Back2Back Show Review

A positive review of the Back2Back Beatles concerts that included Mark Seymour.

Author: Steve Moffatt, Campbelltown Macarthur Chronicle.

Date: 15 August 2011.

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It’s a fine piece of irony that the pivotal album which started the genre of studio-produced progam rock music should make such a first-class opening half to a live concert.

And when the second half comprises “arguably the greatest rock band ever’s” most ambitious work, aided by the greatest producer and arranger, then the odds against pulling it off lengthen considerably.

None of this stood in the way of Spiritworks and Tim Woods’ presentation of Sgt Peppers and Abbey Road Back 2 Back featuring a superband of six frontmen and an array of some of the best working musicians on Australia’s pop scene.

Add the perfect venue in the State Theatre with its mixture of the quirky with the kitsch, and such a lovely audience, most of whom lived through the years of Beatlemania, and you have a cracking night of nostalgic indulgence.

The scene was set with sitar and tabla, accompanied by clouds of incense. These musicians would come back later for their one big number of the night, George Harrison’s Within You Without You, sung superbly by Mark Seymour of Hunters and Collectors fame.

Seymour’s colleagues each had plenty of the spotlight. Shihad frontman Jon Toogood brought the house down – aided by Dean McGrath (Hungry Kids of Hungary) – with a great version of A Day In The Life, complete with string quartet, a small horn section and guitars, drums and bass, all led from the piano by musical director Stewart D’Arrietta.

D’Arrietta was on home turf here, having directed the sell-out White Album tour two years ago.

Irwin Thomas, better known to Aussie rock fans as Jack Jones of Southern Sons fame, proved adept at the sensitive and melodic McCartney material – particularly She’s Leaving Home – as well as shredding some hot guitar licks in I Want You from Abbey Road.

Thirsty Merc’s Rai Thistlethwaite, born only a few months before John Lennon was shot, sounded completely at home with Good Morning Good Morning and When I’m Sixty-Four.

And Melbourne singer Tim Morrison (Trial Kennedy) gave a beautiful rendition of Harrison’s Something, once described by Frank Sinatra as the greatest love song ever written.

The band, co-led by the freakishly talented guitar session man Rex Goh, was impeccable and the vibe in the State was spot-on.

The Fab Four, and the “fifth Beatle” Sir George Martin, would have heartily approved.

CONCERT: Sgt Peppers Abbey Road Back 2 Back
WHERE: State Theatre
WHEN: Friday, August 11