Show's second half is the gig that never was
LIKE many Beatles fans, producer Jeff Parry had often wondered what it would have been like if the band had reunited.
Now in the second half of stage show tribute Let It Be – which comes to Eden Court on Monday – Jeff has made it possible to see and hear what that reunion might have been like, 10 years on from the band's real-life split in December 1970.
“It’s neat watching people’s faces in the second half,” said Jeff, the man behind Annerin Theatricals which stages the show.
“They’ve never seen things in a context like this. We start off with a Paul McCartney song and then a Lennon song. All four Beatles get a chance to lead and along with the solo songs we have added Beatles songs, like Got To Get You Into My Life.”
Where did the idea come from to devote the second half of the show to this imaginary gig that never was?
“Funnily enough it was the original idea,” Jeff said, a lifelong Beatles fan who was given his first album at nine.
“I’d had in my mind for 30 years what a reunion of The Beatles would have been like. It was bringing it down to a significant time when you could do it.
“I thought October 9, 1980 – John Lennon’s 40th birthday – rather than a fictitious date and I wanted to keep it a positive scenario.”
In real life, John was shot and killed just a few weeks later.
'The Beatles created change and pushing the limits is what made them unique!'
“The second half has the Lennon songs from Double Fantasy and then, of course, Imagine brings real emotion as the songs have never been performed live.
“It reminds us all of how much John Lennon is missed and how much more he could have contributed.”
The original Let It Be show had spanned the Beatles’ career across two halves. It had grown from Jeff being asked by a radio station in Calgary to get a Beatles band to play five songs in their parking lot for a promotion.
“I hated Beatle tribute bands, as their first intent was to look like them – musical ability not even close.
“So I usually ran when the opportunity to see a Beatle tribute show presented itself,” Jeff laughed.
“But In this case we found the group Rain who were older and could play note for note – they blew me away and that took something.
“So it’s easy to say that going from a parking lot to Broadway, the West End – and now our third tour of the UK – was never close to my expectations!”
But after splitting from Rain, the original show in America, a new Beatles tribute show Let It Be was created in the UK, later evolving into the latest version.
“I came up with the idea of condensing the original show into the first half and doing the reunion in the second half,” said Jeff.
“I wasn’t sure if it would be possible with all the costume and set changes, but frankly I stuck with the Beatles mantra that creating change and pushing the limits is what made them unique!
“Now the whole of the original Let It Be show is in the first half.
“It’s like it’s on steroids!
“Before the second half starts, we run film saying The Beatles are squabbling and breaking up, then we say ‘What if they had got together – just imagine?’.
Let It Be is at Eden Court from Monday to Saturday, April 29 to May 4