18-23 April 2016
A helter skelter slide round the Beatles songbook.
I counted 38 great-sounding performances in a two and half hour show with a 15 minute interval.
Let It Be begins with Paparazzi cameras flashing, girls screaming, and multiple, nostalgic projections from that ‘special’’ decade…
The show takes us from the Cavern Club, through the famous ‘shake your jewelry’ Royal Variety performance to the Shea Stadium ‘happening’ – we see and hear as good a Beatles covers band as you’re likely to encounter. Multiple costume changes, amusingly performed character observations, ‘fab’ harmonies, witty banter – all mixed up with Rickenbackers, Epiphone’s, Les Paul’s, psychedelic Stratocasters,Vox amps, dazzling, realistic lighting and sumptuous, inventive projection montages of each musical/cultural phase – documentary footage, comical 60’s adverts, spoken Beatles quotes, and filtered 60-esque video of the Let It Be band projected onto two retro TV’s, either side of the stage throughout – a feast for eyes and ears.
The first half of the show is a chronology of classic tracks and performances, three or four from each famous gig. We get – I Saw Her Standing There, Twist and Shout, a solo Paul doing Yesterday, and a cacophonous Day Tripper from the Shea Stadium concert.
Then onto the tunes the Beatles never toured, with help from a clever fifth Beatle on keyboards supplying the needed orchestration for the more complex numbers – Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (and reprise)- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, When I’m 64. The first half ends suitably with A Day In The Life.
Act Two begins with Magical Mystery Tour and some dreamy, gossamer-like bubble projections – we get Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and All You Need Is Love. Somehow this managed to not be clichéd psychedelia – the look and feel achieved through a contemporary technological lens.
Thereafter the fine musicianship of the Let It Be band comes to the fore – with an acoustic set featuring Blackbird, Here Comes The Sun and In My Life. We effortlessly slide back into electric performance with the perfectly executed Clapton solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps – the highlight for me, followed by the classic Abbey Road medley from Golden Slumbers to The End.
Two encores pelt out Revolution and Get Back and the show concludes, inevitably with a cathartic outpouring of Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hey Jude.
Throughout, the band perform the tracks with great skill – guitar lines and harmonies are delivered with aplomb, the backbeat is tight and loud and lead vocals powerful and Beatle-like.
The stagecraft is lovingly realized, costumes are bang-on, and the lights and projections complement the music intelligently and highlight tremendous creativity in multimedia.
The audience – mainly seniors but with many kids and twenty/thirty/forty somethings in the mix – sang, clapped, screamed, danced and waved their phones in the air, and left the auditorium with palpable grins on their faces.
The only downside for me was the absence of performances from Revolver – a personal favourite.
Nevertheless, walking to the car after the show my ten-year old daughter turned to me and said – ‘that was awesome dad’.
If you need a pick-me-up from the cynical, binary machine of modernity – go have a knees-up with Let It Be. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Reviewer: Cal Egan