Let It Be May 2014

PHOTO: Paul Coltas

The Beatles played the Bristol Hippodrome on bank holiday Monday and they were fab.

Not the real Beatles of course as John and George died some time ago but a look-a-like tribute band that performs 40 of their most memorable songs in a medley of sing-along sounds.

The hits started in 1962 with Please Please Me and continued, not necessarily in chronological order, with I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Hard Day’s Night, Day Tripper, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Get Back, the oldies anthem When I’m 64 and many more.

And many of the fans were at least 64 or more but they still managed to boogie in the aisles and wave their aged arms in unison giving a five minute ovation during the Hey Jude finale.

Let It Me which is on nationwide tour after its West End success is made up of a 10-strong company of talented musicians who take it in turns to play George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on stage.

The show isn’t a musical or a concert as such.

It is more of a string of Beatles hit numbers set against a backdrop of 1960s and 1970s nostalgia with the performers adopting the mannerisms and quick-witted banter of the band.

It opens in the dark and damp Cavern Club at Liverpool before embarking on a magical mystery tour from Penny Lane to Strawberry Fields via the Washington Coliseum to a Royal Variety Show performance.

This was all our yesterdays accompanied on electric guitars and keyboards by some marvellous mop-topped usurpers – it would be a spoiler if I said they wore wigs!

On Monday evening is was left paw Emanuele Angeletti who had all the moves and mimicry of Paul if not the chubby cheekiness; John Brosnan played George from shy young boy to bearded guru including a masterly Eric Clapton solo during While My Guitar Gently Weeps; Reuven Gershon who looked most like wise-cracking John especially when he donned the granddad glasses; and taking a brilliant back seat on the drums Phil Martin.

The costumes, lighting and props are superb.

The lads gear ranges from Chelsea boots and black drainpipes to combat jackets and leather caps from psychedelic kaftans to dragoon-style satin jackets.

The visual backdrop goes from black and white television screens to flower power kapow and the radio commentary from Vietnam war protests to the advert of space travel.

But it was all about the music and not about the everyday dramas of girlfriends and breakups.

And with a little help from the audience it became a happening with everything coming together in song.

I absolutely loved it even though I had decided beforehand I wasn’t going to enjoy another group of lads jumping on the bandwagon of Beatlemania.

My musical taste has always been suspect since the early 1960s when swinging satchels with my brother Eric and arguing on route to school in Uxbridge about who would be the next big pop name I plumped for Gerry and the Pacemakers while he insisted it would be the Beatles.

In my teens only one goody goody friend called Claudia followed the Beatles while the rebellious gang plus one (me) who hung around West Street cafe, Marlow, on a Sunday afternoon were dedicated followers of The Rolling Stones.

Yet for my 10th anniversary as editor of the Clevedon Mercury I hosted a charity night at the Curzon cinema showing the film A Hard Day's Night.

But it was only chosen for its artistic interpretation and its subliminal message about long working hours!

Nailsea Town Council chairman Clare Hunt and Portishead beautician Sue Lander who in their youth had both seen the Beatles perform live joined me for the Let It Be show.

Clare has seen the Beatles perform at the Hammersmith Palais and again at the Romford Odeon and Sue as a schoolgirl had gone with her mother Barbara to a Colston Hall gig.

They recalled all the concerts were accompanied by lots of loud screaming.

So how did the Let It Be show compare?

Clare said: “It was such a lovely evening, which was a mix of nostalgia and great entertainment.

“It makes you realise what a remarkable part of that era those four young men were and thus a great part of our lives too.“In fact we knew every word of every song pretty much and that happened with no effort to try and learn them.”

Sue agreed.

She said: “It was a fabulous evening – the show was really good. It was like going back in time to 1963.”

The Let it Be tour plays the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, May 10.

Tickets and more information available from the Let It Be website by clicking HERE.

Carol Deacon