Acclaimed tribute band The Fab Four prepared to reignite Beatlemania in Rochester
It has been more than 50 years since the Beatles performed their final live show at Candlestick Park in San Francisco — but now, thanks to the talents of a world-renowned tribute group known as The Fab Four, you can experience the sounds and excitement that helped define a generation.
The Fab Four will perform this Friday night at the Mayo Civic Center’s Presentation Hall as part of the 2018-19 Riverside Concerts Presents series. The four-man band, which in 2013 won an Emmy Award for their PBS special, delivers a full catalog of Beatles nostalgia with impeccable musicianship, powerful vocals, believable acting, incredible interaction with the audience, and stunning period-perfect costumes.
Founding member Ron McNeil, who portrays John Lennon, says their goal is to put on a show that the Beatles themselves would enjoy.
“We just hope that we are doing a loving tribute to the guys,” McNeil said in a recent interview. “You know, every night we go out before the show and we have a sort of secret handshake that means — if the Beatles were in attendance watching the show, what would they think as a loving tribute to them? Hopefully we are accomplishing that.”
McNeil says the challenge of taking on the Beatles is that all members of the original band were not only exceptional instrumentalists, but also great singers. The Beatles also stopped touring midway through their time together, meaning many of their later songs were never performed live.
To ensure they are doing the music justice, he says The Fab Four has spent years studying the notes and harmonies of the songs they perform. The result is a live show that includes songs spanning for the Ed Sullivan days of the Beatles all the way through the Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road eras.
“When [band co-founder Ardy Sarraf] and I started the group we really didn’t like tribute bands, so we wanted to make a tribute band that we would like, that we would go see,” explained McNeil.
The Fab Four’s efforts to recreate the Beatles experience stretches so far that McNeil himself went to the lengths of programming every individual sound into the band’s keyboards, allowing them to play the music on-stage without any added tapes or backing tracks. Additionally, just to make the show as authentic as possible, Sarraf, who is right-handed, taught himself to play the guitar lefty to more realistically portray Paul McCartney.
They may seem like small things, but it’s this attention to detail that has earned the band appearances on Good Morning America, Ellen DeGeneres's Really Big Show, and a headlining slot at International Beatleweek in Liverpool, England (which is where not only the Beatles emerged, but also where The Fab Four’s “George Harrison,” Gavin Pring, hails from).
McNeil credits the success of The Fab Four to the enduring impact of the Beatles, whose songs five decades later are just as relevant as ever.
“The themes of the music, about love and peace; I think as long as those things are still relevant in the world, then their music will be, too.”
This will be the Fab Four’s second appearance in Rochester in less than a year. The group also opened for Micky Dolenz of Monkees fame during last summer’s Down by the Riverside season finale at Mayo Park.
A limited amount of tickets are still available for Friday night’s show. You can learn more about the performance through the Riverside Concerts website.
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