'Reunion' set creates magical mystery tour to 'what if'
Let It Be
* * * *
ON paper, Let It Be is the kind of show any Beatles fan should adore – packed with nearly 40 hit songs from band members and with four leads who deserve to sing and play their way into any top tribute.
And maybe the reason the first half of Monday’s opening night at Eden Court felt a little flat was down to the audience.
They took a little while to respond with anything like the enthusiasm of the American teenagers that we saw in the film footage from Shea Stadium – like “being in the eye of a hurricane”, John Lennon (Richard Jordan) described the band’s view of that first huge stadium experience.
By the time Lennon was asking us to rattle our jewellery a couple of songs in, the clapping had started and when we were asked to get up for song seven, Twist And Shout, it egged on a willing, if slightly muted crowd.
The first half of the show now packs in what was once the whole Let It Be show, and it does whiz along. But it’s worth it to make room for the magical mystery tour into fantasy for the 1980 reunion set in the second half.
A narrator told us of the band parting, John and Paul meeting up in 1976, preparing the way for the set-up that the Fab Four reunite for a gig on John’s birthday in October 1980.
And it’s a clever set that ramps up the drama with lights and arrangements and takes in Paul’s Wings hits – Jet and Band On The Run, John’s Watching The Wheels and Imagine, George’s stunning My Sweet Lord and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, complete with John Brosnan’s fabulous Clapton guitar solo.
Just before it, George (John) told us at the end of the main show: "This next song is our last one!"
"Aww!" the crowd chorused sincerely.
"But don't worry, it's a good one,"John comforted us. "It's by the Beatles."
A spectacular performance came with Live And Let Die with washes of rainbow colours in one of the lighting big moments of the night.
And Emanuele Angeletti’s talents also shone through in this half, his solo version of Blackbird a moving high spot of the night which really showed off his voice.
As the applause died away, John asked the crowd: "I think this reunion is going quite well, what do you think?"
Climaxing with Let It Be, the group got themselves a standing ovation, a massive singalong in Hey Jude and there's no doubt the reunion is a triumphant ‘what if’.
Let It Be is on at Eden Court until Saturday. https://eden-court.co.uk/event/let-it-be