I never got to see the Beatles perform live, possibly due to the fact that I wasn’t born until 1966.
My discovery of the Fab Four came much later when, as a 12-year-old, I found a stack of LPs and a portable record player belonging to my stepmum, a huge fan who also never got to see them live.
So last night’s performance Let It Be at the Theatre Royal was a right treat for us both.
The show looked back at the musical history of the “mop tops” through the recreation of signature performances such as the Royal Variety Show and Shea Stadium, interspersed with newsreel and adverts from the time. How we chuckled as the newly-married bride lit up with the voiceover slogan “time for a Capstan”.
The four performers were faultless musicians, swapping from guitar to piano and back. The joke back in the day was that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. You certainly couldn’t have said that about Ben Cullingworth as a believable Ringo. He was joined on stage by Richard Jordan as John (he passed the test with my stepmum, John was her favourite), John Brosnan as George and Emanuele Angeletti as Paul.
The first half was a tour through the Beatles’ back catalogue from early days to the Sgt Pepper years, the second half an imagined reunion for John’s 40th birthday taking in each band member’s solo material. This included a stunning version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with the guitar solo masterfully played by ‘George’. George didn’t event play that on the original, it was Eric Clapton.
The audience ranged in age but had one thing in common, they knew the words to all the songs and were encouraged to sing along and get up, clap and dance.
A couple of crowd pleasers ended the concert – Let It Be and Hey Jude – before a standing ovation. A truly uplifting evening of music from one of the worlds best and biggest bands.
“Kill* for a ticket” – Patsy Webster (stepmum)
(*Don’t actually kill someone, obviously. The show runs until Saturday and tickets are still available. www.theatreroyal.co.uk)