1964 – Beatles Tribute – Friday, May 12th
Tickets on sale NOW :: 18+ :: Doors open at 8pm :: Show at 9pm
1964 The Tribute takes audiences back to the early Beatles
By Andria Segedy
He signs autographs “Mark for John” because he is Mark Benson, except when he’s not. When on stage for 1964 The Tribute, he’s John Lennon, and has been for 32 years.
Not bad for a guy from Northeast Ohio to grab the attention of the The Fab Four.
Yes, the band was noticed by Apple Corps Ltd., and they agreed they would only use The Beatles name in describing what they do and would not label themselves as The Beatles.
“That’s when you know you’ve made it — when you get the cease and desist letters,” Benson said.
But that’s legal stuff. It’s the music and banter onstage that the audience cares about.
The Beatles stopped touring in 1966 because no one could hear them, Benson said. The entire sound industry grew out of The Beatles’ concerts. At the time, no one was filling sports arenas. With more than 30,000 to 40,000 screaming fans, there was no effective sound reinforcement, he said.
Benson first saw The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
“‘Meet the Beatles!’ was the first actual LP that I ever purchased,” he said. “Up until then, it was 45s. Ed was on Sunday nights, a school night. The Beatles played the first half and then I had to go to bed. I didn’t get to see the second half.
“We’ve all been fans since there were The Beatles. They really opened up the world to unite everyone.”
The Tribute focuses on the concert years prior to The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” era. Members dress in vintage clothes with period instruments. And there are the trademark Liverpool accents.
“We choose our materials from the first seven records,” Benson said. “They all had a similar haircut and matching shoes. All the songs were about love and happy stuff. It reminds everyone of their fun, innocent youth.”
Benson portrays John because he couldn’t sing like Paul, he said, laughing.
“My original bass player started the tour in 1984, and we had an amazing vocal blend for those two positions. It was more about the sound.”
The band today also includes Mac Ruffing as Paul McCartney, Tom Work (a group co-founder) as George Harrison and Bobby Potter as Ringo Starr.
With all the hits, Benson does have a favorite song: “This Boy.” It was the B-side to “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in 1963 and the third track on the 1964 album “Meet the Beatles!”
Lennon said he didn’t think the song worked, but Benson said, “I disagree. It is a three-part harmony slow ballad song. It is lovely. Because we do a lot of the mainstay hits every night, it’s kind of refreshing to me when we do it.”