LET IT BE TOP

The fab four portrayed in the Sgt Pepper days. Picture: Pail Coltas

Let it Be

Birmingham Hippodrome

*****

 LET IT BE began life in 2012 at the Prince of Wales theatre in London. It’s billed as a celebration of the Beatles music, but over recent years the show has become more than that for the audience.

The work of the Fab four still transcends any marketing strap line as the music remains an integral part of British culture and the foundation of modern song writing.

Any one, if not all of their melodies and lyrics are ingrained on the brains of just about every 40-plus-year old on the planet.  

Several members of this talented cast have also individually made The Beatles, their own

life’s work, playing in cover or tribute bands the world over. What the collective have now created is the most accurate rendition of the Beatles both visually and musically you will likely ever hear. 

Whilst in the modern pop world, digital vocal technology makes everyone an improved or often a robotic singer, the work of the Beatles requires real musicians and real singers and that’s what Let It Be provides.  

Emanuele Angeletti pretty much inhabits the skin of Paul McCartney for the entire show. In 1999 Emanulogoele became a member of the Italian tribute act The Apple Pies who were chosen by EMI themselves to perform at the launch of The Beatles Re-mastered collection in 2009. His musical ability and vocal representation of McCartney was uncanny and he handled several of the ballads like Blackbird and Yesterday solo. Such is his attention to detail that, for the role, he re-learned to play the guitar left handed as Paul himself does, a feat most players would find impossible.  

Lennon was brought to life by Reuven Gershon. Again being immersed in The Beatles music since 2009, not only were his musical skills and vocals outstanding but he also captured the mischievous presence of Lennon in the antics and dialogue between the musical numbers.

The show began with the poppy Cavern days and although it was still good, it felt like a slick tribute. However when the Sgt. Pepper era was reached the stage setting changed and so did the music and you felt you were hearing it all for the first time. Here Gershon shined especially in songs like Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds and A Day in a Life. 

Always underestimated in his musical contribution to the band, the drumming of Ringo was added by Stuart Wilkinson. His accuracy for his fills on songs like Come Together and the overall sound work of Blake Slater on the entire show, created a live sound that back in the sixties would have only been able to have been achieved in a studio setting. Wilkinson also delivered a nice vocal rendition of With a Little Help From My Friends. 

Ian B Garcia perfectly added the lead guitar detail of George Harrison. What became evident is how Harrison’s guitar not only punctuated so many of the Lennon and McCartney songs, but created motifs that are as memorable as the big famous melodies. 

It’s astonishing when you look back, that The Beatles were only playing live for three years after the release of their first album, Please Please Me in 1963, playing their last live gig in August 1966.

That began a period of studio experimentation and writing under the production guidance of George Martin, and the output of that relationship defined pop music forever. To achieve the complex array of brass and orchestra sounds that he added to the band’s writing at that time, keyboard player Michael Bramwell worked offstage. His choice of sounds and accurate phrasing again added to the authenticity of the music production. 

When the Let It Be band played the final encore the transition from tribute to virtual reality was long complete. This is the reunion concert The Beatles never played. The detail to their music and the physical presence of the performers was good enough for it to be real. Overall it gives us a true flavour of what they might have sounded like  back in thye 60s if the technology had been around to deliver the complex studio albums into a live setting.  

If anything this show is too short. Everyone would have gladly sat through every Beatles song ever written and even when a few technical difficulties halted the proceedings a couple of times, no one was moving or complaining waiting for the curtain to rise again.  

When you look at the short time that The Beatles were in existence as The Fab Four, it’s nothing short of mind boggling that the band could have created such a rich legacy of varied pop, rock and experimental music that puts modern artists to shame and everyone in the capacity audience at Let It Be know it. To 30-04-16

Jeff Grant

25-04-16 

Contents page Hippodrome Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre