The Bootleg Beatles ‘Get Back’ to ‘Yesterday’ at the Brighton Centre

Posted On 20 Dec 2021 at 7:38 pm

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

THE BOOTLEG BEATLES – BRIGHTON CENTRE 19.12.21

Tonight the renegade alien Time Lord, The Master from Dr Who, had got into his TARDIS and time-warped back to the 1960s to witness this evening’s show. As had policeman Sam Tyler, who had woken up a few years earlier than planned from his 1973 date on Life On Mars. Yes folks, I am referring to the talented 51-year-old actor, director and musician John Simm who was in attendance close to myself this evening for The Bootleg Beatles concert performance at the Brighton Centre.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Unfortunately I wasn’t born in time to have been able to have witnessed the actual Beatles performing live in person, but the nearest I came was 42 years ago when I was fortunate to have witnessed a live set from Paul McCartney’s Wings here in the Brighton Centre. The line-up that night was: Paul McCartney (vocals, bass, guitar, piano), Linda McCartney (keyboards, vocals), Denny Laine (guitar, bass, piano, vocals), Laurence Juber (guitar, vocals) and Steve Holley (drums, percussion, vocals). They played four Beatles songs that night, those being: ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’, ‘The Fool On The Hill’, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Yesterday’.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Now celebrating 41 years since their debut on the West End stage in ‘Beatlemania’, the world’s premier Beatles covers band, The Bootleg Beatles, continues to draw critical acclaim with their flawless recreation of the greatest songbook in history.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Tracing the Fab Four’s journey through the swinging 60s, every tiny detail is forensically observed from their authentic period costumes and instruments, to their witty stage banter and mind-bogglingly accurate vocal impersonation.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

With a little help from their own orchestral ensemble, and featuring a special set to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘Let It Be’, this show was an absolute must-see for Beatle-maniacs of all ages. The Bootleg Beatles have thus far performed around 4,500 live shows. There have been many tributes, but the choice picks would probably be: Sir George Martin who stated “A terrific show”, The Times “Entirely convincing” and The Telegraph “Less a Tribute, more a reincarnation”.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles line-up has changed during the years since their formation, as I would guess that the players would need to look as close to the real thing as possible. Tonight’s players are John Lennon played by Tyson Kelly, Paul McCartney played by Steven White, George Harrison played by Stephen Hill and Ringo Starr played by Gordon Elsmore.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

This evening’s performance is split up into two sets. The first lasted 61 minutes (from 7:32pm to 8:33pm) and consisted of 17 Beatles compositions with two other numbers that the fab four covered. The second set lasted 74 minutes (from 8:55pm to 10:09pm) and consisted of 16 Beatles compositions. The upstairs South, East and West balconies are closed and thus all of the audience is seated in the stalls and the specially built rising level South stalls.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

In between each music section there is an amalgam of mainly black and white film cutups broadcast on the backdrop at the rear of the stage. The first of these was designed to get the punters in the right time frame and thus at 7:32pm, the music intro tape played images of the time which included snippets of other artist’s songs. For this first film it included Manfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1’ and The Crystals ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’. The very second this first film finished, the stage lights went up and there in front of us were the four guys playing their instruments. They were representing the Fab Four’s 1963–1964 era when Beatlemania conquered the world.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The first number was ‘She Loves You’ and The Bootleg Beatles amazingly sound like the real thing and look the part and move like the originals and even the stage set mimics one I have seen on film with the real thing. The various instruments look the part too. Ringo is stationed higher than the other trio who are emulating the early years movements which were similar to Gerry Anderson ‘Stingray’ puppets. Surprisingly it’s a mixed age audience this evening with those aged from 4 to 70.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Paul McCartney character said: “Welcome to 1963, you can sit back and relax as there won’t be a pandemic for another 57 years” .

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The hits came fast and furious during the first section as the original pop ditties were rather compact. ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ ended and the stage went dark and the second of the 1960s films played memories from the era including The Dave Clark Five’s ‘Bits And Pieces’. Meanwhile the 4 lads went off to get changed.

