Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I'm 64?

The experience seeing the Beatles cover band Abbey Road LIVE! on Monday night was quite simply, nothing but fun. Half the fun was the enthusiasm that my old high-school friend Randy generated from up in Gloucester, Mass. as he planned a trip to NC to visit his parents and to introduce everyone down here to his new girlfriend. When he e-mailed his desire to see Abbey Road (particularly fuelled by the fact that he had planned on seeing the Beatles cover band Beetlejuice up in Boston until the frontman--former lead singer of the band Boston--committed suicide), he framed the outing as one for those whose social lives are not constrained by having kids. To this, I thought, "Oh, no he di-n't." I wanted in. Randy made sure we all had advanced tickets and also that we were souped up and in the Cradle well before the first note hit.

And from the first note to the end of the third set (yes, there were three sets--the encore was so extensive, it constitutes a third set), it was nothing but fun. This was a Sgt. Pepper's 40th reunion show, so the first set was the entire Sgt. Pepper's album, which alone would have been good enough for me. But then came the second set with lots of favorites (especially from Abbey Road), a birthday tribute with cake, candles and the audience singing "Happy Birthday" to the drummer (yes, of course, after the band sang "(They say it's your)Birthday") and then the encore that went on and on at at one point teased us with a delightful intro to "Centerfold" by the J. Giles Band.

Just as promised, this Fab Four was supported by a horn section, a sitar, and a stringed section led by a stone-faced violinist who refused to have fun. Let's call her Eleanor Rigby. How can you not crack a smile during an all-out version of "Good Morning, Good Morning?" There was incense. There was love. There were hugs and high fives and silly costume changes. One band member exclaimed, "I love this town! We didn't know what to expect on a Monday night," and then looking at the full (but not too full) venue, "but this is perfect!" The band played probably something like 30-35 songs, and even if you didn't know every word to those particular 35 songs, I'd bet the majority of music lovers, even just music likers aged, oh, say, 16-76 know damn near every word to 35 Beatles songs they they select from the very long list. (Grace is only 5 and knows at least 3 or 4 Beatles songs by heart). That's the thing about the Beatles: they're music is ubiquitous and you know their songs without even trying. I read that another band member said, "One of the most enjoyable things for me is watching how many people sing along to every word. It's amazing to me that 40 years after this music came out and with all the changes pop music has gone through, the music of the Beatles is still so popular." (and relevant, added Randy's friend).

We grew up listening to Abbey Road. I listened to this over and over on the record player as a kid, and was fascinated with the details of the album cover. My dad must have bought it when it came out Fall of 1969, because I remember him saying that "Here Comes the Sun" was the first song that he ever played for his first-born, his son, in April, 1970. And then in High School when I was hospitalized for a few days with pneumonia, my dad made me some tapes to listen to on my walkman as I lay there struggling to breathe. Abbey Road was one of them. George Harrison is my favorite Beatle, and "Here Comes the Sun" is my favorite Beatles song. It's really hard to pick a favorite Beatles song, but I insisted the group all do so Monday night...and also to pick the Stones or the Beatles and all picked the Beatles except for Uncle Matty who said, "It depends," and "That's like comparing apples to oranges," but he was just being contrary. So for me with "Here Comes the Sun," it's boils down to the fact that there's no Beatles song that I enjoy listening to more. It's a simple, unassuming, beautiful song, full of hope and the promise of a better day. And for me that combination will always be relevant.


KevAlex said...

We always mention that we have similar music tastes. That is def my favorite Beatle song too. George Harrison is awesome. He really took over toward the end of the Beatles reign didn't he?

Bird Spot said...

Yes we do, and I'm wondering who your top 5 bands are that you would like to see live today...because chances are, they're my faves too.

BTW, I had no idea HCTS was such a favorite Beatle're the second person today that says that's their fave. RIP, George!

peb said...

What! How come I wasn't aware of this show? I need to plug myself into the scene a little bit more.

Narrowing down my favorite Beatles songs to just one would be too hard for me, but I might have picked the Stones just to be contrary.

Bird Spot said...

Well they said, "See ya in the fall" so sounds like they'll be coming back. If I organize the next go 'round you'll be sure to know about it.