For any Beatles fan, the Tulsa PAC was the place to be Friday Night. 1964 The Tribute played their hearts out to a near capacity Chapman Hall. The group is more than a Beatles “Cover Band.” They transport you back in time when the Beatles first came to America close to what it was like to be at a historic Beatles concert; from the equipment, to the hilarious banter, and the outfits and hair, they have this gig down. They even use Gordon Millings, The Beatles’ tailor in England to make their suits every six months.
The band is made up of four guys from Akron, Ohio. Since 1982 Mark Benson as John Lennon, Gary Grimes as Paul McCartney, Tom Work as George Harrison and Terry Manfredi as Ringo Star bring the beloved rock icons to life. (Todd Rainey has temporarily replaced Gary Grimes this year due to a medical leave.)
Opening with “I Saw Her Standing There,” the audience was immediately on their feet dancing and singing along. It was evident that 1964 The Tribute could easily be the reincarnation of the Beatles. Benson (John Lennon) stated they are starting their 26th year playing together and Tulsa is the only city that they have come to every single year. Then they launched into favorites like “All My Loving” then “Eight Days a Week” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
During the intermission, six huge beach balls flew through the air. This kept everyone entertained passing them through all three levels of the concert hall, but you needed to pay attention to prevent being hit in the face. One fan said she has not missed a show in over 10 years. She stated this is her one time a year to exercise as she danced throughout the show.
The lights went dim and the beach balls disappeared as the band came back for the second set of the night. There wasn’t much sitting; as each song would end, the audience would start to take their seats. As soon as the first note played of the next song, they would jump right back up and begin dancing again. For a mostly mature audience, I was surprised by the continuous dancing throughout the night.
As the band revisited “Help” “Day Tripper” and “Ticket to Ride” there was a reverent energy in the air. 1964 The Tribute honors the Beatles so well; at times it’s almost easy to forget 2010. During the song “Yellow Submarine” a fan waved his homemade yellow submarine in the air. Everyone else had their hands raised, swaying back and forth singing along; an epic moment.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The band sticks mostly to very early 60’s tunes. But regardless, lifelong fan or newcomer, the show is sure to please.