Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, Mamas and Papas, all unregistered aliens from the universe, if ever you were in doubt about the greatness of The Beatles, rest assured. They were the greatest rock band ever, ever inventive versus adaptive, as witnessed by the testing time, as well as massive fun, our best musicians had on Saturday night in tackling Abbey Road and a bunch of other Beatles' songs which you may not have played all that often, but which attest to unrivalled brilliance.
John, Paul, George, Ringo, and George, because by George Martin, The Beatles took their fettered and unfettered minds into the studio and magic was performed. Such that it was impossible for them to take this music to the stage, firstly because the technology wasn’t up to it, and secondly because it would be inaudible above the fan hysteria and they couldn’t hear each other play.
And when Abbey Road was recorded (after Let it Be) in 1969 the writing was on the wall, The Beatles were beaten and cowed, at least psychologically, not by music, but each other, although George Martin managed to get them to feel the old togetherness again, and much fun was had, and much banter, even if John was complaining about Paul's 'Granny Music' and everyone else was pissed off with Yoko.
The cover is immortal, crossing the zebra with Paul in bare feet, but the music is a long way from pedestrian. And so much of it that they had to condense a bunch of songs into a medley on side two, to carry the weight, and Paul closed an era by threatening bigamy to the Queen.
New Zealand’s finest musicians, up with anyone anywhere, practiced hard and rehearsed and learnt more than thirty songs in a heartbeat, because they are all brilliant and talented and inspired. You want to know how great The Beatles were? Ask the musicians.
Jol Mulholland led the team, Brett Adams led on lead, Mike Hall, Sean Donelly, played bass, as did James Milne, also on piano, Finn Scholes played trumpet and tuba and keys, Nick Atkinson played sax, Matthias Jordan played piano and keys, Michael Barker and Alastair Deverick played drums and percussion and vocals were shared across Tami Neilsen, Jon Toogood, James Milne (aka Lawrence Arabia), Dianne Swann, Samuel Flynn Scott, SJD, Delaney Davidson and Leighton Kora (also guitar). 16 musicians. All together now, in rotation at other times, seamless, egoless, mutually respectful, united in reverence and singular joy at the privilege.
Every song was a highlight. From “Taxman” off Revolver to “A Day In the Life” off Sergeant Peppers; from “I Am The Walrus” off Magical Mystery Tour (not Bads at all), to Hey Bulldog (who else but Delaney on the obscure stuff?) from Yellow Submarine; and a liberal selection from 1968’s White Album, with “Helter Skelter” being particularly 'shit hot' as Leighton told us before he sang. Tami breathing southern soul into Paul’s most rock ‘n roll songs ("Oh Darlin’") and Tami heavy rocking in “I Want You/ She’s So Heavy” proving that John Lennon could riff like the best of them.
A night of great joy, and a touch of sadness in the knowledge that this was truly “The End”
‘And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make’
- Back in the USSR (Jon Toogood)
- Taxman ( Delaney)
- Lady Madonna (Tami)
- Don’t Let Me Down (Tami and Samuel)
- A Day in the Life (James)
- Sexy Sadie (SJD)
- Revolution (Jon)
- Happiness is a Warm Gun (Delaney)
- Dear Prudence (Dianne)
- I am the Walrus (Dianne and Brett)
- Eleanor Rigby (Jol)
- Hey Bulldog (Delaney)
- Ballad of John and Yoko
- Let it Be (James)
- Hard Day’s Night (Jon)
- Everybody’s Got Something to Hide except for Me and my Monkey (Laughton Kora)
- Helter Skelter (Laughton
- Come Together (Laughton)
- Something (James)
- Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Samuel)
- Oh, Darlin’ (Tami)
- Octopus’ Garden (Alastair)
- I want You/She’s So Heavy (Tami)
- Here Come’s the Sun (SJD)
- Medley: Because; You Never Give Me Your Money; Sun King; Mean Mr Mustard, Polythene Pam; She Came in Through the Bathroom Window; Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight
- The End (Tami, Laughton, Delaney, Samuel, James, etc…)
- Her Majesty (Delaney)
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Brett on Eric Clapton)
- Hey Jude (Everyone, including us)
Radio 13 thanks and credits Chris Zwaagdyk for all the images in this review.