The year was 1964. The date was February 9. It was Sunday night and everyone between the ages of 5 and 85 was glued to the old black and white television set, waiting for the phenomenon that had arrived in New York to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was the start of the British invasion, a parent's nightmare: long haired, nasal sounding boys in boots, who in the end, made Liverpool proud.
Word has it that North America experienced a huge surge in electrical usage on that Sunday evening. In the States alone 75 million tuned in to catch the new Liverpool sound and more than 50,000.00 fans lined up to get into The Ed Sullivan Theatre that could only accommodate 728 people. Indeed, the population of North America had tuned in to hear the magic:
John, Paul, George and Ringo.
The Beatles had arrived in North America and, though all these years later two of them have died, George Harrison and John Lennon, they've never really left. The power of their presence, especially through their music, is still with us - There are Beatle movies, Beatle documentaries, Beatle Doodles (The Openhouse Gallery in Soho is featuring 'Imagine", art work by John Lennon) and Beatle collaborations (like the one between Cirque de Soleil and the remaining Beatles and their families).
The Beatles came to Montreal only once, played two shows at The Forum and left right after the show (by-passing a stay at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel because death threats had been made against Ringo). Nothing, not even then popular DJ Dave Boxer's visit to England the following year, petition in hand, to persuade the group to include Montreal in their 1965 North American tour, could convince them to return as a group.
For those who have no idea how magical the time was, for those who want to relive the era, for those who want to introduce their children and grandchildren (yikes!) to the boys from Liverpool, you can do just that at The Corona Theatre on Notre Dame Street. Beatles Story is back by popular demand, starring Replay, playing on various evenings throughout October.
A better tribute to The Fab Four you will never find.
The visual slideshow included in Beatles Story is produced and narrated by none other than Marc 'Mais Oui' Denis, who knows what he's talking about. A treasure trove of information on The Beatles and the era, Denis takes you back to a Montreal seeped in the pop-culture of the era, a Montreal riding a high in a world of fashion with Twiggy and Twiggy wannabes, and a multitude of other bands and solo acts of the time. It shows a Montreal of mini-skirts, go-go boots and flower-power. A Montreal getting ready to host the world with Expo 67.
Replay consists of John Oriettas as Paul, Ricardo Branchini as John, Jean-Francois Cyr as George and Ted Doyle as Ringo. Doyle, oddly enough, was the last to join the group, just as Ringo was in the real Bealtles - although under more pleasant circumstances in his case. While they all at one time or another played with various tribute groups to The Beatles, this is a solid melding, true to the original band's look and sound. It doesn't get much more authentic than Replay.
Call the evening a "rockumentary', what with all the historical facts in a multi-media show with live performances of Replay, wearing costumes like those worn by The Beatles in their concerts and movies over the years. Feel free to get up and 'groove' to 34 of the songs that have become the most recognized sound of the sixties and seventies.
Call it what you will, Beatles Story will transport you back to one of the most exciting times in the world of music.
Beatles Story – it's the closest experience you'll ever have to enjoying the original group.