On Thursday 13th December 2012, I went to watch the Bootleg Beatles play live at the Sheffield City Hall.
The Bootleg Beatles are the most famous and successful tribute band to the Beatles in the world. Since forming in 1980, the group have performed all over the world including playing at the Golden Jubilee Party, headlining the acoustic stage at Glastonbury Festival and even recreating the Beatles’ famous rooftop concert in 1999 on the 30th anniversary of the original event.
The group recreates the experience of seeing the Beatles, one of the most successful bands of all time, play live. The look-alike, sound-alike musicians dress up as the band throughout the different eras of the group from the early years of 1962 through Sgt Pepper and up to the final years of Abbey Road and the rooftop concert. The line up has gone through a few changes through the years and the current ‘fab four’ is Adam Hastings (John Lennon), Steve White (Paul McCartney), Andre Barreau (George Harrison) and Hugo Degenhardt (Ringo Starr). Barreau, who portrays George, is an original member from the groups formation in 1980.
I am a big fan of the Beatles and I was very interested in seeing the Bootleg’s live in my hometown at the Sheffield City Hall. I was very excited, not only to see the group live but also because it was my first ever concert.
The Bootlegs opened the show with ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and continued by playing some of the early hits such as ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘Love Me Do’, which is 50 years old this year.
The members cracked jokes between songs and kept the audience involved in the show all through the evening. ‘Paul’ played a solo version of ‘Yesterday’ before the band played songs such as ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Help!’ from the film years. The first half of the show was brought to an end with the song ‘Twist and Shout’ before a short interval.
The band came out for the second half of the show wearing their colourful Sgt Pepper outits. The section which started with’Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ also included ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, giving ‘Ringo’, portrayed by Hugo Degenhardt, his chance in the spotlight. It was classic song after classic song in the second half with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Penny Lane’, ‘I Am The Walrus’ ,’Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘All You Need Is Love’ all included. ‘John Lennon’, played by Adam Hastings who only recently joined the group, particularly stood out during this section with some magnificent vocals as well as looking almost exactly like the man himself.
The group moved in to the later era of the Beatles with a brilliant acoustic solo of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ by ‘George’. Andre Barreau, who portrays George in the show really showed what an excellent musician he is with this performance. ‘Paul’ then took up position at the piano and played ‘Hey Jude’, which the entire audience sang along to. The encore saw the band play ‘Back In The USSR’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’ before receiving a well deserved standing ovation and leaving the stage.
The different members of the Bootlegs portrayed the Beatles brilliantly and showed their fantastic musical ability all the way through the show. They mimic the voices and manerisms of the ‘Fab Four’ as well as playing the same instruments, all to perfection. It really is like watching the real thing and I would highly recommend the show to anyone with an interest in the Beatles.
I Want To Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, All My Loving, She Loves You, Love Me Do, This Boy, Roll Over Beethoven, A Hard Day’s Night, Eight Days Week, I Saw Her Standing There, Yesterday, I Feel Fine, Can’t Buy Me Love, Help!, Ticket To Ride, Twist and Shout
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With a Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, I Am The Walrus, Magical Mystery Tour, All You Need Is Love, Got To Get You Into My Life, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise), While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Come Together, Get Back, Birthday, Don’t Let Me Down, Here Comes The Sun, Ballad of John and Yoko, Hey Jude, Back In The USSR, Long Tall Sally