Live review: The Bootleg Beatles – Christmas Show – Sheffield City Hall, UK (12th December 2013)

The Bootleg Beatles are undoubtedly one of the most successful tribute bands in the history of music, and after a hectic year of playing shows around the world (including a massively successful appearance at Glastonbury) they took to the stage at Sheffield City Hall to play one of their final gigs of 2013.

Having first performed their Beatles tribute act in 1980, The Bootleg Beatles have since played over 4000 shows, helping to keep the word of The Beatles music alive.

The age range at the concert was incredible: There were people in their 70’s and 80’s that were there to relive the music of their youth, and there were 5 and 6 years old there rocking out like the best of them. And every age inbetween. And EVERYONE sung along to EVERY word, which in itself is testament to the timeless, universal quality of The Beatles’ music.

The show was split into several different sections, with the band all shooting off stage for a wardrobe change as an intersecting video took the audience slightly forwards in time. Starting out in clean cut suits of the Beatlemania days, they progressed onto their time touring by donning the famous tan Shea Stadium gig outfit. After a short interval the band returned wearing their psychedelic Sgt Pepper’s uniforms before finally finishing up with the casual outfits worn during White Album/Abbey Road period.

As a band The Bootleg Beatles were fantastic with Adam Hastings as John Lennon, Steve White as Paul McCartney, Andre Barreau as George Harrison, and Hugo Degenhardt as Ringo Starr. Obviously ‘John’ and ‘Paul’ handled the vocals on most songs, but ‘Ringo’ got his chance to shine on With a Little Help From My Friends and ‘George’ handled a poignant acoustic version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

The Band also had the natural wit and charm of The Beatles: They drew big laughs dedicating Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (a song allegedly written about drugs) to famous UK TV cook Nigella Lawson who is currently embroiled in a scandalous drugs court case, changing the lyrics of Come Together‘s chorus to “Come to Sheffield, right now…near Leeds!” and even reemerging for an encore of the famous Abbey Road medley and a breakneck rendition of Back in the USSR wearing garish, flashing Christmas jumpers.

Overall The Bootleg Beatles may not sound or look exactly the same as their musical muses…but then no one ever will. They do the songs justice and put on a brilliantly energetic show that takes the audience on a guided tour of The Beatles musical output, and having played an amazing 39 song setlist that lasted close to 3 hours, there didn’t seem to be a single unsatisfied customer leaving Sheffield City Hall.

And they have a left handed Paul. It’s always good and that bit more authentic to have a left handed Paul!

The Bootleg Beatles setlist

A Hard Days Night
I Should Have Known Better
Eight Days a Week
If I Fell
I’m Happy Just To Dance With You
She Loves You
All My Loving
This Boy
I Want To Hold Your Hand
I’m a Loser
Can’t Buy Me Love
I Feel Fine
In My Life
Day Tripper
Twist and Shout
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Magical Mystery Tour
I Am The Walrus
Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love
Got To Get You Into My Life
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
A Day In The Life
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Come Together
Get Back
I’ve Got a Feeling
Don’t Let Me Down
Here Comes The Sun
Ob La Di, Ob La Da
The Ballad of John And Yoko
Hey Jude
Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End
Back in the USSR

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