It is anniversary week and in what seems a lifetime ago it was 55 years ago this week when The Beatles played two shows in Kirkcaldy in what was the old Carlton cinema. 1963 was their breakthrough year too and they were so young, exciting and prolific as they checked in to Park Road as they already had three chart toppers that year and were just one week away from the career defining performance on national television as they played Sunday Night at the London Palladium whereby the following day the term Beatlemania was in the press coined by the Daily Express. This week it is John Lennon’s birthday too and that has not gone unnoticed
by the UK tour of Let It Be. This was the long running musical from the West End set up like a Beatles concert at the various stages of their career.
Playing live with additional keyboards from MD Michael Bramwell there is no room for error as it’s all about the music apart from some visuals during scene changes where we are treated to newsreels and TV ads from the 1960’s such as Capstan cigarettes. For this tour they imagine what might have happened if a reunion took place for John’s birthday in 1980 and this takes up the second half of the show. They open with seems like the full Royal Variety Show from November 1963 including the banter and jokes ‘those in the cheap seats clap your hands and the rest of you rattle your jewellery’ included. The early short million sellers like She Loves You and I Wanna Hold Your Hand are amazing to experience in the theatre as at the time the screaming would never let the audience hear them back in the day. We switch to Shea Stadium for a set then the Apple rooftop for the final shows together with Get Back, Revolution and a storming The End with John Brosnan as George on guitar and authentic beats from Ben Cullingworth as Ringo.
The second half was even better received than the opening as we now heard songs never performed as a group. There were many highlights like Band On The Run, Watching The Wheels and the rock n’ roll medley of Roll Over Beethoven, Rock and Roll Music and Long Tall Sally. The stand out moments for me were both in the second half as Emanuele Angeletti as Paul performed a note perfect Blackbird acoustically on a stool and when Michael Gagliano as John delivered a flawless Imagine at the piano, now what a Beatles song that could have been.
The opening night audience were on their feet and were rewarded with two encores of Let It Be (it had to be there) and a sing-along Hey Jude.
Edinburgh Playhouse till October 13