Fab Four bring Beatles to Mayo Civic Center stage

January 18, 2019

The Fab Four have now been around longer than the Beatles were. They just might prove that the music of the Beatles will indeed live forever.

The Fab Four, called “the best Beatles show in the world” by the Los Angeles Times, formed 20 years ago in southern California, with the intention of playing note-perfect renditions of Beatles songs.

Over the years, the Fab Four, who will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Mayo Civic Center’s Presentation Hall, have featured concert sets from all eras of the Beatles’ career, and have even done a “concert that never happened” with a symphony orchestra. They’ve also recorded “Hark,” an album of Christmas songs done in the style of the Beatles.

And the ironic thing about all of this is that the founders of the Fab Four, Ron McNeil and Ardy Sarroff, are two mixed-up characters. When they first met and discussed their favorites Beatles, McNeil was a fan of Paul McCartney, while Sarroff preferred John Lennon.

Once they started playing the music, though, it became obvious that McNeil was better at portraying the witty and acerbic Lennon, while Sarroff had mastered the perky McCartney. Sarroff also taught himself to play bass guitar left-handed, to enhance the accuracy of his McCartney tribute.

They are currently joined by Gavin Pring as George Harrison, and Joe Bologna as Ringo Starr. Pring, incidentally, is a native of the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool. Sarroff and McNeil met him a few years ago when the Fab Four played at the International Beatleweek Festival in Liverpool.

The Fab Four opens each show with an introduction from “Ed Sullivan,” recreating the night in February 1964 when the Beatles made their U.S. television debut on Sullivan’s Sunday night variety show. That appearance kicked off Beatlemania. Songs featured in this early set include “All My Loving,” “She Loves You,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Please Please Me.”

Next up is a “Sgt. Pepper” set, with selections from the mid-period, psychedelic era of the Beatles, including “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” and “A Day in the Life.”

Finally, the closing set picks up with the White Album and subsequent material: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Hey Jude,” and solo material. Each show includes Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Members of the Fab Four stay in character throughout, and while there may not be an exact physical resemblance to their heroes, the characteristic head-bobbing by Starr, the confrontational stance of Lennon, the shuffle of Harrison and the breathless talk by McCartney are close enough to — when mixed with some of the greatest music ever recorded — make you believe you’re seeing the real thing.

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