On 10 January 2003 Carnegie Hall once again came alive to the sounds of the 60s. 1964 - The Tribute played to a sold out house and brought back wonderful memories for thousands of Americans who first witnessed the arrival of The Beatles onto their shores all those years ago.
People had travelled from far and wide to support what has to be the greatest Beatles tribute band in the world. The Hall was jam packed full of family, friends and fans who had made the special journey to New York to support their finest moment. The band in turn paid homage to those people who have supported them since their beginnings almost 20 years ago. These people now brought their own families to see 1964 achieve something they had until now only dreamed of. So, how do you get to Carnegie Hall - practice! practice! practice! An old joke I know but one that proved to be so right on this occasion.
My stomach was turning in excitement as I walked into Carnegie Hall and I can't begin to imagine how the stomachs of Mark, Jimmy, Greg and Gary were feeling as they waited backstage to make their entrance. I recognised so many people who had, like me, travelled many miles for this show. Everyone was excited.
Promoter Mark Johnson was first on stage to thank everyone for coming. He said he was nervous but it didn't really show, I think he was just as excited as everyone else and couldn't wait for the music to begin.
First up was the very humorous Mike Rayburn. He was amazing to listen to and very entertaining too.
Mark Johnson came back on stage and introduced a man known to all Beatle fans as the person who brought The Beatles to Carnegie Hall almost 40 years ago. There's a story in itself because that man, Sid Bernstein, got The Beatles that gig by telling Carnegie that they were a "string quartet".... promoter's licence I guess, but it was almost true and it worked so we have a lot to thank Sid for.
Although Sid brought The Beatles to Carnegie Hall he didn't actually have the honour of introducing them onto the stage that night. That honour went to someone else by shear bad luck on Sid's behalf. However, on this night he was rewarded by being given the opportunity to at least try and re-live that moment from so long ago by introducing 1964 onto the stage. It was a very nostalgic and emotional moment for Sid and I know he was very proud to be taking part in this fabulous evening.
Intro over - ladies and gentlemen - 1964 The Tribute.
On they walked to rapturous applause, much clapping and VERY loud screaming - well the Poster says "you won't believe your eyes or ears" and it's correct. They looked every inch The Beatles and believe me they sounded it too!
From the very first chord they were on fire. At one point I thought Gary was going to explode, he was so excited. He sounded more like Paul McCartney than ever. What a special moment for these guys. Carnegie Hall has amazing acoustics and you could hear every single note perfectly. The sound was so good, the harmonies heart wrenching and the visual, one not to be missed. The word professionalism was invented for these guys. Original instruments and amps added to the whole concept of how The Beatles looked when they last performed on that vast stage. They had worked incredibly hard for this evening and it showed, everything was perfect. For those never having been lucky enough to see the real thing this was it, it was the closest you'll EVER get, believe me, I was there at the beginning and I was there at Carnegie Hall, they are soooooooo good. You really do get a feeling of what The Beatles were all about when you see this band. They couldn't get closer to the real thing if they tried any harder. In the nicest possible way, Mark and Gary have to be the greatest screamers in the music business...so close, so very close to the real thing. Musically they are without doubt some of the most talented guys in the business and they're a joy to know and listen to. A world class act and hard to follow I imagine. Well I wouldn't like to be in a band that had to follow that...lol
Favourites for me were "Yes It Is" - Jimmy had everything so perfect and the control of the volume here was astounding, "And Your Bird Can Sing" had to be the best I've heard it yet, "In My Life", what can you say? Oh heck, all of the songs, I can't pick out favourites, it's too difficult.
The end of the show culminated in the audience just screaming, shouting and stamping their feet for more. They came back on for the encore but they took their time!!!
It was all over way too soon. Everyone made their way to the "meet and greet" venue on the first floor of the Hall. Literally hundreds of people turned up to say Hello and pass on their congratulations. From there it was back to the Plaza Hotel for a chat and round up of the whole evening. Many people turned up here and it was lovely to meet other Voxtalkers, these people really know their stuff.
So, back next year? Yes of course. It seems Carnegie Hall were so impressed with the band and the sell out that they have been invited back for the 9 and 10 January next year. See you there.