Friday, 21 March 2008
They Love You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
On Wednesday night Oxford experienced Bootleg Beatlemania. It wasn't nearly as manic as the original Beatlemania, but then again the crowd had a lot of gray hair, bad hips and extra flab. Still, I love a good Beatles tribute band and the Bootlegs are big business, complete with multiple costume changes, projected images and four extra musicians (adding French horn, cello, fire extinguisher, etc.).
I think that just as there are Elvis impersonators who are better at early "That's All Right Mama" -era Elvis, and Elvis impersonators who are better at late "In the Ghetto"-era Elvis, so too Beatles tribute acts excel at different stages of the Fab Four's career. The Bootlegs' first set was a little wan. Most of the early hits dragged, except for "She Loves You," which was almost the burst of energy it must have been when people first heard it more than 40 years ago.
Where they were really good, however, was with the post-"Rubber Soul" Beatles. As the hair lengthened and the clothes got more colorful, the evening got more interesting. These were songs the Beatles never did live, of course, so it was cool to see how to pull it off. Kudos, especially, to "Ringo" and "George."
"Paul" and "John" were good too, though "John" looked haggard (it was the last gig of a long tour) and "Paul" had the slightly scary visage of a professional McCartney impersonator. It looked as if he'd gone under the knife and emerged as the permanently boyish Sir Paul, never able to take that bemused-cum-astonished look off his face. They all traded snarky repartee. After the four classical musicians played the Indian-tinged "Within You, Without You" "George" came onstage and said "Fancy a curry?" "John" said, "I fancy a Japanese," then added, "Yoko can't be here. She's playing with her origami."
They did a bunch of songs I wouldn't have expected, from "Do You Want to Know a Secret" to "Your Mother Should Know" and "Across the Universe." But I love the Bootleg Beatles for a song they didn't play: I can't tell you nice it was not to hear "Yesterday."
What would you do if you heard an ATM was giving out double what you requested? Try to withdraw a hundred bucks and it would give you two-hundred. If you were one of dozens of people in Hull, you would line up and hope you'd get to the front of the queue before the machine ran out.
I am on record as saying I wish we could laminate our dog, Charlie. It would solve his biggest annoyance: the mountains of hair he sheds every day. If only I was as creative as Beth Willis, who has knit woolly jumpers from the hair of her beloved (and now dead) dogs. I wonder if she has fleas.
Gargoyle of the Week
Sitting next to me at the Bootleg Beatles and lustily singing along was my fellow Reuters Fellow Abel. He tells me that one of the best Beatles tribute bands--The Beats--comes from his country, Argentina.
Abel gets around, spending almost every weekend in another city or country, making the most of his time in this hemisphere. Knowing my affection for grotesque carved stone, when he was in Wales last weekend he snapped a few animals adorning Cardiff Castle:
Those last ones look like raccoons in pajamas. Do they have those in Wales?
Muchos gracias, Abel! And have a great weekend everyone.