40 YAGT 8/15 Champion, PA Review

Review by Roger Steel (Switch to

The wife and I made the trek from Cleveland (Hudson actually). This is my 2nd time at this venue (saw Abbey Rd in '01) and must admit that it's a great place to see a show. Easy in and out, close parking, festive atmosphere, nice scenery. Kind of a Blossom Music Center lite.

The show was fun. Good, not great though. The same type of format as most of these Beatles tribute gigs. Each member plays a couple/few tunes by themselves, then intermission, then Beatles. Highlights from the first set were a fun couple of countrybilly rockers from Bo Bice. One even included the Framptonesque talk box. Pretty impressive performance and it seemed most of the women agreed. Lou Graham started out a little shaky on Revolution but redeemed himself during his set. Lou has seen better days but the pipes are still very much intact. His set was fun. Denny Laine was a bit of a disappointment. He was the closest of any of them to a Beatle yet only had two songs and his voice was a little rough. Todd's set was wimpy but he made the best of it and had some fun. "Open My Eyes" rocked as usual but I don't think most people recognized it. "I Saw The Light" was what it was. "Bang The Drum" (original version) got everyone dancing. I yawned but Todd and the crowd seemed to be having a riot. The shining star and big surprise of the night for me was Christopher Cross. Say what you will about his songs but the guy has talent. His voice is stronger than ever and he even ripped a couple of smoking guitar leads. If I had a disappointment in set #1 it was that most of the band members left the stage when the others performed. I remember the Ringo shows and even the early Abbey Road shows where the entire band was on stage the entire show. I really missed that at this gig.

Set two was great. Todd was a wonderful ringleader. It reminded me about how much love Todd had for theater because he was acting more than singing. Costumes (check out the pics with the flower hat - classic!), fake mustache, pure silliness. I'm pushing about 100 Todd shows and this was the silliest I've ever seen him. Again, Christopher Cross was awesome too. "She's Leaving Home" was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard, ever. And by the way, who's this Jonathan Clark guy? He was the bass player and all around MVP of the show. His voice was incredible. Plunky Paul-like bass playing during the Beatles set was spot-on. His playing and singing the entire night was understated (except for sharing the mic on "She's Leaving Home") but I would argue that the show would not have been nearly as good without him in it. This guy can play and sing! Sign him up Todd (but only when Kas is busy). They played the record in order from start to finish. Yes, there was an 8-piece "orchestra" with string and horns. I felt they were under used though. They only played on a small percentage of the tunes. "A Day In The Life" ended the show which made set #2 fairly short. The two song encore of "Strawberry Fields" & "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" had all members on the stage but that might have added to some confusion. It was then when you could really tell it was their first gig, particularly on "Weeps". Still, a very tight show for being the first one.

Let's not forget the rest of the band. Prairie laid down a steady beat as usual. Greg Hawkes and John Ferenzik seemed to do well but it was hard to tell. They were tucked off to the side and somewhat buried in the mix. Jesse, on the other hand, was incredible. You know the guys a talent but you really see it first hand in this show. He nailed every guitar part on every song even though I'm sure this was the first time her performed many of those songs live. Jesse rocks!

The show was fun and worth the trip to the Laurel Highlands. You could tell the locals were having fun. A lot of very drunk people but I give them credit because they were all happy drunks. It was hard not to be happy at this show.

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8/15/2008 - Seven Springs Resort - Champion, PA

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