.by Anura Guruge
Classic, melodious Beatles’ song, to an uncompromised beat, wafted across another picture perfect Saturday evening, at Cate Park, Wolfeboro, NH, last night. We sure have lucked out. Two wonderful Saturday performances at Cate, back-to-back, with nothing but delightful, Summer weather (in what has been a rather ‘iffy’ Summer).
‘All Together Now’, without ever trying in anyway to be impersonators, did the ‘Fab 4’ proud. Bravo.
They were definitely ‘OK”. They did not butcher a single song those they did, rather incongruously, ask George Harrison to cut them slack if they didn’t do justice to his song. But, they did OK.
As a sitar fan (given my background), I was delighted that they used a real sitar, and made a very decent ‘fist of it’, rendering ‘Norwegian Wood‘. It is one of my all time favorite songs. Gives me goosebumps. IF you are not familiar with the original, try this on YouTube, and take note of the cute efforts in 1965 (yes, 48 years ago) to accentuate the then brand new stereo effects. Listening to the original made me realize why I had a prevailing sense of disquiet right through the performance. I am by no means a Beatles expert and I know this because I lived with an expert. But, from the ‘little’ I know (and I am no novice) the end result last night lacked a certain je ne sais quoi in terms of musical reproduction. Yes, I fully understand that post 1966 the Beatles were becoming the masters of painstakingly crafted studio output and that it would be nigh impossible to even get close to it in an open park in central NH. So, that is OK.
This was my first tribute band. Exactly 10 years ago, we saw ‘Abba II‘ — but there was one of the originals still playing in the band and they didn’t set out to be a tribute band per se. [I had contacts in those days and Deanna and I got to go back stage after the show and meet the band. The original Abba guy was all over Deanna and she was thrilled since she is a huge Abba fan. We had a picture of him draped all over Deanna. It hung on the all of our Gilford house. Not sure where it is. I should have it scanned and posted for posterity. Trivia question. How many of YOU know the Biblical association of the name ‘Abba’?]
I have to be objective and disclose possible conflicts. As must be fairly obvious all 4 of us are huge fans of ‘Blues Brothers the Next Generation‘ (BBNG) who played at Cate last week. We are not associated with them per se, though I do chat with them on e-mail (after I got to know them from their New Year’s Eve concert). So given that we really had a ball last Saturday, I want to be careful that I do not ‘undersell’ this group by comparison. Yes, BBNG, I would have to say, was a hard act to follow.
All the years of going to the ‘Highland Games‘ and watching multiple bands, of the same genre, perform on the same stage, one after the other made me understand one very crucial thing about groups. Some groups have an innate, indescribable ‘magic’ that sets them apart. That is why “Seven Nations“, “Glengarry Bhoys”, “Enter the Haggis” or “Hadrian’s Wall” can come on stage, after another band, and totally rock the place while the other band, though playing the same music, didn’t really make a mark.
I could be wrong, and I hope I am. In my opinion ‘All Together Now’ just missed that magic. They were good, but, I thought that they were not truly magical. Now this could be due to the setting. I am old. But, the Wolfeboro crowd makes me look young. So it is possible that there were guidelines they had to follow. The volume was a tad too sedate. They needed to have cranked it up 4 notches. The subdued volume, as is the case with the physics involved, made them sound ‘low energy’ — at least to me. But, I checked with Deanna. Her reaction was exactly the same as mine: ‘they are OK’. Nothing wrong with that.
It was a good night. Thank you Wolfeboro. I wish Alton could do events like this.
Yes, we plan to go next Saturday too.
I would like to see ‘All Together Now’ again — just to see if they impart more energy (and magic) and other venues.