We all know (well I hope that we do) who "The Beatles" are, but who are "The Cavern Beatles"? Well, they are, as you might have guessed from the name, a tribute band consisting of Paul Tudhope as John Lennon, Chris O'Neill as Paul McCartney, Rick Alan as George Harrison and Simon Ramsden as Ringo Starr. Are they any good though, that is the question? The answer to that is yes, these four guys are very good. Tonight's audience covered a large range of age groups, and although some of the audience in a pretty full Queen's Hall may have seen the originals in concert, I am not old enough for that (honest), and have to rely on the recordings as a guide.
If you have a look at their webpage, The Cavern Beatles have been around for a long time and are highly thought of by people close to the original Beatles, and their work history is impressive. They are also from Liverpool and managed to bring some of that famed Liverpool humour with them tonight which went down well with the audience.
Many of the classics that an audience would expect were here, but it was nice to hear some tracks slightly outside of the normal tribute band repertoire. I am thinking here of a great version of "Roll Over Beethoven" from the first act which was recorded way back in the Odeon label "Hamburg" days and the rarely heard "Oh! Darling" from the Abbey Road album.
I have seen a few Beatles tribute bands and I think acoustically that these four guys are probably closest at times to the original audio sound. As always though, they split the show into two halves of roughly an hour each set. The first half covered the live performance years and the second half studio years. Along the way there were some great songs, but I have to admit that I always prefer the early years from these shows as to me this is when the music "was alive". It is easy to forget with the benefit of hindsight that The Beatles were, from all reports, a great live band that worked their way up from small venues to huge stadiums in the USA in a very short period of time. Although there were many groups playing the club circuit at the time, The Beatles had that great early advantage of having played many hours in Hamburg clubs resulting in one very tight band by the time they returned to Liverpool. Those great songs also helped a bit too.
The songs in the second half were all well covered and it is a tribute to the musicianship of these four people on stage that they pulled many of these songs off, as these were primarily "studio songs" with no intention of the band ever going back to live performances. Personally, I would love to see the whole show (particularly with a band called The Cavern Beatles) concentrate on the early years, and these four are more than capable of doing that. I also of course realise that this would miss out so many of the later classics that the audience would probably be expecting to hear and sadly many might be disappointed if these songs were omitted from the show.
The audience seemed to be having a great time with The Cavern Beatles tonight, and they are back in Scotland on September 16th at The Brunton in Musselburgh. If you missed tonight's show, then try and catch up with them at the next one.
For more information, go to their website at http://www.cavernbeatles.com/profile.htm
You will also find Facebook and Twitter links too, and as we were told last night, they are happy to take requests for your favourite Beatles song and try and put it into their shows.
Review by Tom King