THE Upbeat Beatles have been paying homage to the original awesome foursome since 1997, and demand for their services remains sky high.
They are in the middle of a national tour of theatres, in between performing private gigs and functions, and their authentic recreation of the band’s magic has cemented their reputation and kept audiences coming back for more.
The band has had several reshuffles since forming, but the current line-up consists of Colin Yates as George Harrison, a dead ringer for the man himself; Roger Channing as John Lennon; James Jordan as Ringo Starr, and Simon Blight as Paul McCartney.
The show, devised especially for this landmark year, charts their rise to fame, from their humble beginnings playing marathon gigs in Hamburg and at the Cavern Club, in their native Liverpool, to the release of their debut album, Please Please Me, in 1963, and the rooftop of Abbey Road studios, where they gave their last live performance.
It plots the rip-roaring journey over seven short years using stills, narration and, of course, the music that propelled them to dizzy heights.
Packing it all into two hours was no easy feat, explains Simon.
“We had a four-hour show, and had to trim it down. They have made so many classics, and there are certain songs that we just couldn’t leave out – Hey Jude and Twist and Shout are favourites, so if we didn’t play them I don’t think we’d be allowed off the stage.
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is another crowd-pleaser that you might not expect to be in there, but people love getting up and singing along to it.”
Simon, 45, says he was introduced to The Beatles as artists when he was 10, and while he has seen Paul McCartney in concert, he has never met the legend he now immortalises.
He describes how he prepares for the daunting task of stepping into the shoes of one of the world’s most respected musicians.
“We all have to work on getting the voice right, but it’s also the little things. Paul McCartney has some wonderful little mannerisms – when he touches his nose, looks up, and the way he moves, and I try to emulate those things. We all do our research, and I am a bit of a Beatles geek anyway.”
The band visited The Old Vinyl Factory, the manufacturing base of The Beatles during their heyday, and the site where many of their classic LPs were pressed onto vinyl and shipped worldwide.
Simon says that the show attracts people of all ages.
“It is incredible when we see youngsters, some as young as five or six, at our shows wearing T-shirts and singing along.
“It’s a cliche, but the music will never die.
“It is a family show. For lifelong fans, it is a trip down memory lane, and young people hearing the Beatles for the first time can enjoy it too.
“Their story is so fascinating, and so romantic, and it is amazing how they went on to turn the world upside down.
“They had something about them, an edge that no one else had.”
? The Upbeat Beatles’ 50th anniversary tour is at the Beck Theatre, in Grange Road, Hayes, on Friday, June 28, 7.30pm. Tickets cost £17.50. To buy yours, call the box office on 020 8561 8371.
Find out more at www.upbeatbeatles.co.uk .