Beatle-esque tribute: How we long for yesterday

by Clay Howard

The music of the Beatles had a greater impact on societal views of music and appearance than anything until the advent of hip hop, which has made a similar inroads over the last 25 years. The lasting impression of the Beatles is now 40 years on — with thousands of bands still chasing the elusive magic that filled the works of the Fab Four.

Since the band’s breakup in 1970, a number of tribute acts have formed and toured the world to great success. The success of these bands is based solely on the public’s desire to recapture the magic of that brief moment when the Beatles reigned supreme. On Saturday, one of these bands, Yesterday, brought their version of this nostalgia to the historic Carolina Theatre in downtown Greensboro.

Playing to a crowd of around 800, the band filled the roles well. “Paul” looked like Paul, “George” looked like George, etc… and their voices closely emulated those of their inspirations. The costumes were authentic; the film clips that introduced each new era were well chosen; and the instruments for each set were matched accordingly.

Yet something just left me flat. Don;’t get me wrong: The band was very good. But there was no joy to the music, it was rote and mechanical — antithetical to the actual music that was being re-created. “George” nailed the guitar parts. “John” has mastered the nasally delivery of the early era stuff. “Paul “ had the smiles and banter down to a T.

Yet for all this pseudo-perfection, the band is simply that: a well rehearsed re-creation.

This is true of all tribute acts, and as a consumer of this specific show, I knew this as I entered the beautiful lobby of the Carolina Theatre.

I was entertained by Yesterday, as were the rest of the audience at the venue. Yet for all the spit and polish, what I was left with at the end of the show was the knowledge that the era has passed, and the best way to relive the feeling of magic brought by the Beatles music is to simply return to the real thing and pull out my old copy of Abbey Road.