This is a guest article by John Cherry the author of Better Than Lennon, a book that explores who was the better musician John Lennon or Paul McCartney – Simon

This show was well worth the price of admission ($20-$25). The locale was the Venice Community Center. A crowd of approximately 1,000 packed the facility for the show that opened at 7 PM with the recorded music of Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again.” It was kind on an unusual beginning for a concert where the first song performed was “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

There have been evolving versions of the group “Beatlemania” over the years and this is an excellent combination. Information about the group was scarce at the site, so portions of this review are gathered from Wikipedia. Lenie Colacino (Paul) played in the original group “CAST” that played in the “Beatlemania” Broadway show, and has played along with Carlo Cantamessa (John) since the late 1980’s. Jim Filgate (George) is the next senior member, followed John Delgado as Ringo.

The group moved through most of the early to mid 60’s hits in the first half of the show, with the highlights being “This Boy,”  “Nowhere Man,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Yesterday,” the latter with great vocal and played without an acoustic guitar. An accurate feedback effect on “I Feel Fine” was a nice touch.

After switching to Sgt. Pepper gear following the 15 minute intermission, the title song from the “Pepper” album was played, followed, in good form, “With a Little Help From My Friends,” sung by Delgado. After a “Penny Lane” that lacked some fullness in the backing instruments, the group switched to a medley collection of “Pepper” and “Magical Mystery Tour” songs. “All You Need is Love” was the weakest of the group, as the lead vocal and the backing brass from the synthesizer seemed buried in the mix. Although performed well, I think the medley short-changed some of the songs.

While the others in the band changed to “Abbey Road” era dress, Contamessa (John), who had left one song earlier, came out and did the only Beatle solo song on the night with “Imagine,” starting with a fake “Let it Be” intro. The full band came back with an excellent “Back in the U.S.S.R., although cut short, followed by excellent vocals on “Come Together,” although strangely missing its piano solo. After “Something” with near perfect drum work, Filgate (George) performed a near flawless “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which was one of the crowd favorites. “Revolution” also had strong vocals, but, again, missed the piano solo.

Ending with shortened versions of “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude,” the crowd was induced to participate, much like what is seen in a McCartney show of recent years. An exuberant standing ovation followed the show’s end.

Medleys and shortened versions notwithstanding, this show is probably as it good as it gets for a Beatle like performance. Colacino and Contamessa have their parts as Paul and John down quite well. If this show comes your way, I highly recommend that you find a way to go see it.

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