It’s been over 45 years since The Beatles last played a concert in the Buckeye State; however, Northeast Ohio-based tribute act, 1964 The Tribute, keeps The Beatles’ music and memory alive by playing roughly 140 shows a year around the globe.
In fact, the cover band – Mark Benson (John Lennon), Graham Alexander (Paul McCartney), Tom Work (George Harrison) and Bobby Potter (Ringo Starr) – has booked a special show at the An Elegant Evening for the Arts event, taking place Saturday at the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center in Norwalk.
Want to go?
WHAT: An Elegant Evening for the Arts with performance by 1964 The Tribute
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center, 350 Shady Lane, Norwalk
COST: $30, $50 or $75 per person
INFO: call 419-660-6511
“I think part of what makes us unique is we try to focus on what it’s like to see a Beatles concert, rather than a Beatles story,” Benson said. “We don’t do a chronological A-to-Z thing with costume changes, a la ‘Beatlemania,’ which was a great show. But it was already out and running when we decided to start this and we thought why compete with that?
“We thought it would be more fun to really just focus on the years that they toured and that real sort of British Invasion, ‘Beatlemania’-type excitement. So to that end, it’s early rock ’n’ roll with screaming. yelling and the velvet collar suits. Maybe that’s the attraction.”
Formed in 1981 with little aspiration for cover band stardom, 1964 The Tribute has featured a few different Fab Four line-ups over the years with a set list including The Beatles’ popular songs, like “Twist and Shout,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and more,nalong with more obscure tracks, such as "And Your Bird Can Sing” and “Things We Said Today.”
Perhaps more importantly, the full-time act’s resume boasts many memorable and almost unbelievable shows. This includes playing in Germany just after the Berlin Wall fell and selling out Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre and New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
“It’s just the phenomenon called ‘The Beatles,’” Benson said. “They seem to reinvent themselves every couple of years. They have the ‘Love’ show out in Vegas. They had [feature film] ‘Across the Universe.’ And we never intended this to be full-time. We thought for sure this would be a baby boomers show and we were going to play predominantly in town.
“And it just took off. It just turned out to be a completely wide open demographic. There is no one that is not included. And that’s unusual. Even really big hit shows have their particular demographic they appeal to and this is toddlers to grandparents. It’s just amazing.”
So what Benson is saying is, 1964 The Tribute’s popularity is based around the fact “All You Need is Love.”
“As you know, rock ’n’ roll and good clean fun don’t normally go together but this is a unique opportunity for you to bring anybody in your family,” Benson said. “It’s truly a great family united experience. What I see in the audience is all the walls come down between generations, between economic [classes], genders, races and all that stuff. It just comes down and they just become Beatles fans.”