Thursday, August 14, 2008

pre-Review : homage to beatles 40 years ago today

Homage to Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' kicks off tour
By Tamara Simpson Girardi
Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Beatles album that was ranked the best of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003 will be performed at Seven Springs Mountain Resort by a diverse group of artists who all share a love for the band. Todd Rundgren, Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Christopher Cross, Bo Bice and Denny Laine of The Moody Blues are coming together for the two-week cross-country "It Was 40 Years Ago Today" tour that features their own music and all of the songs from the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

The 10-show tour kicks off at the resort on Saturday. Co-producer and production and tour manager Ron Hausfeld says the show isn't about the bright-colored costumes the Beatles wore when they performed the songs. It's simply a tribute to the great music. "The first half of the show is the artists' individual hits," Hausfeld says. "The second half is a tribute to the album. Basically, they'll play the whole record in its entirety."

Each of the performers' hits is diverse, spanning genres and generations. Pennsylvania-born Todd Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager in Philadelphia. He founded The Nazz, a '60s cult group, but left the band in 1969 to pursue a solo career. Rundgren's albums include "Runt," "Something/Anything" -- in which he played all the instruments, sang all vocal parts and acted as his own producer --"Hermits of Mink Hollow" and "A Wizard, a True Star."

This isn't Rundgren's first Beatles performance. "Todd Rundgren did a tour called A Walk Down Abbey Road with us, where he and the other acts performed a selection of Beatles spanning their catalogue," says tour creator and producer Toby Ludwig. "It was a big success, and he was more than happy to come back for this project. All the musicians here have a deep love for the Beatles' music, and it shows in their performances of the material."

"Powerhouse vocalist and songwriter" Lou Gramm also will perform. A member of the band Foreigner, Gramm has racked eight top 5 singles and five top five albums in the United States.

Christopher Cross has released eight albums that led to eight hit singles such as "Sailing" and "Ride Like the Wind," several world tours, five Grammys and an Oscar.

The wide-sweeping success of "American Idol" made Bo Bice, the runner-up from the 2004-2005 season of the show, a household name. "See The Light" is the musician's latest album. It includes the Southern-fried rock of "This Train," and "Whiskey, Women & Time" and emotional ballads such as "Only Words" and "I'm Gone."

Denny Laine joined Paul McCartney in starting the group Wings, which was responsible for Laine's greatest success, the song "Mull of Kintyre." "

All the artists definitely draw a different crowd base," Hausfeld says. "It's a very diverse project. But (the artists) have one thing in common. They all love the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's. So, it should be fun."
Tamara Simpson Girardi can be reached at


Anonymous said...

We attended the concert and were very disappointed in most of the concert. There was a steady parade out of the concert from just prior to intermission. Christopher Cross,Lou Gramm,Denny Laine, Todd, and Bo Bice are great individual artists---that is why we went, but this production was not the best effort of this great cast. Sorry guys--I wish you the best.

Sylvia said...

I was also at the show Friday night. When they started the night with "Revolution" I was expecting something pretty special.
I thought Rundgren was far and away the highlight of the night. He seemed excited to be on the stage and his interaction with the audience was great. Bo Bice did a pretty good job too, but his time onstage was pretty limited. Christopher Cross sounds just as good today as 20 years ago and I wish he and Rundgren had performed more of their individual songs. Denny Laine and Lou Gramm were disappointing, especially Gramm. I know there have been some health issues with Lou, but too many time he seemed to forget the words to songs and never was able to connect to the crowd.
The biggest disappointment of the night, however, was the production team. The sound board person was always five seconds behind the stage...dead mics or volumes so low that you couldn't hear the vocalists. The instrument volumes were also always off. During one "jam" in particular, you could hear every instrument EXCEPT the guitar solo that was being performed.
It was still a fairly entertaining evening, but I hope a lot more practice goes on before the next performance.

Anonymous said...

WE went to the show at Westbury Sunday night and we were disappointed as well. We thought the show was to be a Beatles tribute with a few songs mixed in from the artists, not the whole first half of the concert. I guess with that many big names they all want to their own thing for a little while? I know during intermission we saw many people walking around asking if they were at that right show. As for the artists I felt bad for Lou, he really wasn't near his best. Todds voice was cracking and Bo Bice played well but seems to like to play to the cameras more than anything else. When they sang the line "I'll try not to sing out of key" people were yelling TO LATE from our area. They did seem to pull it together towards the very end of the show but overall I wouldn't have minded missing this one.

Anonymous said...

We saw them at the Hard Rock in Fort Lauderdale. I was thrilled. I thought Ted was wonderful, Lou tried his best, and I think he did a good job, I loved Christopher Cross, and they reminded me of great, old time music of my generation (I am not old either). They so happy I went, I did think Bo looked like Cousin It, and he is too handsome to hide under a hat and all that hair, but I was so happy to see that real rock and roll is still alive and kicking. I especially enjoyed Todd in his flower hat, and Christopher in his bathrobe. Rock on, you guys are the real deal!!!! Thank you for a great Monday night! We were sorry to see it end. Talent is very limited in music today, they had such a great repor with each other, how can you beat a night like that? I wish I could thank each person in the band, and the orchestra was amazing!

Phil said...

Obviously some folks are more difficult to please than others. My wife and I saw the show at The Brady in Tulsa and though that it was amazing. We actually read the ad in the paper and saw on the poster where it said that the artists would also be performing thair individual hits. We were noit disappointed by that either. My hat's off to Todd and the rest of the band for a fantastic evening.

Goldi said...

Homage to the BEATLES was definitely paid in full at the HARD ROCK Casino. We were truely blessed to see so much talent on one stage. What a fantastic night!!!! What a bargain we got when purchasing these tickets. I too must say; that I loved your flower outfit Todd!!! Rock on! Please do another show next year. We love you all. We wish the night would never end................
See you in February Chris : )