The Cavern Beatles brought their Beatles tribute show to The Brunton in Musselburgh tonight, and as usual for one of their visits, Venue 1 was pretty much sold out…a tribute not only to the enduring music of The Beatles, but to The Cavern Beatles themselves as a band with the musical ability to re-create for many in the audience a little bit of the yesterdays that have passed for them, and for others maybe a little bit of a yesterday that they wish they had been around to experience.
We all know (well I hope that we do) who The Beatles were, but who are The Cavern Beatles? Well, the answer to that question is Paul Tudhope as John Lennon, Chris O'Neill as Paul McCartney, Rick Alan as George Harrison and Simon Ramsden as Ringo Starr , and together they take us in two sets from the early live performance years, through the “Summer of Love with Sgt Pepper”, and into the final days of the band and the Abbey Road album.
The Cavern Beatles have been around as a band for a long time, and that shows in the tightness of the music and stage presentation as they play their way through so many classic hits. From the opening songs that include “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Please Please Me”, “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”, the audience were firmly with the band for this show’s “Magical Musical Tour”.
There is an almost obligatory format to any Beatles tribute band show, and set two took us right into Sgt Pepper days complete with costumes. I have to admit that this section of any show from any Beatles tribute act is never one of my favourites as the theatrical costumes from that famous album cover can detract a little from the music at times plus, for me, there are just so many Beatles songs not from that period that I like better. The Cavern Beatles though do a great job with this section of the show, and “A Day In The Life” has always on my “favourite list”. A great cover of both “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” from this period too. This double A side 45 single record release always seems to divide any music fan (not just a Beatles one)...which do you prefer?, for me, the answer is always “Penny Lane”.
Our final musical section was one of my favourites though. Songs like “Get Back”, “Revolution”, “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” are simply great songs and leave no one in any doubt that The Beatles as a band broke up, not like so many other bands at a low point in their career, but at an artistic and commercial peak. Always nice to hear George Harrison’s music so well represented too in songs like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Something”. Since I last saw this band in 2015, they have tweaked the set list a little bit, and although there are so many songs from The Beatles back catalogue that an audience simply expect to be played at any of their shows, there are also a few surprises of some not too often heard songs too, and as the band still have shows to play on this tour, I am not telling you what ones they are in this review just in case you are planning to catch up with the band somewhere.
Watching a Cavern Beatles show is a mixture of trying to re-create what was and also play what might have been (all Beatles tribute shows seem to follow this format). The one thing that is so easy now to forget that always shines through apart from the music is that The Beatles were a great live performance band. They could do the job both in a studio and on-stage, and the show gives me a little taste of what I missed and will never see.
Like all good tribute bands, The Cavern Beatles are under no illusions that it is the music of the original Beatles that any audience are coming out to hear and reacting to when played, but to be doing so many sold out shows for so long there has to be a bit more to it than that. Watching members of the audience, it was obvious that The Beatles and their music hold a special place in the hearts of anyone old enough to have lived through that period (and also many too young to have been there), and when you are as a band trying to re-create something so special to people then you have to have more than just the right musical notes played on stage…you have to have a respect and honesty for the original music, and The Cavern Beatles have those qualities. I am sure that no one in the band will disagree with me when I say that no one will ever re-create on stage that magical energy of the original band, but somehow Paul, Chris, Rick and Simon manage to capture some of that energy and more than a little bit of that famous Liverpool humour between them.
For further information on The Cavern Beatles visit.
The Cavern Beatles were kind enough to do a short interview with us a while back, here is the link
Review by Tom King