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It’s always a pleasure to receive press night invites to glamorous events. Last night I had the pleasure of not only seeing the nearly renovated Royal Court Liverpool, but I also got fed before watching Let It Be, a celebration of the music by The Beatles.
When I arrived at the Royal Court, I was unsure of whether the interior layout of the theatre was complete as it did feel a tad like a bingo hall. However, above and around me, lovely ornate carvings adorned each wall and archway, giving a traditional sense to the place.
The food was beautiful – in-keeping with the theme of the evening, I had portobello mushroom stuffed with goat’s cheese. I have always enjoyed dinner and a show. When the two are packaged together for you, it makes things easier and, I think, more special.
Now, although I am of a certain age, I wasn’t around when The Beatles were a big thing, and despite media footage over the years, I couldn’t have imagined the sheer hysteria they caused when performing anywhere. I couldn’t imagine it, that is, until I saw – in black and white archive footage on oversized, old fashioned TVs hanging above the stage – the extent of Beatles Mania on those seriously obsessed young girls and boys.
I really did get an instant feeling of nostalgia that was quite refreshing. It seems that kind of obsession and loss of mind is lacking in fans these days where boy bands are concerned – although I haven’t been to a One Direction concert, so I could be completely wrong.
Then the curtain lifted, and projected onto black gauze, we saw the inside of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles first started out. Behind the gauze we could see a simple setup of mic-stands and a drum kit raised above the stage floor – and, of course, the boys.
The show was organised like a gig in a live music club with short 15-20 minute spots, starting with very early songs from The Beatles. I didn’t really get a buzz from the first set, and neither did the audience, but that’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable set. I just feel it was a little too underground for the age of the audience.
‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and ‘She Loves You’ were part of the first set and were all performed extremely well by the men who convinced me they were John, Ringo, George and Paul. For a while, I felt I was watching the real Paul McCartney – his vocal, his actions, everything was spot on – and then he spoke.
The others had great Scouse accents, but halfway through their second set and after ‘Eleanor Rigby’, a distinct French accent came through. I feel they should have kept ‘Paul’ quiet after this, but in ‘Eleanor Rigby’ at least, his voice was simply stunning. I’d never heard ‘Eleanor Rigby’ before but I fell in love with it, and when I found out the backstory as to why The Beatles wrote the song, I was captivated even more.
The next set showed just how huge the boys had become. Playing against the backdrop of a stadium filled to capacity, they performed hits such as ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’, that lifted the audience from their seats.
My favourite set of the night opened with a trippy extravaganza of flower power and acid-fuelled visions, much like that era of music from The Beatles. Included in this part of the show were the classics ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. I have never taken acid, but whoever designed the lighting for that gauze during this song clearly had. It was fabulous. This section of the show was by far my favourite and the one I will remember the most.
For any Beatles fans out there, this is a must see. Honestly, if you’re a music fan in general I would still recommend it, as it really does show you just how music has evolved since the days of The Beatles. Rarely do we see such expertly written lyrics, well-suited vocal partnerships or success that comes from sheer hard work and determination. Nor will you ever see a French version of Paul McCartney – which, the more I think about it, the more I like it.
Let It Be will continue its run at The Royal Court Liverpool until 14 November 2015.