1964 The Tribute!

Clever take-off of the Rubber Soul album cover!

Clever take-off of the Rubber Soul album cover!

So last Friday I was fortunate enough to see yet another Beatle tribute band, 1964 the Tribute, in concert with my friend. It was sort of a spontaneous decision, but I’m glad we went because it was a really fun outing!

These guys have been around for a while. They formed sometime in the 1980s, presumably with rotating members since then. Unlike some others I’ve seen, this band specializes in the material from the Beatles’ touring years (1963-1966). As such, they don’t play any of the Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road-era stuff. However, that didn’t really bother me because they played obscure early stuff that I loved, like George’s “Don’t Bother Me” from With The Beatles and “It’s Only Love” from Help. I also loved the encore medley they did with all early Beatle covers like “Money,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Rock and Roll Music,” and “Matchbox”.

Musically, I thought they sounded great. The instruments were all Beatle-accurate, and they had a lefty Paul, which is a major sticking point with me and Beatle tribute bands. It may seem nit-picky, but for me, if the Paul guy isn’t left-handed, it just doesn’t look right and throws my impression off.

So how do these guys compare to the likes of The Fab Four or The Fab Faux in terms of Beatle-tribute excellence? Well, I personally preferred the guys, looks-wise, in The Fab Four. I thought the John in 1964 The Tribute was actually the best I’ve seen; he was amazing and sounded and looked a lot like John. Honestly though, I liked the Paul, Ringo, and especially George in The Fab Four better in just about every aspect. I also don’t think 1964 was quite as instrumentally perfect as either of the other two bands.

However, this is not to say that these guys weren’t good; in reality, it’s the opposite. One thing I loved about 1964 was how funny they were, definitely the funniest Beatle tribute band I’ve seen. Some of their jokes were a little far-fetched for the actual Beatles (would George really insult John’s guitar playing on stage and promote his own? I don’t think so), but overall they were edgy and really entertaining. One hilarious moment came when “George” was talking about some guitar thing that he gave to Eric Clapton, and “John” quipped, “Is that all you gave him?”
Yes, I, George’s biggest fan, laughed at this joke. It was genuinely funny. I guess George-Eric-Pattie wife swapping jokes are still in style…? 🙂

Do other Beatle tribute bands offer a more comprehensive look at the Beatles than 1964? Yes; I think for pure accuracy and entertainment value, The Fab Four are still my #1 choice. However, would I recommend 1964 The Tribute to Beatle fans? Absolutely; they definitely do the Beatles’ music and legacy justice. I really enjoyed seeing them and if they come to a nearby theater soon, I would love to see them again.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoy the start of September and thank you to anyone who regularly or occasionally reads this! I’m glad you find my endless Beatley/musical rants entertaining!

Christmas Time Is Here Again! Part 2

Stay warm this holiday season everyone!

Stay warm this holiday season everyone!

Hello again! Today I will continue my post from a couple of days ago and post some more cheerful, festive, rocking Christmas songs for you all to enjoy! Even if you don’t actually celebrate Christmas, these songs are fantastic songs in their own right, and anyone can enjoy them. So, without further ado, here are some more awesome rock Christmas songs!

Elton John- Step Into Christmas

I am kind of obsessed with this video, because Elton is just so silly and goofy throughout. He always makes me smile! And this might be the only place where you can see Elton “playing” a guitar. It’s pretty funny. And the song itself is wonderful! It’s so cheery and happy, which is what Christmas should always be like!

Elton John- Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)

This song is kind of strange, but it’s also hilarious. What exactly is a “bearded weird” anyway? I have no clue. But enjoy!

The Fab Four- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Yes, I do know that obviously they didn’t write this song, but I am in love with their fun, Beatley cover of it! The whole Hark album is like this, all traditional Christmas carols done with a Beatley twist. And once again, in this video, Gavin Pring is an absolute dead wringer for George Harrison. My love. 🙂

George Harrison- Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

So I guess this isn’t actually a Christmas song, but it does remind me of what I think the holidays are all about: showing your family and friends how much you love and care about them. Plus, the phrase “peace on earth” is often used in a Christmas setting. So there you have it! A bonafide George Harrison Christmas song!

