Nashville, TN — Liverpool’s own Mersey Beatles (A Beatles Tribute Band) performed at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley Thursday night (10/12/17) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Heart’s Club Band album release. They are the only born, bred and based Liverpool Beatles tribute. John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, was also present for the performance.
To celebrate the occasion, The Mersey Beatles performed the entire album live. They dressed in the same type clothing the Beatles wore on the Sgt. Pepper album cover. After a break, they changed clothes to the matched-suit look that the Beatles donned when they thrilled America with their famous Ed Sullivan Show debut. The Mersey Beatles electrified the crowd with covers of “Hard Days Night” and “Twist and Shout.” They changed their clothes a third time to as they became the 70’s Beatles with longer hair. Mark Bloor as John Lennon did a spot on impression of “Imagine” while Steven Howard as Paul McCartney perfectly performed “Yesterday.” But at the conclusion when the band covered “Get Back” from the Let it Be album, the crowd gave an overwhelming encore because they were waiting for the fan-favorite, “Hey Jude.” The Mersey Beatles did not disappoint as they finished the set with a seven-minute rendition of the famous song.
I sat down with Steven Howard who plays Paul McCartney in the band to find out how they got started. Howard specified, “We weren’t put together by a production company. We were just friends who loved the Beatles.” They started out playing their own original music, but when they covered Beatles songs, “we found that the Beatles were the most enjoyable band to play.” When commenting on the Beatles’ popularity after all these years, Howard stated, “The Beatles made timeless music and they made giant leaps with each album. So even if you didn’t like [one album] there was always another more to your liking.”
The Mersey Beatles were the resident Beatles tribute band at The Cavern Club in Liverpool for 10 years from 2002-2012 where the original Beatles got their start. In fact, they have actually played more times at the Cavern Club than the actual Beatles did. The boys are still the band of choice at such Liverpool attractions as The Beatles Story Museum and The Hard Days Night Hotel. They are also the only Beatles tribute band recommended by the Penny Lane Development Trust.
John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, was available for the meet n greet prior to the show. She answered questions and autograph copies of her book, Imagine This. When asked how she felt about tribute bands she stated, “You may look down on tribute bands, but when you haven’t got the person here anymore, it [shouldn’t] stop us from going to the concert. Baird continued, “I would say to the people who look down on tribute bands, ‘Do you listen to Mozart?’ and they answer ‘yes.’ Well, that is a tribute band.”
Julia Baird further said: “There are a lot of Beatles tribute bands from all over the world, and I’ve seen them all, but The Mersey Beatles are the most authentic I have heard.” When the Mersey Beatles banter with each other on-stage, they sound like the original because they are all from Liverpool.
After playing Wednesday night in Memphis and Thursday in Nashville, the Mersey Beatles will complete their United States leg of the tour in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan before returning back the UK and Europe for their remaining tour dates. Because of the overwhelmingly warm reception they received from fans at 3rd and Lindsley, the Mersey Beatles plan to return to Nashville in the very near future.
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Bethany Bowman is an entertainment writer for the Tennessee Star.