Reviewer Ian Robert Hills Wythenshawe FM 97.
Just down the road 55 years ago the Beatles made their first TV appearance at Granada TV Studios to record two performances for ‘Scene at 6.30’ on Wednesday 14 August 1963. They performed ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘She Loves You’.
‘Beatlemania’ is still alive and kicking with the audience’s reaction to ‘Let it Be’ at the Opera House in Manchester. The audience was singing, clapping and dancing from the start as the cast sang 40 of the Beatles greatest hits.
The show opens with four old-style TV sets showing films and adverts from the 1960s to set the scene and the mood.
The curtain rises on the Cavern Club, where it all started for the Beatles, and we move on to the Royal Variety Performance in 1963 where the Beatles played such hits as ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ and where John Lennon famously said: “For our last number, I’d like to ask your help; the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands and the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.” That did not stop the Queen from making them Members of the Order of the British Empire in 1965.
We follow the Fab Four on their first US tour in 1964 and hear more of their greatest hits. We move swiftly through the live gig era which ended for the Beatles in 1966 and we then find ourselves in 1967 with Sergeant Pepper and the cast wearing the iconic uniforms as they play songs from the legendary album.
Act Two was an imaginary reunion concert held on John Lennon’s 40th Birthday on October 9th 1980. We had more of the Beatles greatest hits, including ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Here Comes the Sun’.
I thought it was a brilliant concept to see stage performances of their later songs which were only performed in the studio. We also get to hear solo songs from Paul McCartney (Emanuele Angeletti), George Harrison (John Brosnan), John Lennon (Michael Gagliano) and Ringo Starr (Ben Cullingworth) who showcased their singing and musicianship, not forgetting, on keyboards, Musical Director, Michael Bramwell. It was FAB.
Combining the sets with back projection, including some original footage, lighting, sound and costumes take you from the 1960s through to the 1980 brilliantly.
This is as near as you will ever get to a Beatles concert. If you are, like me, a child of the sixties, it will take you back when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends.
‘Let it Be’ is on at the Manchester Opera House until Saturday 27th October.
To buy tickets, go to atgtickets.com or phone the Box Office O844 871 7615.