The Who- Christmas

Again, this wasn’t really written as a Christmas song because it’s from the Tommy album, which was written as a rock opera. But it’s called “Christmas,” so I had to include it here! What a great album!

Tom Petty- Christmas All Over Again

This is an absolutely wonderful song, written by the awesome Tom Petty! This song is basically what I imagine Christmas in California is like; everyone hanging out by the beach, jamming with guitars. Of course, that’s probably an inaccurate assumption, but whatever.

So I think that’s enough songs for now, but I will leave you with a final, Beatley Christmas message. Enjoy the holidays everybody!

My “Guilty Pleasure” Songs

I admit, this picture is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine... :)

I admit, this picture is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine… 🙂

Sorry for posting neither Beatle covers nor Sheldon Cooper moments as promised, but I had another idea for a post today. I’m not really sure if these songs qualify as “guilty pleasures” in the traditional sense, but for whatever reason, I feel just the teensiest bit guilty for liking them. I don’t know why, since they don’t really go against my typical music taste, but regardless, here they are! It’s a pretty random assortment of songs, which might represent my inner turmoil and confusion over liking them.

Wonderful Christmastime- Paul McCartney

This is one of those Paul songs that people either love or hate with a burning passion. I personally feel obligated to love it, since it’s Paul, but I do concede that it’s not one of his best songs. Nevertheless, I still cheer when this comes on the radio during the holiday season!

The Bitch is Back- Elton John

This song was banned on several radio stations around the world in the 1970s for the use of the word “bitch,” which I think is a bit of an overreaction. After all, it’s an extremely catchy song, and it actually refers to Elton himself! But for whatever reason, I feel slightly guilty for liking it. Maybe because the word “bitch” is used so many times throughout the song that by the end, it doesn’t even sound like a word. Oh well, I still love the song!

Stronger- Kanye West

Here it is, the one rap song from this century that I actually don’t mind! Normally, I don’t enjoy the rap genre at all, but for some strange reason, I like this song.
This is the first and last time that Kanye will be mentioned on this blog.

Good King Wenceslas- The Fab Four

The only reason that I feel guilty about liking this reworking of the Beatles’ “Tell Me What You See” is because I actually like it better than the original Beatles song. I rarely, if ever, say that about a cover or remix of a Beatles song, but “Tell Me What You See” is the only Beatles song that I just don’t like, and I think that this holiday spin on it is really good. If you’re into the Beatles and you like holiday music, check out the entire Hark! album by The Fab Four (yes, that tribute band I keep blabbing on about).
This is the first and last time that I will say anything negative about a Beatles song on this blog.

Fingertips- They Might Be Giants

This isn’t really a song. It’s more like a collection of approximately 10-second long random song-like tunes that appear on the second half of the album Apollo 18 by They Might Be Giants. My family probably quotes things from this at least once a day, if not more. The best part of this compilation of “songs” is when your iPod is on shuffle, and after listening to a really long, brooding song like “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by the Beatles, something random from Fingertips will come on and completely ruin the mood. I find it hilarious when that happens!

The Lumberjack Song- Monty Python

Okay, so I don’t really feel GUILTY for liking this, because it’s a really goofy and funny song! Still, since Monty Python isn’t exactly a musical group, I felt compelled to include it here. I read recently that during one of the live Python shows, George Harrison came onstage in a Canadian Mounty outfit to sing this song. Apparently, almost no one in the audience recognized him. Oh George, always flying under the radar… But not to me!!! 🙂

Notice how there are no Beatles or George Harrison songs in this post. That should be rather telling. I don’t feel guilty at all for liking the Beatles or George, in any situation!!!
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m sure that I’ll come up with more “guilty pleasure” songs of mine to include in a future post. Have a great week!

The Fab Faux

The members of the Fab Faux, from left to right: Rich Pagano, Frank Agnello, Will Lee, Jimmy Vivino, and Jack Petruzzelli

The members of the Fab Faux, from left to right: Rich Pagano, Frank Agnello, Will Lee, Jimmy Vivino, and Jack Petruzzelli

I only have one word for this fantastic, New York based Beatle tribute band that I had the pleasure of seeing live last night… WOW!!!!!!!! They are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!
I can’t even accurately describe how wonderful this concert was. They played for almost 3 hours, doing a whole slew of Beatles classics in the first half and playing Abbey Road in its entirety in the second half. I was absolutely floored by their incredible musicianship and vocal talent in every song! Even though I was sitting way up in the balcony, it didn’t matter. The music was loud, the atmosphere was fun, and I sang along to every song as loud as I could!

