Wednesday, August 20, 2008

41 Years Ago Today: Bo Bice & The Beatles

JENNIFER HUDSON HAS has the impossibly late debut album. Clay Aiken has the improbably conceived platonic love child. But of all the "American Idol" alums, Bo Bice has the funnest tag to play "The Name Game" with.

It's a different '60s pop phenomenon, however, that he's paying tribute to Saturday at Wolf Trap. Bice will join studio wiz Todd Rundgren, yacht-rock exemplar Christopher Cross, Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm and Wings/Moody Blues vet Denny Laine to form a motley supergroup that will perform The Beatles' magnum opus, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Bice confesses that it's a bit of a stretch for a "Southern-rock guy," but he welcomes the challenge. "I wanted to step out of my comfort zone," he says.

Even among the pros, Beatles fandom is a matter of picking favorites. "I love ‘Sgt. Pepper's,'" Bice says, "but I have to admit, I'm more of a ‘Revolver'/‘Abbey Road' guy."

Still, he gives credit where it's due: "[‘Sgt. Pepper's'] was the first real concept album, the first album where you didn't have to have breaks in between songs. ... Without ‘Sgt. Pepper's,' we might not have seen ‘Dark Side of the Moon' or ‘The Wall.'"

And although George is Bice's top Beatle, it's a couple of Paul's songs — "Getting Better" and "Lovely Rita" — that'll give Bice a chance to shine.

A top-to-bottom re-creation of "Sgt. Pepper's" will close the show. In the first half, the frontmen will take turns with their own hits. Bice promises versions of "I'm Gone" and "Witness."

Bice also views the tour as an opportunity to hang out, network and receive a little tutelage from industry icons: "You never know where you're going learn your next lesson from."

» Wolf Trap, Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna; Sat., 8 p.m.; $25-$40; 877-965-3872.

Written by Express contributor Glenn Dixon

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