The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute

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Joon Echols, Senior Staff Writer

Recently, I had the great fortune of attending a Beatles concert at the Kodak Center in Rochester, New York, but how is that possible? Following the departure of John Lennon and the eventual deaths of himself and George Harrison, it was believed no one else could take up the mantle of being “The Greatest Band of All Time”, and they were right. 

What I saw made no attempt of being the replacement of the famous Beatles, or even wanting to leech off of their success; no, what I witnessed on that day was a group that loves the Beatles just as much as the rest of the world. The cover band, The Fab Four starring Ardy Sarraf, Ron McNeil, Rolo Sandovol, and Michael Amador simply wished to share with us the experience and splendor of the Beatles group. To a generation that will never be able to experience such a thing.

 They enchanted us even before appearing on stage. In the few minutes before the show’s beginning a series of various trivia questions were projected on a screen behind the stage, all related to the Beatles. Even if I didn’t answer a question right I was still excited to learn, any little thing I could, about such an iconic band. Such as the name of the Tokyo arena The Beatles played in while touring Japan, the Nippon Budokan Arena. The real name of band member, and drummer, Ringo Starr, Sir Richard Starkey. As well as, the name of the antagonists of the animated Beatles movie Yellow Submarine, the Blue Meanies; which I’ve seen the film before, and highly recommend it. 

However once the show did start the ambience of anticipation and excitement continued to hold up. The Fab Four quickly introduced themselves and dove right in starting with songs from the Beatles very first album, “Please Please Me”; they played in this manner throughout the night, from oldest to newest.

 After a few songs, including the entire audience standing up to dance and sing to “Twist and Shout”; a short clip of the bands first introduction to mainstream media, their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, was played. After we were “lectured”, which I say jokingly, about the band’s early history, “With the Beatles”, “Till There Was You” transitioned to a short clip of an interview of younger fans being asked, “Which band will outlast the others; The Beatles, The Monkees, or The Rolling Stones?” 

Of the twenty-plus fans, only a single one proclaimed that The Monkees deserved the title; the rest claimed The Beatles as such, with no mention of The Rolling Stones thereafter. 

What followed was an interlude of albums from, and named after their films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”. Both songs, of the same name, were played including “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Eight Days A Week”. 

As the band continued to play and teach us, right until the dreaded pause of intermission; we were left yearning for more while simultaneously being taught “new” slang. Specifically the term “Beatlemania”, used to describe die-hard fans that often, and they showed us a video of it, swarmed and overan police herds officers; I can only describe what I witnessed as a “Human Stampede”. 

Intermission ended in the blink of an eye, and The Fab Four returned wearing the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” uniforms from “Yellow Submarine.” What followed was an amalgamation of  the albums “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver”, “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, and “Yellow Submarine”; working the crowd into a frenzy. What started out as a collected, some-what, calm group of Beatle enthusiasts quickly turned into a mob enraptured by the sensation of Beatlemania. 

“Nowhere Man”, “Yellow Submarine”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “All You Need Is Love”, and “All Together Now” played in rapid succession.

 However, just as it started it quickly  ended. Excitement died down, replaced by somberness as the final act of John Lennon was told. As the light dimmed on John Lennon, the ever mournful “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” gives way to the hopeful nature of “Here Comes the Sun”; both from “Abbey Road”. 

The Fab Four speaks of the icon’s hopes and dreams. The wish of John Lennon, to “give peace a chance”. Together, the audience and the entertainers stood and swayed to the tune of “Hey Jude”; it may not have been their last album, “The Beatles Again”, but no other song was more fitting for such a gentle moment.

 I vividly remember holding my parents close as they held me, we all hugged and sang and as I looked around, I was almost overwhelmed by tears as every single one of us forgot about the world outside. Each of us has our own struggles but on that day, in that moment that will live on with me forever, we became a single body at; whose purpose was to simply enjoy the here and now. For tomorrow was uncertain, dangerous even, but in that moment we were safe, embraced by the ones that we loved, and the magic of “The Ultimate Tribute, The Fab Four.”