It’s really hard for me to choose a favorite moment of the show, since they played so many songs. I loved that they did And Your Bird Can Sing, and Strawberry Fields Forever was absolutely outstanding with an extended percussion section at the end. The harmonies throughout the show were spot on, especially during Nowhere Man, and I loved the raucous encores of She Loves You and Twist and Shout. However, my favorite moment of the show came during While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The performance was amazing, and the guy who played the guitar solo definitely did Eric Clapton justice. But, just as I thought the song was over, I heard the Anthology 3 version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Only that part wasn’t played live; I heard the actual recording with George’s voice being played! As soon as I heard the gentle, soothing voice of my sweet George coming through the sound system, I got a little choked up. I think I almost cried. It was a very emotional moment for me! It seemed like George was really there in spirit, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps definitely got the loudest applause of the night.
This video isn’t from the concert I attended, but you get the idea. What a thrill to hear them playing George’s song, and then to hear George’s actual voice!

As soon as the show was over, I was trying to decide whether I liked The Fab Faux or The Fab Four better. It’s a very different experience seeing the Fab Faux as opposed to the Fab Four live. With The Fab Faux, it’s more than four guys on stage and they’re not dressed like the Beatles, so you don’t get the sense that you’re actually seeing the Beatles live like you do with The Fab Four. However, The Fab Faux played for about an hour longer than the Fab Four did, and they were such great musicians that I didn’t even mind that they weren’t exactly imitating the Beatles. I think that any Beatle fan will enjoy both bands. I certainly did, and you’d be hard pressed to top either The Fab Faux or The Fab Four as far as paying tribute to the Beatles is concerned! Definitely see them if you have the chance!
I’m really hoping to attend their tribute concert to George for his 70th birthday in NYC in October. Imagine an entire concert with George songs! Besides actually seeing George Harrison live, which of course I’ll never get to do, this would be the next best thing.

Anyway, the Beatles rock, and the Fab Faux do too!

A Fantastic Day In My Life

Obviously, if I could choose between seeing the Beatles live and seeing a Beatles tribute band live, I’d choose the real Beatles. But, seeing as that’s not possible, the next best thing is to see a band paying tribute to the Beatles in every possible way, with Beatles-era wigs, instruments, and outfits, in additon to sounding like them and being thoroughly entertaining to watch. If you’re a Beatle fan looking for a tribute band with all of these characteristics, look no further than The Fab Four! They are a California-based Beatle tribute band that does shows all over the place. Their main cast members are Ron McNeil (John), Ardy Sarraf (Paul), Gavin Pring (George… More on Gavin later), and Erik Fidel (Ringo). And I was lucky enough to see them live in Huntington on December 28th!

I actually have to thank the Mets on this post, because it was at a Mets game where I first discovered The Fab Four. There were free tickets being given away to see The Fab Four in Huntington, and I got excited because the concert was close to where I live! After that, I watched many videos of them on Youtube, and determined that they were by far the closest thing to seeing the real Beatles live. And you have no idea how excited I was when I found out that “George” AKA Gavin Pring is actually from Liverpool! Furthermore, he looks a lot like George! See for yourself:

Which one is George and which one is Gavin?

Which one is George and which one is Gavin?

Gavin is in the middle. George is on either side. The resemblance is uncanny. I probably spent about 90% of the show I was at just staring at Gavin. And once, I think he saw me and smiled! That was exciting!

The regular Paul guy, Ardy Sarraf, wasn’t at the show I was at, but based on the videos of him I’ve seen, he is a fantastic Paul! he even plays guitar and bass lefty, just like Paul! Check this out:

Ardy Sarraf

Ardy Sarraf

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney

Ron and Erik were fabulous as John and Ringo as well! So, if you have a chance to see The Fab Four live, definitely do so! You will be amazed!