To borrow a line from The Beatles’ 1963 chart-topper, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?,” written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon (not Lennon-McCartney, as they are usually billed) and their first Top 10 hit to feature George Harrison on lead vocals: “Listen (do dah do), do you want to know a secret (do dah do) …” listening to the Fab Four of 1964 The Tribute are as close as any of us will ever come to hearing the original Fab Four in person. They are the crème de la crème of Beatles tribute shows; and they really rocked The Carolina Theatre of Durham for more than two hours on Friday, Nov. 4th, with their soundalike singing and note-for-note instrumental recreations of 40 hand-clapping, toe-tapping original tunes and covers from The Beatles’ pre-June 1967 catelogue, before the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band rocketed the four lads from Liverpool into the rock-and-roll stratosphere. After Sgt. Pepper, rock-and-roll marched to a decidedly different (psychedelic) drummer.
The lineup of Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA-based Nine Entertainment’s Nov. 4th presentation of 1964 The Tribute included two of the Ohio group’s 1984 co-founders: Mark Benson, who plays gum-cracking lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist John Lennon with all Lennon’s trademark cheek, and Tom Work, who has sparks flying from his fingertips as incendiary lead guitarist and occasional vocalist George Harrison. Natural right-hander Mac Ruffing, who taught himself to play Paul McCartney’s trademark Hofner bass left-handed, is a real charmer who shares lead vocal duties; and Bobby Potter provides occasional vocals and pounds out a backbeat a la Ringo Starr in crowd-pleasing fashion.
The three lads from Akron, Ohio and their drummer from Indiana had The Carolina Theatre audience up on its feet, clapping, screaming, and dancing in the aisles from their opening number; and 1964 The Tribute joyfully surfed that tsunami of adulation from first note to last. They reminded Baby Boomers — and showed their children and grandchildren — what Beatlemania was all about while performing all or part of 40 different numbers. (Old fossils, such as yours truly, could have sung along, word for word.)
The first set included “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1963); “I Saw Her Standing There” (Paul McCartney and John Lennon, 1963); “From Me to You” (McCartney-Lennon, 1963); “Please Please Me” (John Lennon, 1963); “All My Loving” (Paul McCartney, 1963); The Donays’ 1961 hit “Devil in Her Heart” (Richard Drapkin, 1962); The Shirelles 1960 hit “Boys” (Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell, 1960); “This Boy” (John Lennon, 1963); “A Hard Day’s Night” (John Lennon, 1964); “I Should’ve Known Better” (John Lennon, 1964); “If I Fell” (John Lennon, 1964); “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party” (John Lennon, 1964); “I’m A Loser” (John Lennon, 1964); a medley of “Honey Don’t” (Carl Perkins, 1956) and “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” (Carl Perkins, 1957); “Can’t Buy Me Love” (Paul McCartney, 1964); “Paperback Writer” (McCartney-Lennon, 1966).
The second set included The Isley Brothers’ 1962 hit “Twist And Shout” (Phil Medley and Bert Berns, 1961); “The Night Before” (Paul McCartney, 1965); “You Can’t Do That” (John Lennon, 1964); a medley of “If I Needed Someone” (George Harrison, 1965), “What You’re Doing” (Paul McCartney, 1964), “I Call Your Name” (John Lennon, 1964), and “Eight Days A Week” (McCartney-Lennon, 1964); “Drive My Car” (Paul McCartney, 1965); “Ticket to Ride” (John Lennon, 1965); “In My Life” (Lennon-McCartney, 1965); “And Your Bird Can Sing” (John Lennon, 1966); “Taxman” (George Harrison, 1966); Buck Owens and The Buckaroos 1963 hit “Act Naturally” (Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison, 1963); “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” (Lennon-McCartney, 1965); “Michelle” (McCartney-Lennon, 1965); “Nowhere Man” (John Lennon, 1965); “Help!” (John Lennon, 1965); “Day Tripper” (Lennon-McCartney, 1965); and “She Loves You” (Lennon-McCartney, 1963).
The group’s four encores included “Rock And Roll Music” (Chuck Berry, 1957); “Matchbox” (Carl Perkins, 1957); “Roll Over Beethoven” (Chuck Berry, 1956); and Little Richard’s 1956 hit “Long Tall Sally” (Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, Enotris Johnson, and Little Richard, 1956).
1964 THE TRIBUTE (Nine Entertainment, Nov. 4 in Fletcher Hall at The Carolina Theatre of Durham).
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.1964site.com/#/video/.
AUDIO SAMPLES: http://www.1964site.com/#/audio/.
The Beatles (English rock band, formed in 1960 in Liverpool): http://www.thebeatles.com/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/thebeatles (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/thebeatles (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles (Wikipedia).
1964 The Tribute (Beatles’ tribute band, formed in 1984): http://www.1964site.com/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/1964-The-Tribute-110914525593347/ (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/1964press (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_the_Tribute (Wikipedia).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
EDITOR’S NOTE: Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)