The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performed with the group that brings back the sounds of The Beatles at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta.
By Bob Pepalis
We'll never see The Beatles perform together again, as only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still alive. So Saturday night's performance by the Classical Mystery Tour with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta is as close as we can get.
The four members of the group do their best to sound just like the members of the iconic band. It's not the same, but it is very entertaining. They are able to provide renditions of many Beatles classics that sound very good, especially with the backing of a full orchestra.
Many Beatles tunes make use of instruments other than the guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, so the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra played a big role in the evening. Conductor Martin Herman is a key member of Classical Mystery Tour, having transcribed musical scores from Beatles recordings. He even sat down at the piano for one tune.
The most visible part of Classical Mystery Tour is its members. The group features Jim Owen (John Lennon) on rhythm guitar, piano, and vocals; Tony Kishman (Paul McCartney) on bass guitar, piano, and vocals; John Brosnan (George Harrison) on lead guitar and vocals; and Chris Camilleri (Ringo Starr) on drums and vocals.
You wouldn't mistake these four Americans as The Beatles, though they do their best to dress like them in costumes from the 1960s and 1970s, including the colorful outfits seen in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The English accents they affected while speaking adds to the feelings the real deal produced.
They used a combination of speaking as if they really were The Beatles and a little comedy to set the stage. The crowd, a mix of ages with quite a few families attending, seemed to appreciate the effort, and liked the songs even better.
It was my second concert at the amphitheater in two nights, and while I enjoy the blues and jazzy sounds of many of the tunes performed by The Dukes of September better, I enjoyed this ASO concert with the Classical Mystery Tour more. It's hard not to like a "Beatles" concert, with so many classic songs.
Introducing the song "All You Need Is Love," the singer portraying John Lennon asked who remembers the '60s, only to come back with the rejoinder, "If you remember the '60s, you weren't really there."
The George Harrison song, "Here Comes the Sun" came next, and after a gloomy looking day that had rain falling a little more than an hour earlier, it was welcome. The sky even brightened with the clouds clearing quite a bit, so the timing of the song worked well.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra really began to show its how its member can excel at any kind of music with the next song, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Classical music isn't all they can play, as they proved throughout the evening.
Other favorites included "Eleanor Rigby," "A Day in the Life" and "Strawberry Fields Forever." When it came time for "Penny Lane," the crowd showed its appreciation for a horn solo from the orchestra, bursting into applause once the solo ended.
John Lennon's "I Am The Walrus" was introduced by the Lennon sound-alike, who said, "It's a delightful ditty."
More of the set list included: "Life Goes On," "Yellow Submarine," which had more than a few audience members singing along," and "Come Together" before conductor Martin Herman took his turn at the piano for George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," another White Albumfavorite. "Dear Prudence" was next up and then Paul McCartney's "Long and Winding Road" before the group turned to songs that came after The Beatles broke up.
Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die," the theme song from the James Bond film of the same name got the "solo" performances started. John Lennon's work had a turn next, with "Imagine" drawing the crowd into another time.
Soon it was time for the concert to come to an end, but not before an encore that got started with "Hey Jude."
There won't be another concert at the amphitheater until Tuesday, July 31, when Yes with Very Special Guest Procol Harum take to the stage.