This is a guest article by author John Cherry, a long time follower of The Beatles – Simon

The Port Charlotte Cultural Center was the site of the performance for  Beatles tribute band BeatleBeat on the night of January 5th. The cozy 500 seat venue was about half full as the show opened at 7 PM to an audio replay of Ed Sullivan introducing The Beatles before their initial performance on Ed’s show on February 9, 1964.

The band, composed of multi-talented Jim Pappas as John, John Babcock as Paul, John Tillman as George, and Brad Scott as Ringo, jumped right into the Beatles early big hits with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You.” A few lesser known songs followed, including a near replica of  Ringo’s live performance of “Boys.” Before “Till There was You” was done, it was announced that Ed Sullivan had requested that the song be performed on his show, a fact that was unknown to me.

Tillman (George) and Scott (Ringo) were well represented in the show, doing five and three songs, respectively. All were done in good form, although Scott’s “Yellow Submarine” was hampered a bit by weak sound effects and no orchestration. No keyboard was used in the show, which affected the quality of some of the songs that were all from the time period of 1963-65, excluding “Yellow Submarine.” I assume that the keyboard is present in other shows, as “Hey Jude” and “Let it Be” are advertised in the band’s repertoire.

The group produced excellent harmonies on a number of songs, such as “This Boy,” “All My Loving,” “No Reply,” and “If I Needed Someone,”
the latter a first time and well-performed performance for the band. The instrumentation was excellent throughout, although Tillman’s lead guitar seemed a bit buried in the mix. Scott’s drumming was similar to Ringo’s, maintaining the beat, along with the noted fills of certain songs.

Babcock was a bit stronger than Pappas on vocals, but their harmonies complemented the songs as needed. Babcock ended the show with a rousing encore rendition of “I’m Down” that excelled even with Pappas’ harmonica replacing the organ in the song.  Band leader Pappas has done some individual work, plays drums and will be performing in an upcoming Elvis-Tom Jones show that sounds appealing.

The website for the band, thebandguys.com, notes that the band includes former members of the noted group “Beatlemania,” and that “BeatleBeat” has performed over 15,000 (can that be correct?) shows for over a million people. A decade plus of performances at Disney’s Epcot in Orlando is also part of the bands resume.

The calendar for the band is not presently updated, but any Beatles fan or lover of good music from the 60’s would thoroughly enjoy seeing the performance of “BeatleBeat.” The Port Charlotte show suffered from a lack of publicity, and perhaps a cold night in south Florida kept many from attending. There were a number of Canadians in attendance, perhaps attesting to their ability to better weather near record-setting low temperatures.

John Cherry is the author of the just published Better Than Lennon, he poses the question of who was the better musician, who made the greater contribution to popular music, John Lennon, or Paul McCartney? This has been a hot topic for decades, John will be part of the panel on Saturday when we explore this subject further – Simon

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