The Beatles White Album concert was held at the Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre on the 3rd August 2009.
How is this possible, I hear you say?
Answer: With four very talented Australian male musicians, along with a band of 16 members.
These ‘Beatles’ musicians were: The Living End’s front man, Chris Cheney; Grinspoon’s frontman, Phil Jamieson; You Am I’s frontman, Tim Rogers and Josh Pyke’s… erm Josh Pyke?.
They played to a full house.
The performance commemorated the 40th anniversary of the White Album’s release on record.
All 31 tracks of the album were played, but not in the way that was expected. Rather than play together as ‘The Beatles’ the musicians took it turns to perform.
Cheney, it seems, was the crowd pleaser for the night, obtaining the loudest cheers at the end of each of his performances. This annoyed Pyke, who said, amusingly, “I hate coming on after that guy,” before launching into ‘Long, Long, Long‘.
Four songs later, it was the luckless Pyke’s turn to play after Cheney again. This time, he jokingly said: “I hate playing after that guy, kill me now! Kill me!”
This banter continued throughout the night, as the four performers encouraged each other as each of them entered or left the stage before and after each song.
Yet Rogers – also an accomplished actor and theatre performer – was the most enjoyable to watch whilst dancing around the stage with every song he sang. He even waltzed onto the stage while Jamieson sang ‘Sexy Sadie’ and handed him a rose!
I attended the concert with my dad, the second biggest Beatles fan in the family (after me, of course), and it will probably be the closest thing to The Beatles that we’ll ever see performed live.
Jacquie Lyon, a former Primary School music teacher, also attended the concert. She said of the performance, “Although I’m too old – or possibly too ignorant – to actually know any of the performers, I thought the concert was sensational.”
Although quite acquainted with the album, she said the four singers captured the essence of the album brilliantly, successfully stamping their own take on the Beatles’ songs without altering the original flavour of the music.
I was one among the minority of youngsters in attendance, the audience being mostly baby boomers, most of which would have been alive at the time the album was released, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying the concert. It was an amazing experience just listening to some classic music live which different generations sitting in the audience.
However, it was something of a different experience for me, as the concerts I attend usually involve moshing! The only way you could tell whether anyone was enjoying him or herself was by the way they clapped, cheered, and bopped their heads along to the music as this was a sit down performance.
The concert ended with all four musicians coming onto the stage together and singing ‘Revolution’ and ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’, amongst other classics. At this point, they were given a standing ovation from all three levels (balconies and stalls) of the audience. As everyone sat down, Pyke motioned the audience to stand back up and join in with some singing and dancing.
It was a brilliant night. For the youngsters in the crowd it was a chance to acquaint themselves with the Beatles and their timeless music, channelled as it was through four very modern artists; for the baby boomers, it was a wonderful nostalgia trip, and a chance for them to hear the Beatles’ music reinterpreted for the noughties.