, and Abbey Road Studios were just a few of the highlights incorporated into their costumes and the projections on stage.
While each guy seemed to embody their characters fairly convincingly, it was actually the music that was most impressive. Not only did they sound similar, but they played with the same authentic instruments for each of the songs they were covering. It was especially easy to recognize the classic guitars from the limited edition of Beatles Rockband - I have that Hofner Bass as a controller!
When it comes right down it, where else can you hear all of the highlights of the Beatles career played live on authentic instruments anymore? George nailed his guitar solos, and by the time they got to Come Together it was clear that these guys were talented musicians in their own right. We were singing along the entire time.
The show was also made better because of the people we ended up sitting next to. The lady that ended up next to my sister was only too happy to share the highlights of her travels before the show started and during intermission. I wasn't really paying attention, but my sister was locked in and unable to get a word in edgewise. It reminded me of a Curb Your Enthusiasm situation.
The lady didn't seem to care how anyone reacted to her though, because when Beatlemania started she was one of the first people to stand up and dance enthusiastically by herself. She took things up a notch by randomly shouting things to the band throughout the show, and I couldn't control my laughter at one point when her very reserved husband seemed like he was trying to pull her back into her seat. My God, it was so funny. It was worth being next to her too, because during the second half of the show we didn't want to sit down either.
The lady sitting next to me was a completely different character. She didn't seem to have any rhythm, but really wanted to clap throughout the show (as most of us did as we sang along). I kept trying to help her find the beat by clapping as deliberately as I could, but it was no use. She clapped haphazardly to her own random beat for the entire show (those *clap-pause-clap-claps* can be tricky), and it was just one more thing that made me smile.
After a rousing encore of Hey Jude to close out the show, the cast gathered in the lobby to sign the merchandise on sale. We were pretty slow making our way back downstairs, but it worked out for the best. I bought a program and there was pretty much no line by the time we went to shake their hands and get the group to sign it. They were really entertaining guys, and their banter was hilarious. Who knew a cover band would be so good? Not since Beatles Love have I been so impressed.
In short, an entertaining hangout for my sister and I.