World-renowned tribute band THE MERSEY BEATLES will celebrate one of the greatest albums ever made when they bring their unmissable live show back to the UK this autumn.
This September marks exactly half a century since The Beatles released their ground-breaking and era-defining 1969 long player Abbey Road.
It gave the world such timeless classics as Come Together, Here Comes The Sun, Something and a stunning 16-minute album-closing medley that brought the curtain down on John, Paul, George and Ringo’s recording career together.
To celebrate this historic music anniversary The Mersey Beatles will recreate the entire Abbey Roadalbum – live and in full – at all their UK Tour shows between September and November.
With a second set packed with classic Fab Four hits, the show makes for two hours of spellbinding live entertainment – delivered by a band who many consider to be the most authentic Beatles tribute there is.
Formed in 1999 in Liverpool, The Mersey Beatles – Mark Bloor (John), Steven Howard (Paul), Craig McGown (George) and Brian Ambrose (Ringo) – were the resident Beatles’ tribute band at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club between 2002-2012 and have now toured the world many times over.
We caught up with the band as they prepared to hit the road and pay homage to what many believe is the Beatles’ greatest work of art…
Q) What is going to be so special about this UK Tour?
Brian) Well, it comes at the end of what has been our most successful ever year as a band. We’ve toured America, Europe and Australia, but it’s always nice to come home – there is always something special about our UK gigs.
Craig) What makes this extra special is this tour is a 50th anniversary celebration of Abbey Road. Ever since we announced that we would playing the album in full in the first half of our shows there has been a real buzz about these dates.
Mark) This is something unique. Beatles fans don’t get the chance very often, if at all, to hear Abbey Road played live in its entirety. We’re all Beatles fans ourselves, so we are just as excited to be playing these amazing songs as we are to be bringing them to UK audiences.
Q) What makes Abbey Road such a unique and cherished album?
Steven) I love it for its defiant optimism. It was recorded right in the face of the Beatles break up. Despite the issues within the group the music is still positive, and the message is clear from start to finish “Come Together… and in The End the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
It sounds as fresh and positive today as when recorded 50 years ago.
Craig) It’s my favourite Beatles album. They managed to create one of the greatest and most timeless records after possibly the bleakest moment in the band’s history.
From the turbulence of the Let It Be sessions, just a few months before, was born a body of work which stands as a testament to the band’s unrivalled song writing, musicianship and command of production at a point when they were at their lowest ebb and with bloodied noses.
They rewrote the rule book with every album they created, but Abbey Road ripped up everything that went before it and helped close the book on one of Rock’n’Roll’s greatest stories.
Mark) What makes this record so special is the way The Beatles put it together.
You have side one which is a collection of great tracks, then you have the intricate stitching together of the segments of songs to create the legendary 16-minute medley which ends the album.
The reaction we get from a crowd when we play the likes of Sun King and Polythene Pam – songs some Beatles’ fans have probably never heard live before is really special.
For me, as a musician and fan, to get the chance to play a medley that includes Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End, well, it does not get any better than that.
Q) Not many tribute bands would take on such a challenge – do you feel any extra pressure in making the show as authentic as possible?
Brian) Yes, but that comes with the territory. As with all The Beatles’ albums we’ve celebrated in recent years, be that Sgt Pepper, ‘The White Album’ etc they are all ground-breaking pieces of work that fans know off by heart and truly cherish.
Yes, performing them, in full, provides you with a few challenges but they are ones we’ve truly relished rising to.
Steven) At the end of the day we are Beatles fans and, as fans, we want to make our shows as authentic as possible. The Beatles are so well loved, everyone knows their songs, so everything we do has to be just right. It’s been our mantra since day one that we want to be the most authentic sounding tribute there is.
Craig) To get the chance to get up on these stages and play this extraordinary, era-defining music is a real privilege and one which excites us every time we do a gig.
Beatles fans want that true, unmistakable sound, and that is what we bring to the show. For two hours the band and audience get lost inside this wonderful music and have a great time. That is why music is such an amazing medium.
Q) For those who have not experienced it, what is a show by The Mersey Beatles like?
Steven) Two hours of the best music ever written and recorded played live!
On top of the full album we have a second set of Beatlemania stompers. Dancing shoes are not recommended – I’d say they’re compulsory!
Craig) What we pride ourselves on is we try to present as true interpretation as possible, so the audience is getting a real sense of what it was like to be there in the 1960s.
