By Kevin Coughlin
It’s a guilty pleasure.
Silly. Embarrassing, even. The wigs… the costumes…the psychedelic backdrops.
Another ersatz Beatles act. I just can’t help myself.
Aw, what the heck. The cast of Let It Be may not look much like John, Paul, George and Ringo, and the accents are suspect.
But Michael Gagliano, Neil Candelora, JT Curtis and Chris McBurney (with a little help from their friend, keyboard player Daniel A. Weiss, who looks nothing like Billy Preston) had a mature audience dancing on Wednesday at Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center.
Which is no small feat.
A pair of oversized 1960s TVs showed black-and-white clips from the era–commercials for Pall Malls and Instant Breakfast look pretty comical now–and projected backdrops of Shea Stadium and other Magical Mystery places lent a certain theatricality to the proceedings.
Several entertaining Beatles tribute bands have Twisted and Shouted through MPAC over the years. The moptops can be interchangeable, in fact. Candelora impersonated Paul McCartney with The Fab Four in 2013.
What sets apart this show is the second half, an imaginary reunion for John Lennon’s 40th birthday. It’s nice to contemplate such an occasion, which would have delighted everyone except Yoko and the lawyers who created a cottage industry of ex-Beatles suing each other.
Wednesday’s fantasy concert delivered a tasty blend of choice Beatles fare, like Blackbird and Back in the USSR and Good Morning, along with a full-throttle medley of early rock covers (Rock and Roll Music, Roll Over Beethoven, Long Tall Sally) and solo hits from the ’70s.
“John” (Gagliano) gave convincing takes of Imagine and Watching the Wheels, and “George” (Curtis) finally got his due with My Sweet Lord, What Is Life, and a scorching treatment of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
A guilty pleasure, for sure. Like French fries, chocolate eclairs and ice cream sundaes. Except this one leaves me feeling a lot better.
Maybe someday I will outgrow it.
I hope not.