Close your eyes and listen. 1964…The Tribute, which plays tonight at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, sounds exactly like The Beatles live, in concert, circa 1964-66, during their pre-"Sgt. Pepper" era. Open your eyes and look. The singer/musicians of 1964…The Tribute look enough like the four mop tops from Liverpool to give you chills — and thrills. Let the screaming begin.
This superlative Beatles tribute group, which was formed in September 1984 by high-school friends Gary Grimes and Mark Benson, has brought audiences on both sides of Atlantic to their feet ever since. It is widely considered to be the number-one Beatles show in the world. Indeed, the group sold out Carnegie Hall on January 10, 2003.
1964…The Tribute strives to recreate a typical Beatles concert, word for word, note for note, gesture for gesture. Their instruments, clothing, boots, hairstyles, and even amplifiers are exact replicas of Beatles gear and fashions.
Those who have seen 1964…The Tribute claim that seeing Mark Benson as John Lennon, Gary Grimes as Paul McCartney, Jimmy Pou as George Harrison, and Greg George as Ringo Starr is the next best thing to seeing the Fab Four in their heyday. (Note: Grimes had to learn to play left-handed.)
Jimmy Pou and Greg George are dead ringers for Messrs. Harrison and Starr, Gary Grimes is a Paul McCartney look-alike, and Mark Benson bears only a slight resemblance to John Lennon but sounds just like him.
According to pre show publicity, "Alistair Taylor, former president of Apple Records stated, 'the resemblance was uncanny, it sent shivers down my spine. It was just like the boys. Never have I seen another group go to such detail... born again Beatles.' Louise Harrison, George Harrison's sister, was so moved after seeing a [1964…The Tribute] performance, she held a party in her home in their honor."
For Baby Boomers who missed their chance to see the real thing, for Generation Xers who wonder what the hullabaloo was all about, and for everyone in-between, 1964…The Tribute is a must-see musical. John, Paul, George, and Ringo live again in these highly polished impersonations by Messrs. Benson, Grimes, Pou, and George.
Strut Productions presents 1964…The Tribute Friday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m. at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, 1 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. $20-$35. 919/834-4000 (Ticketmaster) or http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/806105. 1964... The Tribute: http://www.1964thetribute.com/.