November 20, 2004

American English

American English played at the Orpheum tonight. They're a regionally-known Beatles cover band, and they're pretty good. I had never seen them before, although Kathy and her friends had, and had spoken highly of them. If they read this, they'll probably be mad; I mean, I like the Beatles like anyone who grew up in the latter half of the 20th century in North America, Britain, or most of Western Europe, but Kathy and her friends are really into them. Neener neener!

When I got my ticket, I wasn't terribly picky about where I sat, so when the lady asked me if box or mezzanine were okay, I said "sure". But the ticket she gave me was ground floor. Right behind the big stack of boxes next to the sound board. There were a lot of people there, but it was hardly packed, so I don't really understand why this ticket was even in the mix. Anyway, when the lights went down and I realised the sound board light would stay on through the show, I moved. The mezzanine looked full-ish, so I went on up to the upper deck. There were maybe fifty people up there, and the front row was mostly empty. A better seat all around---not least because whenever they renovated the Orpheum, the upper deck just got refinished, but they left the wooden seating with the plush upholstery and iron endpieces, rather than the cheap plastic ones they installed below for the more high-use seats.

Anyway, the show. Before intermission was the "early Beatles" part, where they all had the black suits with the narrow black ties. For some of them, it was almost like listening to a Beatles CD. Others were a little different; "Hard Day's Night" was lacking the clanky part that Ryan always does for his dad's band, alas. There were a lot of fun songs here from the Ed Sullivan era.

After the intermission they came out in full Sergeant Pepper regalia to hit the "psychedelic" era of Beatles stuff... they did fine, I guess, but with a few exceptions those songs aren't as good as the earlier ones. A lot more distortion and noise, and less focus on good singing and harmony. With all the authenticity they were going for, I was pretty disappointed that "George" never pulled out a sitar... that would've been awesome.

A third costume change brought them fully into the 70s, with "George" in bellbottom jeans and the rest of them in brightly-coloured suits, and they rounded out their set. One of the audience members was clearly a Big Beatles Fan and was projecting his approval all the way from the back of the nosebleed seats, before eventually going downstairs right in front of the stage and getting people to dance. They closed with "Hey Jude", ending with maybe five minutes of "na na na na"s, some done by the audience (authentic, I guess).

All in all, worth the price of admission. I might even go again. But unless you're a big Beatles fan, it's an experience you don't need to feel too bad about missing.

"The true test of one's sexuality lies in one's attraction to not-beautiful people." --Jonathan Prykop

Posted by blahedo at 11:54pm on 20 Nov 2004
AE has recently undergone a bit of a "cast" change. "John" and "George" recently left the band (actually, what I hear is that they were kicked out because of "artistic differences", anyway) and they've only been working with these new guys for a few weeks. I've seen them before and the shows been generally a bit tighter. (There were major sound issues in the second half, I don't know if you could hear it where you were sitting, but there was some terrible buzzing causing a lot of that distortion. ) Erin and I were actually more dissapointed with the lighting than anything else. It was poorly executed to say the least. I was just glad to see so many people there. I was worried that they would have a terribly small house. Posted by Chelsea at 11:12pm on 21 Nov 2004
Hello Don!'s Jonathan Prykop's Mom! I was at The Orpheum in Galesburg that night...front row of the gals who had given the guys the white roses. That night was show #199 for the past three years! I've since passed #200 and have many yet to come in the next two weeks! Jon thinks I am NUTS! Next time...just say, "Where is Jonathan's Mom?" because I am ALWAYS there! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! ps The sitar is yet to come! Posted by Sharon at 7:35pm on 23 Dec 2004
Wow, wacky. I wish I'd known in advance, I would've said hi. Maybe I'll see you next time they're in Galesburg. :) Posted by blahedo at 4:30pm on 26 Dec 2004
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