ANNA MARIA – Saturday night’s “Beatlemania Now” show will transport concertgoers through the 1960s, the decade during which The Beatles became the most famous and influential rock band in the world.
The Beatlemania Now show will take the stage at The Center of Anna Maria Island on Saturday, Dec. 10.
Tickets are available for $40 or $30 at The Center website, www.centerami.org/events.
Dressed in matching suits and still sporting relatively short hair, The Beatles made their first live U.S. television appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964 – a legendary performance that help launch the Beatlemania phenomenon and inspired many other future musicians to start playing music.
As the decade progressed, The Beatles’ hair grew longer, their clothes got wilder and more colorful and their political and religious views became more public. After they stopped touring in 1966, their studio recordings became more sophisticated, experimental and at times psychedelic.
These musical changes will be highlighted during the Beatlemania Now show that also features vintage musical instruments.
Scot Arch created and continues to produce the “Beatlemania Now” show, whose origins date back to the mid-1980s. Arch played the John Lennon role for many years, performing Lennon’s guitar and vocal parts until he replaced himself with a younger musician in 2018.
“Beatlemania Now” features left-handed bassist Joshua Jones as Paul McCartney, Paul Bryck as John Lennon, Christopher Colon as George Harrison and Chris McBurney as Ringo Starr.
“They’ve been playing together for several years at this point,” Arch said.
“I’m the one that put ‘Beatlemania Now’ together,” Arch said. “I no longer perform as John Lennon and we’ve got younger guys doing it. I performed with many of the ‘Beatlemania’ cast members during the truck and bus tours after ‘Beatlemania’ finished its Broadway run (from 1977-79).”
“Beatlemania Now” covers The Beatles’ decade-long career that included the release of their debut album, “Please Please Me,” in the United Kingdom in March 1963, the release of their debut American album “Introducing… The Beatles” in January 1964 and up through to their breakup and the release of their final album, “Let it Be,” in 1970.
“They’ll be playing Beatles’ songs mostly in chronological order, with costume changes that include the black suits they wore on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and the costumes they wore on the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album cover,” Arch said.
“We use authentic instruments, authentic amps and drums – not only for the fact that they look a certain way and to a certain degree are props, but also because they sound a particular way. We make the sound as realistic and as much like The Beatles as possible,” Arch said.
“They weren’t only making music, they were changing things around them. Fashion followed them. They had political views at the end that people followed,” Arch said.
“I was a little young when they first came out. The first generation that heard them were teenagers at the time and the music was passed down to younger generations. My kids love The Beatles because they had to drive around with me in the car listening to The Beatles. I still, to this day, love ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’ The sound of that record, there’s just something so wonderful about it. I hear it and I perk up; and sometimes I hear different little things I never noticed before,” he said.
No outside food or drink is allowed and there’s no smoking or vaping allowed on The Center property. The Sandbar restaurant will have a cash bar on site. Free valet parking will be available at the main entrance on Magnolia Avenue. Street parking will also be available but vehicles must be parked going with the flow of traffic and with all wheels off the pavement to avoid being ticketed.
The Bradenton Gulf Island Concert series serves as a fundraiser for The Center and is sponsored by Bradenton Area Arts & Culture, the Sandbar restaurant and Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages.
The Center is located at 407 Magnolia Ave. For Saturday’s show, the doors will open at 6 p.m., the opening act goes on around 7 p.m. and “Beatlemania Now” will begin around 8 p.m. For more ticket and/or event information, call 941-778-1908.