By ERIC MCKENZIE
People, young and old, were twisting and shouting along with the music of the Beatles, played by Classical Mystery Tour and the K-W Symphony Orchestra at Centre in the Square on Feb. 11.
“It’s nice to be able to actually hear the songs this time around. When I saw them (the Beatles) in the ‘60s all I could hear were girls screaming,” said Catherine Wood, 67, of Stratford.
The cover band Classical Mystery Tour did an excellent job mimicking every instrument, vocal and musical arrangement to classics such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Yesterday, which plucked at the heart strings of the older, reminiscing crowd.
Although the Beatles themselves never got the opportunity to play their studio albums live with an orchestra, the atmosphere was intense.
“Another thing the Beatles never did was say ‘check out our website!’” joked Tony Kishman, the Paul McCartney look-alike and vocalist, bass and piano player of Classical Mystery Tour.
The band was rounded out by John Lennon look-alike, vocalist, piano and guitar player Jim Owen, George Harrison stand-in, vocalist and lead guitarist John Brosnan and Chris Camilleri, Ringo Starr look-alike, drummer and vocalist.
K-W’s assistant conductor Evan Mitchell led the K-W Symphony Orchestra on the podium that accompanied the electric instruments, which added an incredible sound to songs such as Got to Get You into My Life, with its inspiring and striking trumpet toots, or Eleanor Rigby, with its rhythmic, almost hypnotic violin slashes.
If you closed your eyes you could imagine you were listening to the album versions of songs such as All You Need Is Love and A Day in the Life, which fans of the Fab Four will remember explodes in a cacophony of sound in the final climax. The strings and horns of the K-W symphony played precisely and beautifully.
Even songs such as I Am the Walrus, which have small orchestral interludes, benefited greatly from the instrumental accompaniment, helping Classical Mystery Tour create a more genuine experience for the audience.
The cover band made an effort to make the show more of an experience by changing clothing from the different Beatles eras, such as the colourful military grab from Magical Mystery Tour, and the suit and ties from the early years. At one point Owen put a long-haired, Lennon-style wig on and purple glasses.
If everyone wasn’t halfway down memory lane already the final lineup of songs that ended their two-dozen song set surely took them all the way there.
Beginning with Golden Slumbers, with lyrics such as “once there was a way to get back home,” many people were reliving the emotions of youth.
Carry That Weight carried on the emotions and sounded extra powerful with the pulsing brass instruments and whipping strings, adding a lot of emphasis to a song with already touching and relatable lyrics.
To conclude the concert, they played The End, which featured ripping guitar solos from Owen and Brosnan, played to perfection. One of the most prolific Beatles’ lyrics was delivered softly but powerfully to the regaled audience, backed by the orchestra, “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
The Classical Mystery Tour returned to play Hey Jude and Twist and Shout as an encore to an overjoyed audience that then stood up and danced.
It wasn’t all older people dancing and reminiscing. There were many children, teenagers and young people peppered into the silver-haired crowd. The general consensus though, could be summarized by the chatter at intermission: “Why are there all these young people here?” and the hushed replies, “Because the Beatles are the best band ever.”