This is a spectacular presentation from the Dallas Summer Musicals.
The Music Hall at Fair Park was rockin' with Baby Boomers
channeling their youth through the music of the Beatles.
The musicians were simply fabulous.
Neil Candelora impersonates Paul McCartney right down to playing
left-handed bass. Sings a
great tenor, as well. JT
Curtis doesn't look much like George Harrison, but he can sure play the
guitar like him, both rhythm and lead.
And Michael Gagliano imitates John Lennon uncannily, down to the
mop top and the rimless glasses. Chris
McBurney as Ringo Starr rounds out the Fab Four, but then there's always
the “Fifth Beatle,” the George Martin at the keyboard and mixing in
the studio, and filling in ably we have the talented Daniel Weiss.
What's really impressive about the musicality of these guys is how
well they play all the phases of Beatle music, from the sweet, simple
beginning like “I Saw Her Standing There” to the iconic “Hey
Jude,” through the Sergeant Pepper phase and into the “Revolution”
and all the way “Back To the U.S.S.R.”
They do them all, and do them well.
They even duplicate the switching of which one was singing lead
vocals and which were doing the harmonies on each song, and yes,
“Paul” and “John” take their turns at the piano, as well---and
sometimes John plays a little lead guitar, and occasionally Paul plays
rhythm guitar instead of bass. They
even mimic what the guys said at the microphone during live concerts,
which is almost disconcertingly authentic.
The second act envisions a reunion tour, circa 1980, which of
course never happened, but gives our talented guys a chance to play some
of the solo work after the group's 1970 breakup, like McCartney's “Live
and Let Die,” and Lennon's “Watchin' the Wheels Go Round” and
Harrison's “My Sweet Lord.” And
what we Beatles fan realize all over again is that whole was always
greater than the sum of the parts. Yes,
they were all extraordinary musicians in their own right, but something
magical (even mystical) happened when they were together, that just could
never quite be duplicated after they broke up.
Thus, the second act of the show sags a bit in comparison to the
first, but that's not these stage musicians' fault, it's just that the
material they had to work with was less, well, transcendent.
As for the way the show was conducted, I have only one minor
criticism: they were
constantly trying to get the audience to clap, wave, or turn on their cell
phone flashlights. Maybe we do
that once or twice (standing up for “Twist and Shout,” lights on for
“Imagine”), but they must have asked us twenty times, and it left us
little opportunity to just sit back and let the music, and the nostalgia,
wash over us. And you don't
need an entire audience clapping during “Blackbird,” because you miss
hearing some of the intricate guitar work.
OK, that quibble aside, the show was immensely enjoyable,
especially for an old Beatles fan. It's
like an evening of binging on the primal music of our era.
If you love the Beatles, you need to go see this.
Even if your taste is more earthy, like The Rolling Stones, or pop,
or Motown, or even country, you'll just appreciate the remarkable
musicality in evidence here. This
was a great night at the theater.
“Let It Be” runs March 7-19 at The Music Hall in Fair Park, and
March 21-26 at Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth.