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The Fest for Beatles Fans 2010: Day 2
[Posted by Jude Kessler on Sunday, 03/28/10 11:51 am] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

The Concert

How much would you pay for a reeeeeally, reeeeally great concert featuring 10 plus superstars of rock 'n' roll? I know that three summers ago, I tried to purchase tickets to a Tina Turner concert in Atlanta, GA, and even marginally decent seat ran a cool $120.

But last night at the Fest for Beatles Fans in the Meadowlands, New Jersey, I got to see a history-making concert included in the daily admission price of only $48!

The rockin' evening began with Liverpool groovin' in their usual Beatlish excellence. Then...on a wave of applause, Chris Montez (who toured with The Beatles in March 1963) was swept onstage to perform his biggest hits including (of course), "The More I See You." Still smooth, still handsome, Montez had us singing along and swaying to the music.

Billy J. Kramer

But not to be outdone, Liverpudlian superstar (also from the Brian Epstein stable), Billy J. Kramer, took the stage for four numbers - culminating, naturally, in his Number One Lennon/McCartney tune, "Bad To Me." Urging the audience to clap and sing along, Kramer brought back a lot of good memories for Baby Boomers in the audience.

When Spencer Davis sprung into action, the tempo changed. He immediately launched into "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" with his guitar obviously set on "full speed ahead." A few years may have passed since Davis first sung the song, but if anything, he's only become more accomplished. His guitar solo was amazing, and the performer swept the audience to its collective feet. When he quickly followed with a smashing rendition of "I'm a Man," he and Liverpool (who backed him excellently) offered up a much harder, more energetic song than the original. It rocked.

The crowd had barely caught its breath from Davis's duo when both Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell from Wings bounded on stage to offer up a diverse collection of Wings numbers. Starting gently with a sing-along to "Mull of Kintyre" and building into "Band on the Run" and Seiwell's powerful drumming on "Maybe I'm Amazed," the two had everyone dancing in the aisles. There were hands in the air making the traditional Wings symbol, and the Macca spirit reigned supreme.

Mark Hudson and Denny Laine

But as Emcee Martin Lewis so aptly put warned the audience, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" And he was right. Because the last rocker of the evening was the Venerable Mark Hudson accompanied by "the only man he's ever loved," his brother, Brett and his "brother from another mother," Spencer Davis. The party suddenly kicked into ecstatic action! Hudson led the group (including Laine and Seiwell) into a mad version of "Long Tall Sally/I'm Down/O Darlin'" which left not only the performers but the audience as well breath-less-a! And without a second to spare, they continued on with a tribute to Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney with "Say, Say, Say!" and "The Girl is Mine."

As the clock ticked dangerously close to midnight, Hudson (in a brilliant red velvet jacket and beret) wound the crowd up tighter and tighter with a totally wonderfully frantic version of "Slow Down" before he waved the entire Fest staff onto the stage to end with "Hey Jude" and John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."

Can you imagine? Chris Montez, Billy J. Kramer, Spencer Davis, Denny Laine, Denny Seiwell, Brett Hudson, Mark Hudson, and Liverpool. C'mon! Really? That's included in the day's admission??? Maybe I'm amazed.

When the concert ended, the Fest revelers weren't ready to call it a night, though. They headed straight for the lobby and the second floor gathering room to start sing-alongs of their own. Many had brought their own guitars, bongos, harmonicas, tambourines, and electric drums...and they all "came together" for hours of Beatles tunes, Beatles songs, and Beatles numbers that lasted well past 3 a.m.

I love everything about the Fest for Beatles Fans. But the concert that Mark and Carol Lapidos throw for their followers each year is remarkable. This year, it was one for the RECORD books.


Beatles News guest-blogger Jude Southerland Kessler is author of the acclaimed John Lennon docu-novel Shoulda Been There

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