Musicians with The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

They are back with ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and have changed their grey collarless suits for black ‘Chesterfield’ ones. So we moved from 1963-64 to 1964-65, which was time of The Beatles Shea Stadium concert and the final tour. The Paul McCartney character performed ‘Yesterday’ along with a four-piece string orchestra. They went on to play ‘Help!’ with Max Langley from Brighton becoming the fifth Bootleg Beatle, as he played keys and tambourine. ‘Twist And Shout’ (The Top Notes cover made famous by the Isley Brothers), saw out this second section.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

After this, there was another film of snippets of the time, which included The Kinks ‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’ and Troggs version of ‘Wild Thing’, The Rolling Stones ‘Paint It Black’, and Pink Floyd’s ‘See Emily Play’. The Bootleg Beatles returned to highlight the psychedelic explosion around the time of 1967’s ‘Sgt Pepper’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. They had returned with the 4 piece string section on stage left (our right) along with 4 new friends on stage right (our left) who were the horn section. Amongst the numbers in this section, we were given ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’,
‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. Part one concluded at 8;33pm and after a 22 minute recess, part two commenced at 8:55pm with another film intro and we are off with ‘Revolution’ as part of ‘The Later Years’ section from 1968–1970, beginning with ‘The White Album’ selection.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles have again raided their fashion wardrobe for this section. The surprising highlight of the set for me came within this part as the duo of the George and John characters sang “Nothing’s gonna change my world” to ‘Across The Universe’.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Another film followed including The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’ and Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & Trinity’s ‘This Wheels On Fire’, which lead to “And now something completely different” and the quartet returned in their new garments and performed a trio of tunes from The Beatles 1970 ‘Let It Be’ album. One of these was ‘Get Back’ where the John Lennon character got all of the crowd to stand on their feet as though they were on a roof. This was to be an emulation of The Beatles final public performance, which took place on 30th January 1969, when they performed an unannounced concert from the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters at 3 Savile Row, within central London’s office and fashion district. The Beatles were joined by keyboardist Billy Preston for the 42-minute set, before the Metropolitan Police asked them to reduce the volume. Tonight, this was emulated by two guys dressed as policemen coming on stage and pulling the mock plug. The lights went out.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

This led to another film. This time it featured musical snippets from The Scaffold’s ‘Lily The Pink’ (which interestingly featured in their line-up Mike McGear, whose real name was Peter Michael McCartney, the brother of Paul McCartney, and on backing vocals was none other than Elton John.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles returned to play ‘The Long And Winding Road’, a couple of others and ended with ‘Let It Be’. The encore saw the orchestra don their Christmas hats and we were off again with ‘All You Need Is Love’. Then the Paul character tried to fool us with the first few words of ‘Mull Of Kintyre’, but the crowd weren’t having it and thus they ended with the timeless ‘Hey Jude’.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

In conclusion, John Simm was witnessed to be singing along to the tunes and clearly having a fab (four) night out! What’s good for him, is good for the rest of us!

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

If you unfortunately missed this concert and wanted to go, then fear not, as they will be playing live in Sussex on Monday 11th April 2022, when they will be appearing at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. Purchase your tickets HERE.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Also in between sets this evening, there was information on the giant backdrop stating that they will be returning in December 2022, although as yet no dates have been confirmed. Fingers crossed.

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles current line-up features:
Tyson Kelly (as John Lennon) – guitar, vocals, keyboards
Steven White (as Paul McCartney) – bass, vocals
Stephen Hill (as George Harrison) – guitar, vocals
Gordon Elsmore (as Ringo Starr) – drums, vocals

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles setlist of Beatles songs:
Part One:
Set 1 (Collarless Suits):
‘She Loves You’
‘All My Loving’
‘Roll Over Beethoven’ (Chuck Berry cover)
‘I Wanna Be Your Man’
‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’
Set 2 (Chesterfield Suits):
‘A Hard Day’s Night’
‘Can’t Buy Me Love’
‘Yesterday’
‘Help!’
‘Another Girl’
‘In My Life’
‘Day Tripper’
‘Twist And Shout’ (The Top Notes cover)
Set 3 (Sgt. Peppers):
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
‘With A Little Help From My Friends’
‘Penny Lane’
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’
‘A Day In The Life’

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Part Two:
Set 4 (The White Album):
‘Revolution’
‘Lady Madonna’
‘Eleanor Rigby’
‘Hey Bulldog’
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’
‘Across The Universe’
(Rooftop):
‘I’ve Got A Feeling’
‘Don’t Let Me Down’
‘One After 909’
‘Get Back’
(Let It Be):
‘The Long And Winding Road’
‘I Me Mine’
‘Two Of Us’
‘Let It Be’
(encore)
‘All You Need Is Love’
‘Hey Jude’

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Visit their official website HERE.

Time to pull the plug on The Bootleg Beatles at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

The audience and The Bootleg Beatles live at the Brighton Centre 19.12.21(pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge)

Tour flyer

Concert ticket (pic Nick Linazasoro)

Tonight’s setlists (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

Set times (pic Nick Linazasoro)

My Wings, Brighton Centre 2.12.1979 concert ticket (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

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