Our show is not stilted, over-produced or cold. It’s a fun show, full of amazing songs and banter which is what a Beatles’ gig should be.
Brian) The reaction of the audience is everything. Beatles fans want it to be just right.
We make the audience part of the show. We have no script, we interact with them and, yes, we will be asking them to get up on their feet to dance. Hopefully they will not be able to help themselves!
Mark) In the words of John Lennon “a splendid time is guaranteed for all!” This year you get Abbey Roadplayed live in full and then a barnstorming set of Beatles’ Greatest Hits – sounds like my kind of night out!
Craig) Yes, I’d buy a ticket for that!
Q) Since leaving The Cavern Club in 2012 you have toured the world many times. How do you go down in other parts of the globe?
Brian) Different parts of the world react differently. In America they are right up for it from the start. Even before you go on stage you can hear that they’re really up for it whereas in Sweden they’re a little bit more reserved, sit back and want you to entertain them. The British crowds are just like those in America – they just want to party!
Craig) The audiences are really enthusiastic wherever you go and are on your side from the start. They are willing you to do well from the minute you get on stage because they want to hear the music they love and grew up with. They want to be entertained… and, thankfully, that’s what we do!
Steven) America is crazy, which is probably why we tour there three times a year. But British people are very proud of The Beatles and the legacy – these brilliant songs are part of the British psyche. The British audience is very much like the American one, Beatles fans who are up for a great night.
Q) 2019 marks a special year for The Mersey Beatles – your 20th Anniversary.
Steven) Yeah, it’s all a bit surreal really. I can still remember our first small gigs back home in Liverpool, then our 600-plus shows at The Cavern Club and now this, a World Tour and a massive homecoming gig to end the year at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena. Surreal, but so special.
Brian) We are just four mates who are fans of The Beatles, who love playing the songs of the greatest band of all time. To think we get the chance to tour the world paying tribute to The Beatles is mind-blowing.
Mark) It’s been a Long and Winding Road to get to here (do you see what I did there?) but in all seriousness, we absolutely love doing this. To celebrate our 20th anniversary with a World Tour is amazing. This has never felt like a job, how could it when you get to go out on stage and play these songs night after night?
Q) Do you see the world’s fascination with The Beatles slowing down?
Mark) Not any time soon!
Steve) We weren’t even born when The Beatles split up. New generations continue to discover and fall in love with this amazing music and it seems The Beatles are as relevant today as they ever were.
Craig) The music is universal, and it still rings true today. It’s got big themes such as peace and love, and I think it speaks to all people. Who doesn’t want peace and love in their life?
Brian) I think what’s important is The Beatles did not stand still. They are not just the four ‘mop tops’ singing about wanting to hold your hand. Yes, that is the era when the world fell in love with them, but they grew and developed together as a band.
Mark) They were not afraid to experiment with all different types of music. There is something there for everyone whether it is the rock’n’roll era Beatles to the more ‘way out’ experimental stuff of their later career.
Q) And it must be great to see new generations of Beatles fans coming to your gigs?
Mark) Yeah, it is, We have a fair few young kids coming to our shows as well as people who are old enough to remember The Beatles when they first exploded onto the scene. If we see the kids, we do make a point of giving them a shout out and tell them how impressed we are they are into The Beatles.
The generations are still coming through and becoming massive Beatles fans.
Steven) It’s an amazing thing. We have children of 5-years-old to teenagers coming to our gigs and they all like different things.
To see teenagers getting into the really cool stuff likeThe White Album and Abbey Road is brilliant and shows The Beatles’ music is timeless. I really can’t see the love affair with The Beatles ever ending.
THE MERSEY BEATLES – ABBEY ROAD 50th ANNIVESARY UK TOUR
SEP 12 BARRY MEMO ARTS CENTRE
SEP 13 YEOVIL WESTLANDS
SEP 19 MIDDLESBROUGH THEATRE
SEP 20 RHYL PAVILION
SEP 21 BLACKBURN KING GEORGE’S HALL
OCT 25 ABERDEEN BEACH BALLROOM
NOV 14 SALISBURY CITY HALL
NOV 15 NORWICH EPIC STUDIOS
NOV 16 COVENTRY ALBANY THEATRE
NOV 29 LIVERPOOL M&S BANK ARENA
Tickets for The Mersey Beatles UK Tour are on sale now from all venues and via www.ticketmaster.co.uk