BeatleMania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic

Beatlemania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic
The Center crowd warmly welcomed “Beatlemania Now.” - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The Center’s 2022- 23 Bradenton Gulf Island Concert Series kicked off on Saturday with a musical blast from the past in the form of BeatleMania Now.

Created and produced by Scot Arch, Beatlemania Now features Joshua Jones as Paul McCartney, Paul Bryck as John Lennon, Christopher Colon as George Harrison and Chris McBurney as Ringo Starr.

Beatlemania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic
The first set recreated “The Ed Sullivan Show” performances. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Clad in matching black suits, playing vintage instruments, accompanied by era-evolving video footage and recreating the looks and sounds of The Beatles legendary “Ed Sullivan Show” appearances, the first third of the show began with “She Loves You” and “All My Loving” and included several early Beatles’ classics such as “Roll Over Beethoven” (written by Chuck Berry), “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Saw Her Standing There.” The energetic, joy-filled opening set concluded with “Ticket to Ride.”

After a brief intermission that al- lowed for costume changes, the second set highlighted the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album that The Beatles never collectively performed live because they quit touring a year before that album’s 1967 release. The second set also included other songs from The Beatles middle era.

Beatlemania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic
The “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” set contained material The Beatles never played in concert. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The “Sgt. Pepper’s” set began and ended with the title track and its reprise and included McBurney, as Ringo, singing “With a Little Help From my Friends.” The set also included “When I’m 64,” “I Am the Walrus” (from the “Magical Mystery Tour” album) and “A Day in the Life.”

As was the case all night, the quartet’s musicianship and stellar lead and harmony vocals were further enhanced by a superb mix from the sound man and an effective light show.

Beatlemania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic
Christopher Colon faithfully reproduced George Harrison’s vocal and guitar parts. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The third and final set paid homage to The Beatles famous final rooftop concert and featured Colon (as George Harrison) singing “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which also featured sublime reproductions of Harrison’s guitar work. 

Beatlemania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic
Joshua Jones and Paul Bryck joyfully recreated the musical magic of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The third set included “Get Back” and the set-ending “Hey Jude.” The band then launched into a rollicking version of “Twist and Shout” to end the show.

The opening act

Performing solo with backing tracks that he created, local singer and guitarist Skip Eaton opened the show with a set of rock and blues that included his original compositions and covers of songs written by Stevie Ray Vaughn, J.J. Cale and Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally.” Eaton’s set included a powerful blues song that stated, “the blues got nowhere to go” and he closed his set with The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” in which he nailed that song’s signature guitar solo.

Beatlemania Now recreates The Beatles’ magic
Local musician Skip Eaton was well-received as the opening act. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Eaton will perform at Harry’s Grill in Anna Maria on Thursday, Jan. 8.

Post-show reaction

The Bradenton Gulf Island Concert Series is sponsored by Ed Chiles’ Sandbar restaurant, Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages and Bradenton Area Arts & Culture (the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau).

After the show, Chiles said, “It was a great show. It was a rockin’ time and a quality performance in a place that is the most important community gathering place on this Island. This venue has tremendous potential.”

Chiles noted the concert series serves as a fundraiser for The Center and the proceeds help fund the wide variety of programs The Center offers for residents and visitors of all ages.

The Center’s Jim McDaniel said, “What a start to the Center’s concert season. We had more than 600 people in attendance.”

Bradenton Beach resident and city commissioner Ralph Cole said, “When you know all the words to all the songs it’s a great time.”

Anna Maria resident Charlie Trygg said, “I really enjoyed the experience. I got to see and hear songs that were never performed live by The Beatles.”

The next concert in the series will be Tommy DeCarlo on Saturday, Jan. 21.