Twist and shout for this fab four!
by Eileen Leahy | 17th October 2018
Beatlemania lives on courtesy of one of the most successful tribute bands around. Martin Hutchinson meets The Bootleg Beatles, who play this Saturday
Originally an American production, ‘Beatlemania!’ came to London’s West End and toured the country to great acclaim. When the tour ended, the four members of the band didn’t know what to do, so they decided to carry on as The Bootleg Beatles and began touring again in 1980.
The show grew in size and stature, and this fab four are just about the best at what they do.
They are so good, in fact, that last year they played with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at shows celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The quartet of musicians has changed since 1980, and the current line-up features Tyson Kelly as John, Steve White as Paul, Stephen Hill as George and Gordon Elsmore as Ringo.
The show is in four sections and is performed in chronological order, says Steve.
“The first half starts with us doing the Mop Tops era, and then Sgt Pepper as we introduce more musicians (a small orchestra in fact) so we can do songs like All You Need Is Love.
“After the interval, it’s generally the Magical Mystery era, and then Abbey Road.”
Is it a full-time job keeping on top of the shows?
“Yes, the research never ends,” says Steve. “There’s always new and better footage coming to light, which we all watch to get all the subtle nuances of their mannerisms. We never feel we’ve got it completely nailed and that keeps it fresh.”
It’s hard work taking the show around the world, but surely it must be very rewarding?
“Yes, the hours are very gruelling and the schedules are quite punishing, and we travel the world but never see it, but the connection you have with the audience more than makes up for it,” says Steve. “We involve the audience as much as we can, and when you see the room reacting with people singing and clapping, it’s very rewarding and fulfilling.”
After celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper, the band is celebrating again. This time it’s the White Album’s 50th, and Steve says that ‘quite a chunk’ of this tour will be dedicated to that album.
It contained tracks such as Back in The USSR, Dear Prudence, Ob-La-Di-Ob’La-Da, Blackbird and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
“There’s going to be a lot of songs we’ve never done before, and that part of the show has been revamped,” reveals Steve. “But I don’t want to spoil the surprise by naming the songs.”
I guess you’ll just have to go and find out for yourselves…