Besides their legendary performance on a rooftop in London in 1969, the Beatles stopped touring in August 1966. Beatlemaniacs everywhere have missed the chance to see these legends perform some of their biggest hits to a live audience, including “Hey Jude,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “I am the Walrus.”
Your only options now are to see Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr on their own live, but if you want to save a couple-hundred dollars, the next best thing is Beatlemania.
Now playing at Trump Plaza Hotel Casino, the young band is the closest thing to experiencing The Beatles live, minus the thousands of screaming girls.
What we liked: Just about everything. Over the course of four costume changes and 22 hit songs, spectators were on their feet for Beatlemania Now.
In between sets, jumbo screens played commercials, clips or picture montages of what was happening in the world during the era Beatlemania was emulating. One clip that drew lots of laughs was a Camel ad for doctors who prefer its brand of cigarettes.
One thing that must be praised was the band’s ability to play alongside recorded material they couldn’t reproduce. Whether it was synth or flute sounds, the extra melodies flowed right into the band’s repertoire and only added to the performance.
Just like it is today in real life, it was basically the Paul show on stage. Played by Graham Alexander, the singer sounded the most like the Beatle he was portraying. From the epic “Hey Jude,” to the heart-pounding “Helter Skelter,” Alexander had McCartney down pat. The singer even took over a few of John’s legendary solos, including the haunting background solo during the bridge of “A Day in the Life.” He even played throughout the concert left-handed, just like Paul, until he sat down for an acoustic solo of “Yesterday.”
John Lennon, portrayed by Scot Michael Arch, had a rocky start to the concert, but by a musically perfect rendition of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Arch found his stride and started to sound more and more like the real John. When it came time to play “I am the Walrus,” Arch was nailing the complicated lyrics and the strange emphasis on them to redeem himself. By the time he got to “Imagine,” he had won over the crowd. He hit a wrong note on the piano during the intro to the song, but it let the audience know that him and Paul were really playing the piano.
Christopher Colon took up the role of George Harrison and knocked it out of the park. During a beautiful acoustic version of “Here Comes the Sun,” Colon showed off his guitar chops and his accurate George-stage moves. All through the concert, Colon moved just as George did, standing awkwardly and bobbing his head now and again while grinning. And his accent wasn’t bad either, considering George had the thickest one.
Ringo may have been the most underrated star in this show. Eric James Smith took up the position as drummer for Beatlemania, and didn’t miss a beat. His voice is a little bit more subtle compared to the real Ringo, but his drumming and his motions while drumming were exactly like what the Beatles “Starr” is still doing today. During renditions of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I am the Walrus,” which are two of the harder Beatles songs to replicate, Smith helped it sound like you were listening to the original vinyls.
All together now, the band puts on a show that has everyone dancing in their seats and couples dancing together in the aisles.
Insiders Tip: Try to grab a seat in the middle of the theater so you can take in all the sights and sounds Beatlemania Now has to offer.
What we didn’t like: Besides the character of John not being 100 percent perfect, it would have been nice to hear a few more songs out of Beatlemania. Colon was magnificent as George and the concert would have had an extra edge if he got the chance to perform “Something.”
The Bottom Line: Whether you think The Beatles are a good band or you’re a diehard Beatlemaniac, you can appreciate Beatlemania Now for their accuracy on the legendary songs John, Paul, George and Ringo created together.