Concert review by Eric Sandberg — The Fab Four Live at the Rose in Pasadena, CA 4/26/2019
Like the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, The Fab Four are playing a four game home stand which began Thursday evening at the Canyon in Santa Clarita, followed by the Rose in Pasadena last night, with the final two games...er...shows at The Saban Theater tonight and the Canyon in Agoura Hills Sunday.
If last night's show at the Rose is any indication, you must buy, steal or Lyft yourself into one of these remaining shows if you live in the greater Los Angeles area. The Fab Four have never sounded, or looked, better.
After two support acts [the first played while I was eating a Holy Aoli burger at the Dog Haus on Hill Street, and the second as I sat on the Rose's patio checking on the aforementioned Dodgers] and a hilarious introduction by Ed Sullivan impersonator/stand up comedian George Trullinger, The Fab Four promptly took the stage at 9:00 PM, dressed in their accurate Shea Stadium finery, and played a sparkling set of favorites from the first half of The Beatles' career, including "Love Me Do," "A Hard Days Night," "Eight Days A Week," Twist And Shout," "Yesterday" and several others.
George "Ed Sullivan" Trullinger warms up the crowd for a rilly big shoo.
As the band, consisting of Joe Bologna as Ringo, 'Liverpeuwel' native Gavin Pring as George, ageless founding member Ardy Sarraf as Paul and newcomer Adam Hastings as John, played these timeless, perfectly crafted pop songs...well...perfectly. I kind of wished they could stay in those gray suits all evening. The addition of Newcastle upon Tyne native Hastings has delivered a noticeable upgrade to the Fab Four's close harmonies. With eyes closed, or even just squinting a bit, it was impossible to tell them from the real thing.
Just squint a little and pretend you can't hear them over the screaming
Newcastle's most famous exports include ships, Sting, Brian Johnson and now you can add Adam Hastings to the list.
Trullinger's Sullivan again entertained the capacity crowd while the band slipped into their colorful 1967 uniforms for the second set. How much, I wonder, does Gavin Pring rue the fact that George was the only Beatle to wear a hat the size of a schooner during that era? They played the opening and closing pairs of songs from Sgt Peppers sandwiched by "Taxman" from Revolver.
The closing set was signaled by the appearance of Adam Hastings in a white suit jacket and long hair. He did some quite funny bits involving a list he had in his pocket before broaching the serious subject of hunger. Pre-orders are now being taken for a special "Imagine No Hunger" California license plate with proceeds to benefit the California Association of Food Banks.
With that, Hastings sat down at the piano to play John Lennon's iconic solo number, joined by the rest of the band on the second verse, which allowed the rapt audience to imagine what could have been.
Despite my preference for The Beatles' earlier songs, I would not have traded this show's encore for anything. The band were joined onstage by Eric Clapton emulator extraordinaire Doug Couture, who gave the impression he had just leapt out of a cab on Green Street as he bounded onto the stage to strap on a Les Paul. His performance on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" not only reminded everyone how great Eric Clapton is, it also put an exclamation point on how thrilling it can be too see musicians of this caliber giving you everything they have in a live venue.
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.