The Bootleg Beatles played live at Sheffield City on 16th December 2014 as part of their 25th annual UK tour.
The tribute act had the crowd under their spell from the first note to the last, taking them on a journey through the history of the ‘Fab Four’ from their breakthrough in 1963, to the Sgt Pepper era and finally the famous rooftop concert.
For fans of the Beatles, it is a truly unmissable experience.
Since their formation back in 1980, the Bootleg Beatles have been keeping the sound of The Beatles alive performing thousands of concerts all over the world.
The current tour makes history as the first not to feature an original member of the tribute band as Andre Barreau, who played George Harrison for an impressive 34 years, hung up his guitar in July.
There was no doubt that his replacement Stephen Hill, who previously played the role in the ‘Let It Be’ production, had massive shoes to fill. But he quickly showed the near-sellout crowd why he warranted the position with superb rendition of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, the third song of the evening.
The Bootleg’s had earlier got the show underway with ‘She Loves You’, the band’s best selling single in the UK. ‘From Me To You’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ made up the rest of the opening section, which saw the banned sporting the famous suits and Beatle haircut combination of 1963 – the year they released their first album ‘Please Please Me’.
A video showing various events from the early 60’s provided the interlude between the first two parts, the second of which moved forward to 1964, the year The Beatles conquered America.
‘A Hard Days Night’ kicked off the section which also included ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and ‘If I Fell’ – which ‘John’, who was tonight being portrayed by another former ‘Let It Be’ performer Reuven Gershon in place of the unwell Adam Hastings, jokingly dedicated to those in the balcony!
‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ was also performed. This saw Hugh Degenhardt, who is now the longest running member of the tribute band having played Ringo since 2003, take up vocals for the first time this evening – something that was greeted with delightful “Ringooo” chants from the audience.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Britain’s Got Talent!” announced ‘George’ as the band, minus ‘Paul’, left the stage, which could mean only one thing. With the spotlight shining down on him inside this grand venue, Steve White proceeded to perform a beautiful and scarily real rendition of ‘Yesterday’ to the mesmerized crowd.
The full band then returned to the stage for part three, skipping forward to 1966, the year of The Beatles’ final live concert. Included were outstanding performances of ‘Day Tripper’, ‘Taxman’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘Help’ before the Bootleg’s ended the first half with ‘Twist and Shout’, a real classic that got the whole crowd on their feet.
After a 15-minute interval, one of the world’s most talented tribute acts returned to the City Hall stage dressed in the famous Sgt. Pepper outfits.
They opened with the title track of possibly their most famous album, ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and from here it was simply classic after classic. ‘Ringo’ was back on vocals for ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, before the rest of the ‘psychedelic era’ featured tracks such as ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, ‘Penny Lane’, a City Hall sing-a-long to ‘Yellow Submarine’ and a recreation of the summer of love with ‘All You Need Is Love’.
Stephen Hill provided the final interlude of the evening, cementing his merits as ‘George’ with an outstanding performance of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ – one of the standout moments of the night.
‘Come Together’ then started the final section, set in the Beatles’ final year 1969. McCartney classic ‘Get Back’ and Lennon’s ‘Revolution’ followed, before ‘Here Comes The Sun’ which was dedicated to a girl in the audience celebrating her 18th birthday…although her mother had requested ‘She’s Leaving Home’, instead!
A magical performance of ‘Let It Be’ appeared to bring the show to a conclusion as the band left the stage. But after pleading shouts for more from the audience of all ages, they returned for a two-song encore that started with ‘Back In The USSR’.
“We couldn’t leave without doing this one” announced ‘Paul’, now adorned by a flashing Christmas jumper, before jokingly singing the first line of ‘Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time’! But of course he meant ‘Hey Jude’, and it was the perfect ending to the evening with every single person inside the City Hall on their feet singing along to this anthem.
It was an outstanding performance from the Bootleg Beatles, who never fail to impress and offer a real taste of what it must have been like to see John, Paul, George and Ringo perform back in the 1960’s.
Pt 1: She Loves You, From Me To You, Roll Over Beethoven, I Saw Her Standing There
Pt 2: Hard Day’s Night, If I Fell, Can’t Buy Me Love, I Wanna Be Your Man, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Yesterday
Pt 3: Daytripper, Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, Help, Nowhere Man, Got To Get You Into My Life, Twist And Shout
Pt 4: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Penny Lane, I Am The Walrus, Yellow Submarine, Hello Goodbye, All You Need Is Love
Pt 5: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Come Together, Get Back, Revolution, Here Comes The Sun, Ballad of John And Yoko, Let It Be
Encore: Back In The USSR, Hey Jude