Tribute to Beatles’ 1964 Hollywood Bowl Show Falls Flat

By Fred Zermeno Exclusive to EGP

With so many celebrities and talented musicians in Southern California it’s not far-fetched to assume that the line up for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance at the Hollywood Bowl would be packed with top musicians and stellar performances, but that wasn’t the case during last weeks multi-night show in the Hollywood Hills.

Eurythmics front man Dave Stewart was the “ringmaster” for the tribute show that included Mary Lambert, Vennessa Amorosi, Liv Warfield, Michelle Branch, and Allen Stone doing a lackluster replay of the Beatles’ 1964 rocking performance at the Bowl.

There were some great moments during the three-night sold out tour, but it was hard to miss the bad ones, like when Michelle Branch stopped in the middle of her rendition of all time Beatle favorite “Eleanor Rigby,” telling the audience, “you deserve better, let’s start over.”

She was right.

Beatle fans know their stuff, every word and note, that’s why the top local Beatles tribute bands rehearse daily to perfect their performances.

Who would have thought that a Beatles tribute show would have to rely on the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus to finally get fans up off their seats and dancing? Billy Ray rocked the stage – a great surprise.

It was pretty clear Stewart — who never really connected with the audience — was there to give some friends and family the spotlight, including son Django who sang more songs than many of the headliners, but looked like Beatles music isn’t his thing. Stewart’s daughter Kaya was the family’s saving grace, singing one song that quickly proved she has the strongest voice in the Stewart clan.

Papa Stewart’s guitar riffs were impeccable but it took Billy Ray singing “Hey Jude” to get the crowd to pull out cell phones (in place of lighters) and sing along. Martina McBride singing “Yesterday” and Liv Warfield’s classic rendition of “Come Together” provided two of the far too few memorable moments during the final show.

Exiting the Hollywood Bowl, Mike Jennings of Santa Barbara, told EGP he would have rather seen one of the top Beatles Tribute bands open up the all-star jam during the second set. “I didn’t mind the lineup so much as I hated the fact that the connection was never made with the crowd,” Jennings said.

Deborah Garcia of Montebello agrees. “I’m a rocker, I grew up listening to Beatles music and I walked away feeling like there was something missing,” she said, noting that the 50th Anniversary of the Hollywood Bowl show should have been something special.

“[Stewart’s] son sang too many songs, he has a good voice but he was not the front man I wanted to see at a Beatles anniversary, so the excitement was not there for me,” Garcia said.

Hopefully that will change next year when the Tribute to the Beatles Festival returns to the West Coast in 2015.

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August 28, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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