Monday 18 December 2017

Witness this outstanding tribute to Beatlemania

Friday: Shakedown a typical Beatles fan and pretty quickly it will be revealed where their allegiances lie when it comes to taking sides on the Lennon/McCartney divide.

As the uplifted crowds spring-heeled it into the night following this Opera House-staged foot-stomping, hip-swaying, knee-knocking tribute to Liverpool's greatest musical exports, the general theme of the post-show analysis was 'who did it for you, John or Paul?' While the odd dark horse rallied behind George, and the underdog stuck with tradition to lead the cheerleading for Ringo.

When I told the good woman I had tickets for Get Back – The Story of the Beatles, she met the news with ambivalence. 'I'm not their biggest fan,' she told me, fearing she would feel out of place among the legions of die-hard Beatles disciples whose word-perfect refrains might verge on intimidation. Fear not – for this is a show for all, and she enjoyed it so much that by the time we got home, plans to get a copy of Backbeat – the story behind the tragic Stuart Sutcliffe – had already been made. A convert, if ever there was.

From those whose knowledge is limited to mumbling the chorus to I Want To Hold Your Hand, to the Fab Four anoraks that can flawlessly recite A Day In The Life with far more eloquence than an attempt at Amhrán Na bhFiann, it is impossible not to become absorbed in this nostalgic trip down Penny Lane (sorry). Based around the four front-men, and supported by a handful of actors (guy who played Ed Sullivan, take a bow) the story of The Beatles plays out in front of a large backdrop which rolls video footage of the landmark events.

It's non-stop, it's all-action and there is not a second's boredom about. Get Back – The Story of the Beatles is a brilliant two hours of theatre and you would only wish that today's youngsters could be rounded up off the bar stools, and ushered in for much needed jab of inspiration when it comes to seeing what kind of a legacy four young men and a few musical instruments can create.

If you get a chance to see this fine piece of work by The Classic Beatles, then take it. See for further details

And for the record, John was the one that did it for me.

* If the decision-makers at RTE were wondering how the news to axe Premier Soccer Saturday would be received by the TV licence payer then the fact that it made the front pages of several of the country's national newspapers during the week should be evidence enough – for a large portion of the viewers, the decision is a bad one.

The price of securing the rights to air the highlights (flagged in the region of €1.3m) that the station began broadcasting fifteen years ago has reportedly been deemed too expensive, and priority will now be given to other sports.

An RTE insider also (weakly) pointed out that there was not an Irish player turning out for any of the teams in the top five of the league during the last season – will this stop Irish people supporting these clubs? Not one bit. Besides, it looks like James McCarthy will be playing for one of the league's elite clubs by the time August 17 comes around.

Without jumping on bandwagons when it is glaringly obvious that there are many RTE presenters not worth the high salaries that they are pocketing, there appears to be a simple rule of thumb the station should adhere to when it comes to making difficult decisions about axing popular programmes. Drop the salaries, not the show.

Wexford People

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