Can You Gig It? – The Bootleg Beatles @ Manchester Apollo

Can You Gig It?

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bootlegbeatles.jpgI’m not one for tribute acts much. Saying that, I went to watch The Rolling Stones in Ireland earlier in the year, and the fact that they were a complete parody of themselves contributed highly to my enjoyment of the show. Anyway, I tootled up to Manchester’s gloriously faded Apollo Theatre to spend an evening with The Bootleg Beatles… and what a show it was.
Naturally, the Fab-Faux, looked and sounded like The Beatles… you wouldn’t watch ‘em otherwise, would you? Switching from mop-top to heroin-riddled Abbey Road via Pepperisms, the band pulled each leg shake and guitar lick with great ease. So alike were they that the MockCartney was even better than the real thing (and about as much hair-dye, too). For a man of my years, who wasn’t alive when the Fab Four were doing the rounds, it was great to be able to singalonga Please Please Me… but that’s not all.

The great thing about The Bootleg Beatles is that they perform music from a time that saw Lennon and Co. quitting the road. The vast majority of the set had never been played live by The Beatles. So, they covered from the beat era of the first 4 or 5 LPs, to the grand psychedelia of Strawberry Fields Forever. Of course, everyone knew all the words, so there was a party afoot.
Sadly, the venue deemed the show a bit cabaret, and decided to sit everyone down. However, the faux fabs constantly beckoned all to feet, making middle-aged men and women go completely mental in the aisles. It was great fun to see set-perms waving arms around and hollering Lennon nonsense like “he got feet down below his knee”. Sadly, since the smoking ban, the overriding smell of BO and toilets filled the magical spectacle.
Most disconcerting, and cue for most impressed-peeved grins, was the fact that these charlatans didn’t just sing and dance like The Beatles, but talked like them in-between songs. Each took off the idols with great aplomb, with the Lennonalike carrying the same bullshit sense of humour… “We’re going to be taking a short intermission now… for 6 months” and wisecracking about Macca’s divorce settlement. The Lennonalike also broke into Wonderwall before spitting “bloody tribute acts”.
Of course, this was never going to be a life-changing gig, but for a stupidly fun night out, you’d be hard pressed to beat this lot. They’ve got every song down so well that at times, you drift off and completely forget that you’re watching a tribute act. You know all the songs… and you know that the songs are stupidly great… so it’s a win-win situation. The Bootleg Beatles have been doing this for so long that they’ve honed their show into something quite incredible. The stage show is filled with images of screaming teens, Vietnam, mini-dresses and, probably most impressive of all was watching people who might normally read The Sun actually singing and believing in the spirit of “All You Need Is Love”. Great stuff and highly recommended.

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