If you were a twelve year old female when Beatlemania hit in America you should be “all in” for this season’s first Seattle Pops Concert with the Classical Mystery Tour band! (Though Jon enjoyed it, too!) Corn, camp and costumes…take you through the Beatle’s body of musical work with the added live experience of symphonic sounds, something they only did in studios out of the public eye in their later music. If this appeals to you, get a ticket now or forever hold your peace. This was a full house of now sixty-somethings and older who in the end had cell phones appearing from purses and pockets to sway for the encore of the soulful Hey Jude which then turned suddenly to a stand-up Twist and Shout approval of the show. The two shows remaining are this Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.
The wonderful opening overture, written and arranged 30 years ago by Seattle Pops conductor and Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik, sets the stage and sums it up. From the strains of the musically simplistic first hits like I Wanna Hold Your Hand to the energetic symphonic strings added to Eleanor Rigby to the Symphony’s Souza treatment of Yellow Submarine you are primed for all the ear worms of the 60’s and 70’s Beatles and beyond about to come your way in this event.
This is a fun show, especially for those us who “if you remember the 60’s, you are in your 60’s”. My husband’s comment: “all the men look like versions of Bernie Sanders!” The impersonations are a little overdone and the pandering to the audience a bit much especially by Tony Kishman as Paul McCartney. But, in the early years signature waves, gestures and shout-outs were all you could see and hear from The Beatles set against a screaming and swooning mass of young teen-aged girls. The too loud and rather inconsistent (and, at times really annoying) sound system was a problem throughout this night’s performance. Hopefully, this will be remedied for the remaining shows. But, it has a throwback live concert quality to it!
Over twenty iconic songs are sung: some simply with guitars and drums (amped up versions very reminiscent of the early Beatles) to the songs with the symphonic additions to numbers of such originality and oddness as I am the Walrus. Also performed were some of the classic break-out songs that became famous as the band drifted apart and each went out on their own. Imagine from John Lennon (Jim Owen) was a stand out as was George Harrison’s (David John) Something. One is reminded of Starr’s simple crisp drumming (Joseph Bologna) and Harrison’s often overlooked guitar work as well as McCartney’s versatility on instruments and Lennon’s move into the peace movement.
Go Early: The Pops are popular! Parking can be complicated. Benaroya was full except for pre-paid parkers. You can pre-purchase parking in Benaroya Hall for $14 by calling 206-215-4747. We found parking at Cobb Building Parking around the corner and across the street at 324 University for $8. Not bad for a two hour stint. Be warned: after the concert, you have to pay at this garage entrance by machine with your ticket before you go to your car and the line is long.
The Muse Café was jumping pre-show.
Added Bonus: The next two Pops concerts should be equally entertaining. Check them out and get tickets now. February 26th, 8pm, The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony might interest you. And I am looking forward to the March 12th,11am performance of Peter and the Wolf.
There is no doubt the Beatles were a phenomenon as a group and as individuals! Looking back there are plenty of interesting things on Google and YouTube to keep you busy for a good couple of hours.