THE BEATLES - Tribute Band in St Ives

I have neglected the blog in the past week because my life has taken on a different pattern, and I need a bit of time to adjust. Tomorrow we are off to Venice for a few days to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and because this is a mini-holiday I got to thinking about one of my earliest posts, one I did before Just Backdated was launched and I used to post things on Facebook. This is from September 2013, when Lisa and I were spending a week in St Ives in Corwall and we stumbled on a Beatles tribute band…

Across the harbour, as we neared the pub, it sounded like ‘The Night Before’, the song from Help!, not the most obvious choice for a covers band, but when we got closer they were playing ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’ from the first album, and then ‘We Can Work It Out’. When that switched to ‘You Can’t Do That’ Lisa and I had to go inside, and sure enough, on a Tuesday night in late September, a local Beatles act called Not The Beatles was going through the routine – Beatlemania era songs followed by Sgt Pepper era followed by White album/Abbey Road era, complete with appropriate gear, costumes and between song patter – in the Lifeboat pub on the shorefront in St Ives. They weren’t the best tribute band I’d ever seen but that didn’t matter as much as what they played and the good humour with which the songs were delivered. The pub was heaving full, all ages, from teens to grannies, and everyone stood to watch, having the time of their lives, and I guessed that although the time of many of those lives would have been the sixties, a good proportion had been born after John died, and less than half could remember the time when The Beatles ruled the world.
In amongst the crowd, all sweaty and mad for it, we watched and listened. They reeled off all the songs you would expect, the well known (‘Paperback’, ‘Tripper’, ‘Submarine’) and some you wouldn’t have (‘I Need You’, ‘Hide Your Love Away’, ‘I Should Have Known Better’) and everyone in this pub sang along, word perfect, to every single song, at the tops of their voices. During ‘Submarine’, sung of course by Ringo, four or five girls at the front, in their twenties, held hands and formed a line, clearing the floor as they line-danced back and forth towards and away from the group. Paul, violin bass to hand, grinned while John with his black Rikki leered, just as you would expect him to do.
After 20 minutes or so we left to get some air and I had a pint of Guinness in another pub down the road, still overlooking the harbour, and then we walked back to where they were playing. This time it was ‘Lucy’, followed by ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Get Back’ and then my favourite, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, which was received like the number one hit it ought to have been, and after ‘Obla Di’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ came ‘Yesterday’, community-sung like a hymn to which everyone seemed to know all the words like they’d sang it in school, and then we left the pub again and sat on a bench overlooking the water and listened as they headed up the home straight, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Jude’ and, as I predicted, ‘Twist And Shout’. We’d caught maybe half the entire set, probably missing the early stuff, ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Hold Your Hand’ and some mid-period, which was a shame but then again we’d no idea we’d stumble on the Fabs in the first place.
If ever proof was needed that The Beatles are universally adored, here it was: big bald men with tattoos, younger lads with their girls in low-neck dresses, white-haired men with their wives of 30 years or more, older ladies for whom these songs brought back a time when they would have screamed their heads off at them, likely lads and sexy girls on the pull, tipsy holidaymakers up for it, middle-aged couples enjoying the moment, even the odd dog, and me and Lisa, perhaps more critical than most – “That guitar tone isn’t right,” I said at one point. “Shut up,” said Lisa, grinning – and all of us in rapture to what surely has now become the national songbook, the Beatles’ songbook, loved now and forever by everyone of all ages from the tip of Cornwall to everywhere else.
Shake it up baby now...

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