By Scott Smith
Times Record • firstname.lastname@example.org
A Grammy Award-nominated rock band will help area residents celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ “American invasion” next month, said one official.
The Liverpool Legends Beatles Tribute Band will perform the songs of The Beatles at 8 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Van Buren School District Fine Arts Center, 2001 E. Pointer Trail in Van Buren.
Presented and produced by Louise Harrison, George Harrison’s sister, the all-ages concert will happen 50 years after John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr made their U.S. television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, said Tom F. Watkins, VBSDFAC executive director.
“It’s neat that it will be part of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to North America,” he said of the concert, which has been a popular attraction for years in Branson.
Starring Kevin Mantegna (Lennon), Bob Beahon (McCartney), Marty Scott (Harrison) and Greg George (Starr), the concert also recreates the evolving look of The Beatles’ clothes, hairstyles, musical instruments and equipment from 1964 to 1970, Watkins said. During the first two “acts” of the concert, the musicians’ looks will graduate from clean-cut “Mop Tops” to mustache-wearing ambassadors of psychedelic music, he said.
The concert’s third and final section will feature the performers as bearded artists approaching age 30, simultaneously venturing into progressive rock and roots music, Watkins said.
“The costumes are great, and the show isn’t going for a contemporary look,” he said. “The show gives you a view of what the musical equipment and clothes looked like back then.”
Each of the concert’s four performers was carefully handpicked by Louise Harrison, Watkins said. While the quartet’s musical ability was a priority, the musicians’ onstage charisma was, in a way, equally vital for the show, he said. Each musician/actor was required to have the same mannerisms as his respective Beatle, Watkins said.
“It’s quite amazing that The Beatles looked and sounded totally different near the end, around 1970, than they did when they started,” he said.
“And it’s amazing that The Beatles were together only six years as a professional group (after first coming to America),” Watkins added. “With this show, people will get a really good musical experience from this show, and the people also will enjoy the stage show. It’s such a fun, well-rounded experience.”
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